Sit down with: Dip Me Snacks (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Robert Wolf is the owner and founder of Dip Me Snacks, a unique dip product company in New Orleans, Louisiana. Robert started making dip as a youngster and soon a profession (and personal passion) was born!
Dip Me Snacks makes its own special sour cream as the base of each product and then adds special Louisiana spices to make for some very interesting flavors.
We sat down recently with Robert to ask more about his business.
What’s one thing that ended up being really useful but you didn’t know going into the business?
Who knew that State regulatory agencies can actually be very helpful in running a safe, clean, and efficient operation? I thought they’d be cruel and out to get me because that’s what inspectors do, but I wouldn’t have made it this far without their guidance. In fact, when I was dreaming this up, the state dairy inspector helped me find a company specializing in affordable small-vat dairy production equipment that meets all the lengthy legal requirements. I keep a good rapport with the whole dairy inspection team and they have become an invaluable resource for me. They are my best food production safety advisers.
What drives you crazy about the nature of your business, or the food industry in general?
The waste. Whether it’s spoiled product, excess ingredients, or a bungled batch of product, I really hate seeing food go to waste. I’m stunned by the amount of perfectly good food grocery stores are required by law to throw out once an expiration date has passed. It would blow your mind to see the shopping carts full of food that get thrown out at almost every store. The liability laws need to change to make it easier for manufacturers and groceries to give away food. Nobody wants to get sued, so all the food gets tossed.
What’s another food company or a person in the industry you admire, and why?
Chef Paul Prudhomme is my culinary hero. He was a humble and kind soul from a small town in the Cajun prairieland of southwest Louisiana who turned his passion for cooking into a world-wide flavor craze. He didn’t invent Cajun, but he introduced it to the world, and he influences the way I season everything. Reportedly, his line of “Cajun Magic” seasoning blends is the largest selling spice blend in the world. Rest in Peace, Paul – we miss you dearly.
Besides money, what is your biggest challenge to overcome this year?
Moving into the foodservice arena. We currently sell only in grocery stores, but next month we will be offered on the bar menu in a fancy uptown hotel bar and we hope to expand that part of our business this year. We are also getting on board with a distributor. It’s quite a seismic shift for a small company, but it’s very exciting when your business makes a leap to the next level.
What’s an amazing resource for food makers you’ve found and love recently?
The Specialty Food Association is a wonderful resource and advocate for the gourmet food world. Their Summer Fancy Foods Show in NYC is the super bowl of the gourmet food world – it’s overwhelming but a “must-see” for anyone entering the specialty food business. If you go to the show, attend the classes and workshops, too. www.specalityfood.com
Personal favorite use of your own product?
On a hot baked potatoe.
Most wacky use of your own product you’ve heard of to date?
A grocery store manager told me he stuffs a chicken breast with it and grills it. I’m not sure about a “sour cream snack dip stuffed grilled chicken.” But who knows, after all this is where the “turducken” was invented.
What’s your “go to” snack or drink of choice?
Favorite beverage is iced tea lightly sweetened with cane sugar and a big squeeze of fresh lemon.
- Sit down with: Dip Me Snacks (New Orleans, Louisiana) - August 11, 2017