Sonoma Brands’ Sebastiani, formerly of Krave, invests in Dang chip line

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Seeking to work his Krave magic on other healthy snack brands, Jon Sebastiani, and his new Sonoma Brands venture, has invested in start-up Dang Foods.

Based in Berkeley, and run by two brothers, Dang is the leading, all-natural coconut and onion chip line.

“I think that Dang truly represents the future of snacking,” said Sebastiani. “As consumers are exposed to delicious, whole fruit and vegetable-based snacks, the obvious benefits over traditional, carb-heavy, high-sugar options become clearer.” Sebastani pointed out that one serving of Dang coconut chips has more fiber than an apple.

Dang uses minimal ingredients to produce products that are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, cholesterol-free and high in fiber. The product lines currently includes six flavors of coconut chips and six flavors of onion chips.

Dang is named after founder Vincent Kititattragarn’s mother. She used to prepare a northern Thai lettuce wrap topped with dried coconut that was the favorite part of the dish for her sons. Sebastiani was drawn to parallels between the founding of Dang and his own entreprenuerial career. “Dang Foods is a true category disrupter in the snack industry with a family story and a passion for culinary roots that resonates deeply with our team,” said Sebastiani.

He also just thinks the chips are delicious. “Dang has capitalized on the perfect, simple profile of the coconut – at once salty, sweet, and umami, resulting in immediate delight and lasting satisfaction,” said Sebastiani. “Minimal processing results in the highest nutrient-retention, and the honesty, transparency, and ethics with which Dang operates satisfies the ever-growing concern to be a purposeful and responsible consumer.”

Currently Dang Foods’ products are available nationwide in the snack aisles of 7,000 stores nationwide.

“The company had sales of $4 million in 2014 and $8 million in 2015 and our goal is to double that number again in 2016,” said Sebastiani. “Products like this don’t have a fixed, permanent spot in stores like Safeway and we can help change that, as well as to get Dang products into convenience stores and mass channels like Costco.” Locally, Dang chips are available now at Sonoma Market, Whole Foods and Safeway for $2.99 to $4.99.

Sebastiani said that Sonoma Brands continues to build its employee base in Sonoma. A local team in Sonoma has begun working with the Dang founders and Sebastiani has taken a seat on Dang’s board of directors.

Apart from the Dang investment, Sebastiani expects to launch two Sonoma Brands new product lines in late April.

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