The funds came from W ventures, Delight ventures, SMBC venture capital and Future Food Fund. Snaq.me was founded in March 2016 and has raised about JPY600m (US$5.7m) so far.
President and CEO Shintaro Hattori told FoodNavigator-Asia the funds would be used towards its product development and improving existing formulations in order to launch at least 10 products every month.
Snaq.me works with manufacturers to co-develop snack products. Hattori said: “We have over 60 manufacturers who produce snacks for us. We produce recipes and send it to manufacturers who help produce our original snacks.”
Its latest product is a frozen sweet potato snack. “We delivery it at room temperature and customers put it in the refrigerator before eating it. It became a very popular snack.”
Snaq.me prides itself for using natural ingredients in its snacks. Last year, it sold a second-generation natural protein bar (CLR Bar) containing dates, nuts and pea protein.
The firm has seen sales grown 5 to 10% monthly since 2016. Comparing September 2019 to September 2020, sales have approximately doubled which Hattori attributed to people snacking more during the Covid-19 period.
“Some people did not want to buy snacks at convenience stores or supermarkets to avoid contacting others, hence they get a subscription box delivered right to their house.”
“Not only do we deliver snacks, but we could offer cafe time at home since they cannot visit restaurants and cafes.”
According to a recent online survey (n=533) by Snaq.me in July 2020, 51% of respondents have increased their online food purchases as a result of the pandemic. The most popular food purchase online was sweets and snacks accounting for 30%, followed by rice/bread/noodles (27%), water (20%) and other items such as cereals, coffee, tea, dairy, fresh produce, and alcohol.
Hattori said the firm’s new funds will also help Snaq.me develop new brands and concepts, apart from products for its subscription service.
Snaq.me recently launched a new brand in April, Otuma.me.
Otuma.me is not a subscription service, instead it is an appetiser box containing about seven snacks that were compatible with alcohol.
Hattori told us he was inspired to create Otuma.me after seeing many empty alcohol bottles disposed at apartment buildings during the Covid-19 period.
“Because of Covid-19, it was not very easy to go out drinking in April, under the state of emergency. The need for drinking at home is sharply increased during this time and some of our customers asked us to build an appetiser box.”
Hattori hinted that the firm may consider developing a non-alcoholic beverage brand in the future.
“If we make a drink brand, it may be non-alcoholic, because there are many regulations around selling alcohol in Japan.”