It all started after a visit to Washington D.C.’s Air & Space Museum. Michael and his father dropped by a local sushi restaurant and sat at the counter. After trying his first piece of salmon nigiri, Michael was in foodie heaven. Fondness for food would drive him anywhere.
During college, Michael explored his hobbies: food and foreign languages. He spent a summer studying Italian while working on a vineyard and another semester studying in Nagoya, Japan.
After college, Michael worked in Japan as a Consultant. Although the hours were long, the work allowed him to explore all the different regions of Japan, from Fukuoka to Fukushima and all the way north to Hokkaido. When he explored different towns, he always sought out the regional food dishes. Getting to learn the rich food history of different regions made a lasting impression.
Michael returned to the US in 2017 to attend graduate school. After graduation, he decided to pivot to a career in food, turning his passion into a profession.
First, Michael worked with a Japanese food startup, launching their US business. However, Covid-19 drastically altered the company's plans. As a result, the company decided to pull out of the US market and Michael had to contemplate his next move. He knew he wanted to stay in the food industry, but he also wanted to keep a connection to Japan, having worked there for 6 years.
That's when he met Shinji. Shinji is from Japan but he spent a few years in the US during his childhood, and he come back to California for work. He loved konjac products when he was in Japan. When the two met, they decided to research whether there would be a market for jelly snacks made with konjac.
After importing samples from Japan from different manufacturers, they conducted market research to find out if people would like these products. And, without surprise, the reactions were overwhelmingly positive! So, they decided to take on the journey to create Pac Pac Snacks.
They carefully selected who to work with to make their first snacks.
The manufacturer they decided to work with has a factory in Gunma, Japan, which is the prefecture responsible for more than 90% of konjac production in Japan.
With the manufacturer, they created the recipe for Konjac Chews, incorporating some of the great ingredients from Japan such as konjac flour sourced from konjac grown in Gunma.
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A star is born
Starting Pac Pac Snacks has allowed Michael and Shinji to partner with a regional snack manufacturer in business since the 1980s, while putting their own twist - from branding to product recipe - on snack classics.
The Pac Pac Snacks team is super excited to start this snacking journey with you. Stay tuned for more flavors, more products, and more joy from Pac Pac!