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Finding flavors around the globe

Minnetonka, Minn. — Scott Jacobson’s alter ego, Jake, is worldly, bold, eager to please. His motto: “I search the world to bring you the best.”

Part of that search ended in Minnesota, where Jake’s Trading Company found sunflower seeds and GMO-free soybeans. Other foods offered by the company are more exotic: dried apricots from Turkey, pineapple from Thailand. Jake’s bold label lures customers with a taste for travel and adventure.

Jacobson sells his packaged snacks in specialty stores as well as big groceries like Byerly’s, Lunds and Super One. He’s received AURI assistance to get into trade shows and promote

private-label packaging (manufacturing products for other companies under their label).

“The cost of distribution is the most difficult item,” Jacobson says. “There’s a lot of competition out there — a lot of established companies do a good job. But as a young company, we have service others don’t have. We have good quality products, and our customers’ business means a lot to us.”

Jake’s Trading Company is expanding its product line this fall with new sunflower seeds, soy nuts, dried fruit and trail mixes in improved packaging, Jacobson says. AURI’s Charan Wadhawan has helped Jacobson develop stand-up bags for the snacks.

In the food business, Jacobson says it’s necessary to “do your homework. Understand your products and your markets; understand how things work.

“And,” he adds, “whatever you think it’s going to cost, double it.”

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