Lucas Holtz is from Salvador and Diogo Cabus is from Maceió. In addition to both being from the Northeast, the two have to engineer in common. Lucas is a civil engineer and Diogo a production engineer. But affinities do not stop there. Entrepreneurship is also in both of their blood; when they immigrated to Canada they sought to discover and an idea that could grow into a good business. This was when Osh Bites was born (the name is a reference to their northeastern region) and tapioca changed their lives.
Diogo has been in Canada for seven years, Lucas has been here for three years, and they met through their mutual friend, Pedro Sena, and together Diogo and Lucas formed a partnership. Their well-calculated steps showed just how good of engineers they are. A market study pointed to tapioca as the product that Brazilians living in Canada missed most.
“We started looking for suppliers and partners in Brazil to bring tapioca. We saw the whole bureaucratic part and the big challenge was that when we managed to bring our product, there were already at least five or six brands in the market and we had to struggle to conquer our space” recalls Lucas.
It was not easy.
The first one-and-a-half-ton shipment was stuck in the United States and the business owners were only able to sell half of the product before it reached its expiration date. The product had to be collected, but the damage did not discourage the daring pair. Until recently, they worked with an existing Tapioca brand in Brazil, but have now decided to face the challenge of creating the own brand, with packaging that allows storage in a much more practical way, much to the liking of Canadians. The first shipment of the new product will arrive in January.
Tastings and Ambitious Plans
In order to win over the consumer, the team led by the two businessmen can be found on Saturdays doing tastings and samplings where the Tapioca is sold. Tapioca Brasil will be available in 19 different supermarkets markets, but plans are expanding:
“The idea is to transform our company into a reference for Brazilians who arrive or are already here in Canada. We have other products in the making, currently, we are working on cheese, and there is also a strategy to reduce costs and in turn offer better prices to the consumer. The goal is to place our products not only on the table of Brazilians, but also of the Portuguese, Canadians and other ethnicities”.
Diogo plans are ambitious, but not impossible. Tapioca, which is becoming a more popular trend, is a healthy and tasty food, has no gluten and works well with a variety of fillings. Does anyone doubt that Canada will resist this delight? Make your bets!