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Joe & Sephs gourmet popcorn seduces consumers' taste buds

The Olive Grows helps fast-track an exciting newcomer to the snack sector


New food business success

new product launch december 2010

In  the Summer of 2010, Joseph Sopher walked in to The Olive Grows' kitchens in London and explained his ambitions to bring to the UK market a new snack obsession that would be a million miles away from the cheap and cheerful popcorn we mostly associate with the cinemas.

One thing was clear to the team at The Olive Grows. Here was a businessman with not only a great food idea, but the business acument and determination to realise his business dream.  Just three months later, "out popped" Joe & Sephs, with a launch of six fabulous gourmet popcorn flavours at Masterchef Live that exceeded everyone's expectations...

Popcorn, not just a snack, but entertainment for the pallate...

tasting jars Masterchef LiveJoseph and Jackie's business and family commitments take him to and from the USA regularly and as a result he is a big fan of popcorn, which in America is a bit of an obsession! Joseph saw an opportunity to not only seduce the British pallate with a more sophisticated type of popcorn, but to also excite us with new and surprising flavour combinations.

They made the most of this at Masterchef Live and at their bespoke stand at Brent Cross shopping centre, using clever and entertaining ways to attract visitors to the stand.

A Masterclass in how to draw consumers to a trade stand...

The unexpected makes for great entertainment and this was brilliantly demonstrated at the show, with tasting notes and consumers being invited to take the "chilli and pepper taste test".  The challenge was to see how long it takes for the pepper to hit the back of the throat.  Joseph knows that with most pallates it takes 4 seconds and that after a couple of seconds most people don't imagine they will suddently get the hit of pepper.  it's a surprise when it happens!

Wife Jackie explained that the unique flavours, including caramel macchiato and whisky, proved a hit:We couldn’t believe what happened, people were queuing ten deep at the stand. We knew then that we had something special.”

How is it done?  Well that's part of the recipe secrets that makes this such an exciting new company.  The first 6 varieties demonstrate not only Joe & Seph's flair for creating fabulous flavour combinations, but also their willingness to take risks and their uncompromising belief in their ability to bring something unique to the market that cannot be replicated easily.

This is a winning formula for any new business:

  • believe in yourself and your products
  • research your market well and know where the gaps lie in the market
  • create a substantial and meaningful point of difference
  • understand your brand positioning: gourmet food - this is not just about food, this is about entertainment and indulgence


Caramel and almondOf course, the integrity of these products runs deep.  Joe & Seph's uses all natural ingredients to produce handmade gourmet popcorn that is made right here in England unlike many of the other products on the market, which are imported from America.


The future looks buttery and sweet, with a few taste surprises thrown in!