With a flavorful, organic product, Top Fox Snacks is changing the way people think about pumpkin seeds.
Founder and owner Jeremy Zobrist is a fourth-generation farmer and food innovator, who found success making freeze-dried yogurt bites for toddlers. When his wife, Sarah, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, she needed to stop eating processed foods and make other significant changes to her diet. Her need to seek out healthier eating solutions led Zobrist to create Top Fox Snacks.
Jeremy and Sarah Zobrist, Founders and Owners, Top Fox Snacks
“Jeremy was looking for something that he could grow on his own farm—something that was a whole food, easy to snack on, and delicious,” said Zach Zobrist, Jeremy’s cousin, who serves as sales director for the company. “As pumpkin growers, they knew pumpkin seeds offered high protein, no sugar, and clean snacking, so they began to look at how they might create a delicious and healthy snack from the bounty of their own farm.”
Zach Zobrist, Sales Director, Top Fox Snacks
Two years later, Top Fox Snacks is in business and offers some fun flavors and a unique pop roasting method that is proprietary to the company.
“As pumpkin growers, they knew pumpkin seeds offered high protein, no sugar, and clean snacking, so they began to look at how they might create a delicious and healthy snack from the bounty of their own farm.” – Zach Zobrist
When it began in 2019, Top Fox focused on online sales, looking to build a customer base through its website and on Amazon, but lately, it’s becoming a bigger player in brick-and-mortar establishments.
Because of Sarah’s disease, it was important for the new company to create an organic product.
“Most pumpkin seeds out there right now are not organic, but our product is 100-percent organic, which makes us unique in the industry,” Zach Zobrist said. “We really believe consumers nowadays want to trust the products they are eating and know what they are putting in their bodies. When you’re digging something from the ground, you want to know that ground was taken care of.”
“We really believe consumers nowadays want to trust the products they are eating and know what they are putting in their bodies. When you’re digging something from the ground, you want to know that ground was taken care of.” – Zach Zobrist
“That organic label, and the fact that we are keto and paleo friendly, have helped us pursue the consumer who is looking for healthy and natural products,” said Robert Fascia, Top Fox Snacks’ vice president of sales. “Even though we are a healthy product, we do not compromise flavor. [Top Fox Snacks] are bold and flavor-forward.”
The most popular flavor that Top Fox Snacks offers is its pop-roasted Himalayan Salt pumpkin seeds, which Zach Zobrist describes as a “classic flavor that almost everyone can enjoy.” Other flavors include Chile Lime (offering a sour/spicy mix), Salt & Pepper, and Spicy Chipotle. These four flavors are the ones the company currently focuses on for retail, though it has another dozen or so ready to roll out in the future.
“Even though we are a healthy product, we do not compromise flavor. [Top Fox Snacks] are bold and flavor-forward.” – Robert Fascia
Robert Fascia, Vice President of Sales, Top Fox Snacks
“We found that our pop-roasted, crunchy pumpkin seeds make a fantastic vehicle for flavor,” Zach Zobrist said. “Any flavor does well, and we’ve done savory, salty, sour, and even chocolate.”
Because pumpkin seeds are a finite organic crop, the company is very careful to ensure that its sales plans line up with its growing cycle and yield. Currently, Top Fox Snacks grows on 500 acres, which results in a little over 500,000 pounds of seeds.
“We have the ability to increase that to 2,000 acres down the road, so each year we take a look at our demand and measure out where we want to be in terms of retail and add to the acreage,” Fascia said. “Right now, our focus is in the natural channel, as well as West Coast grocery, where we are a significant partner with Safeway Albertsons.”
Top Fox Snacks also works with a lot of independent stores near its home in Illinois, and its product can be found in Hy-Vee stores around the area as well.
“We really picked an interesting time to launch the company, with our big push coming in April of 2020, which was right at the beginning of the pandemic,” Zach Zobrist said. “That made sampling pretty difficult. It wasn’t like we could just go out and give away free product in grocery stores like we wanted to.”
So Top Fox Snacks employees have been as creative as they could, posting on social media and attending events whenever possible.
“We really picked an interesting time to launch the company, with our big push coming in April of 2020, which was right at the beginning of the pandemic.” – Zach Zobrist
“Our goal is to service as many customers [as possible] on a regular basis, with our five-year goal to surely infiltrate the West Coast in the grocery business, along with continued expansion in the natural specialty channel,” Fascia said. “[We] also [want to] infiltrate grocery in the Midwest, and eventually ... the Northeast.”
This year, Top Fox Snacks expects sales of around $1.1 million, with future projections estimated at more than $15 million by 2025.
Top Fox Snacks also plans to offer more than just pumpkin seeds in the future, and things are already in motion for the next great product.