Grandpa’s cookies for the world to enjoy

14 de junho de 2016

São Paulo – A small business out of Iporã do Oeste, in Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, is looking to set its delicacies on non-Brazilian dinner tables as well. Casa da Cuca do Nono Selli (Grandpa Selli’s House of Cuca, a typical southern Brazilian stuffed sweetbread derived from Germany’s kuchen, or cake) makes items including tapioca flour cookie, crunchy peanut, toast, and meringue-based items, and it should ship an order abroad for the first time ever next June to the United States. Breaking into Latin America is the second step in the company’s plans. CEO Gilberto Schneider does not rule out the possibility of exporting to Arab countries.

Casa da Cuca do Nono Selli relied on its products’ features to carve out a space for itself in Brazil. “Our recipes are fiercely traditional and homemade, and they run in the family. We strive to bring out that homemade flavor at all times,” says Schneider. Production chef duties are handled by Augusto Selli, aka Nono Selli, one of the founders, who is 63 years old and a baker since age 12. “That’s 50 years’ worth of know-how,” the CEO boasts.

The company’s manufacturing plant in Iporã do Oeste puts out an average of 150,000 cookie packs a month. The cookies come in a wide range of flavors: cornmeal, toasted coconut, butter, molasses, corn, cream, cream and cinnamon, honey and chocolate, etc. other items include cuca, rice flakes, crunchy peanuts, broa (cornbread), savory biscuits, biscuit sticks, pé de moleque (peanut-and-molasses-based candy), rapadura (aka panela) etc.

In Brazil, Casa da Cuca distributes its products to the three Southern states – Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina –, plus São Paulo, which is located in the Southeast, and to Walmart in the Mato Grosso and Rondônia states. Within a 300 km radius from the plant, delivery is made by truck and orders arrive quicker.

Nono Selli’s Casa da Cuca first started going international by joining a project from the Santa Catarina chapter of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) designed to encourage small local businesses to export. After a selection process involving 528 applicants, 50 companies were picked early last year, among them Casa da Cuca do Nono Selli.

The project included foreign trade training, and the enterprises went to the United States on a business mission in April and May 2015. Ultimately, the program helped open the doors to the US market, which should be the first outside Brazil to get Casa da Cuca do Nono Selli’s tasty treats. But Schneider is already considering going for the Latin American market as well. “I believe there’s good potential there, since we offer healthy, natural products that taste great, with great quality and no additives,” says the CEO.

He also intends to sell to Arab countries, but believes that should happen down the road, since the first step would be to study the market and adapt the products to meet the region’s requirements. “That is what we did for the United States,” Schneider explains.

Casa da Cuca do Nono Selli was founded in 2002 by Augusto Selli, Gilberto and Graziella Schneider, who is Augusto’s daughter. The business started out as a bakery, but the CEO planned to be a manufacturer from the get-go. The bakery grew and grew, at a roughly 30% rate per year, and in 2012, when it went industrial, the business grew by 102%. At least ten new items are added to the catalog each year.

Casa da Cuca do Nono Selli
Phone: +55 (49) 3634-1993

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum