SAN DIEGO — A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Daniel Schwarz launched Chuza, a spicy snacks business, on a “mission to share Mexican flavors, culture and flair” with American consumers. The brand debuted online last year and is set to start appearing on grocery store shelves soon.
The initial product offering features sweetened dried fruit dusted with a chili powder blend. The collection includes apricots, strawberries, mango, pineapples and cranberries. Products currently are available at chuza.com and Amazon.com.
“In the market right now the spicy trend is hotter than ever,” Mr. Schwarz said. “You have brands from Mountain Dew to Goldfish crackers, everyone is putting out spicy snacks… I love spices. I love spicy snacks. The way they are presented in the US is not the way I see spicy snacks.”
Mr. Schwarz, a former tequila industry executive, began creating Chuza (which translates to “bowling a strike” in Spanish) during the early days of the pandemic.
“We worked with a family-owned business in Mexico for many months to develop the perfect recipe for Chuza that has a balance of spices, sweet and savory,” he said. “It is all natural. We don’t add any colors or flavors.”
The snacks are packaged in colorful pouches depicting shapes resembling Mayan pyramids and a minimalist design inspired by the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragan, Mr. Schwarz said.
“Mexican culture is a very colorful way, the way we speak, the way we behave, the way we interact with friends and family,” Mr. Schwarz said. “We’re sharing that in every touchpoint of our brand, from our website to our social media to the in-store execution.”
Future product launches will expand the brand beyond dried fruit, he said, noting, “We are a spicy snack company, not a dried fruit company.” Several consumer packaged goods leaders have invested in the business, Mr. Schwarz said.“We are excited about the future as we go into grocery chains and keep building on our Chuza moment and bring new, fun alternatives to the consumer,” he said.