This entrepreneur chose in 2018 to take popcorn out of movie theaters, her usual environment. Today with its Maíz Kernel brand, it proposes them as a product for any time with more than ten flavors available.
Daniela Castaño, a woman with a degree in literature and a master’s degree in geography, decided, together with her sister, to revolutionize the popcorn market. Today, his company Maíz Kernel has been invited to participate in successful programs in Latin America and his brand has already been present on large platforms.
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Eating popcorn has always been associated with cinema and watching television, what inspired you to take this product out of theaters and turn it into something more versatile?
When I visited San Victorino I always found the typical yucca pie or pie as a snack , which are the preferred option of most Colombians who visit this shop; but I was convinced that a new moment of consumption could be introduced: an inexpensive snack , familiar to all tastes and easy to consume. So at the beginning of the 2018 Christmas season, my sister and I bet on introducing popcorn into the commercial ecosystem of Greater San Victorino. We did not think twice, we bought a popcorn machine to test if this food could be compared to the famous empanada and be consumed in a space other than the cinema. Well, as you can see, our idea was successful and we have managed to get more than 40,000 people throughout Colombia to eat popcorn outside the cinema.
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When you think of popcorn, what comes to mind?
When I think of popcorn, the first thing that comes to mind is “Latin America”, it is a food typical of the entire region, which is consumed in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia … and although we call it differently The way in each country we know it for its ease of preparation, good taste and low cost … but above all, I think of my Corn Kernel popcorn, in the fascination of being able to turn such a simple grain into a product that for us is the dessert, gift and perfect timing.
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Creating and undertaking are not easy tasks, on what do you base your success?
Our success has been based on breaking an assumption that was taken for granted, that of “popcorn is only for movies.” From the beginning, our commitment was to decontextualize the popcorn of cinema and create a new moment of consumption that was not linked to movies; that on the contrary it was related to moments of the daily life of any person. Our daily work is to tell people that they can have a few caramel popcorn with a red wine while they work. I want to be emphatic, our success was taking the risk of venturing into a popular and massive trade that allowed us to test our idea on a trading platform.
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What is the difference between your popcorn and the ones we are used to consuming in movie theaters?
In the cinema, you don’t eat a variety of popcorn, you only consume two options: the classic caramel and salt. At Maíz Kernel, the popcorn shop, we offer you more than 10 different flavors online, salty and sweet. Our chocolate popcorn is the most unexpected dessert: popcorn covered with 48% semisweet chocolate and Nutella cream, or with pieces of Ferrero or almonds or Kinder. The possibilities are always endless. We have seasonal flavors every three months, which bring to the palate of our clients the best combinations of Colombian and international chocolates.
How did you prepare to become an expert on ‘popcorn’ flavors and delicacies?
I believe that what made us “experts in popcorn” was cultivating curiosity in the product. At the time we decided to bet on this project we were only thinking, eating, talking and reading about popcorn. It became our day-to-day obsession, we wanted to know which were the best popcorn machines in the world, how the candy popcorn recipe was achieved, how to keep them fresh, what recipes we could create as the brand’s own hallmark, how to get them out. popcorn from the cinema.
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If popcorn was taken out of movie theaters, then where and how do we consume it now?
When we started with the brand, we decided to call all the daily spaces where we invited people to eat popcorn “Kernel Moment”: in the red for lunch, in the children’s onces, in the shopping tour of a buyer in San Victorino, as the perfect gift on Valentine’s Day, as a dessert. This is how any moment became an excuse to call it “Kernel Moment”. So it shouldn’t surprise you that in line at a bank we see someone eating their Corn Kernel popcorn. It is a product for all times.
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If we had to accompany popcorn with special occasions, which ones would you suggest?
The year 2020 we closed with a vote in social networks of the three top Kernel flavors, more than 1,000 people chose the Nutella, Cheddar and Caramel Kernels. Ours of caramel are identical to those of the cinema, the one that we all already know and love. But, my first recommendation is always the Nutella popcorn because its base is a 48% semisweet chocolate that when combined with Nutella is not cloying. On the other hand, my go-to from the salt line is the popcorn covered in cheddar cheese. Its flavor is not artificial, when you taste it you feel the creaminess and characteristic color of cheddar, all this results in an exaggeratedly addictive flavor.
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What do you say to so many people who, like you, have ideas for entrepreneurship?
I tell you what I told myself when I decided to undertake: it is necessary and imperative to break the paradigm that dictates that the university career determines our work. I studied literature and now I sell popcorn in San Victorino. There are many of us who want to undertake, but we do not do it for fear of not exercising our profession. I believe that if we have a business idea and a hunch tells us that this is our path, we must heed that call and take a first step.