An interview with George Crookham, CEO of Crookham Company, the makers of Amaize Sweet Corn.
In case you didn't catch the review, Amaize Sweet Corn was named a Pick of the Week in Phil's Food Reviews in August. We reached out to George Crookham, CEO of Crookham Company to learn more about how this new product was developed and actually bred for perfect taste and texture.
What inspired you to create your new product? Is there a particular niche or segment of the market you were focusing on?
Crookham breeders, George Crookham and Bruce Hobdey sought to perfect the taste and texture of Amaize Sweet Corn beginning in 1989 after discovering a type of corn with a crunch and a pop that differentiated itself from the textures of other corn, which tended to get too soft and chewy when cooked.
What makes your product different and able to stand out against similar ones? How important has differentiation been in developing this product?
Most people prefer a crispy type product and Amaize brings that eating quality experience because it has a distinct pop and crunch.
What was the process like of designing your package, and how do you feel the final result has impacted perceptions of your product?
Amaize Sweet Corn is sold as both bulk and packaged. The process of designing our packaging was fluid and we aimed to satisfy our customers’ needs for tray-packed corn. The tray-packed includes a label, which was designed to communicate Amaize’s amazing flavor and natural breeding. We feel this has created a positive perception of our product and a strong brand recognition with consumers looking specifically for Amaize while in stores.
Does your product have relevant health attributes? What are they?
The health benefits of Amaize Sweet Corn is comparable to all other sweet corn, which is very rich in vitamin B1, vitamin B5, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, folate and dietary fiber.
What sustainability efforts have you made with your product?
Amaize is a seasonal crop that is locally grown which keeps transportation costs and spoilage low. Amaize also has a long shelf life which also reduces the product spoiling on the shelf.
Through creating a new product, what would you say were the most difficult parts of the process and what came the easiest?
The most difficult was the time required to bring this product to the market. The easiest was selling Amaize to customers once the product was perfected. One bite and we had a fan.
Anything you would change if you were starting from scratch again?
In traditional breeding you are never certain that you can bring a new product type to the market. Had we know that Amaize was a feasible and viable product then we would have spent more resources and brought the product to market sooner.
Besides your product, what's one out on the market that you admire
We like the new “synergistic” types that will be coming to the market soon. They bring sweetness, corn flavor and a little pop and crunch to the consumer. Many are grower friendly and could be perfect for the home gardener.