March 22, 2023

Montreal popcorn maker Bad Monkey is on track for exponential sales growth after signing partnerships with Disney in the US and Kraft Heinz in Canada.

Already a Disney partner in Canada for a few months, Bad Monkey has signed an American agreement with the entertainment giant, which will make small Quebec monkeys its advertising vehicle at food retailers. Bad Monkey product packaging will be seen dressing up in the colors of the Marvel movies avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and others, such as Strange World.

The partnership was established by sending messages on the LinkedIn social network to a Disney executive. With no response after an initial attempt, Bad Monkey co-founder Fabio Zeppilli persisted.

“The person was probably tired of me insisting and told me to send my products to Florida! She tasted and loved; the people at his office ate it all! », Says the 40-year-old entrepreneur, who was then able to start the negotiation.

The same tactic was used to reach out to Kraft Heinz, with whom Bad Monkey will sell Kraft Diner, peanut butter and ketchup flavored popcorn in Canada.

In Quebec, in view of the SuperBowl, the brand has partnered with La Cage.

From avocado to popcorn king

Bad Monkey comes from an affectionate nickname inherited from the mother of brothers Fabio and Joseph Zeppilli, who were called ugly little monkeys when they were rambunctious. Fabio was a lawyer and his brother was in finance when they started selling their popcorn for children’s parties in 2016.

Bored with their respective careers, they had a desire to go into business with a product that would have “the attitude and energy of Red Bull and the quality of Starbucks, at a price close to Wal-Mart.” »

A first Metro grocer invited them to market their product and little by little, Bad Monkey was invited to other branches, then entered IGA. The two brothers had rented an apartment in Montreal North to manufacture their merchandise and slept on small mattresses on the floor.

“Our mother was nervous. I sold my car and my brother his condo to invest in our project. We put everything into Bad Monkey and we didn’t make a salary for two years, ”recalls Fabio.

Dragons and Achievements

A passage on the show In the eye of the dragon in 2018 opened a lot of doors and another in the Canadian version provided a new impetus. The dragons wanted to be partners, but no deal was ultimately struck as the investors got greedy.

The company is now owned by the Zeppilli brothers and Champlain Financial Corporation, a growth partner.

Bad Monkey is distributed in more than 18,000 outlets in America and beyond. The brand begins to diversify its products by launching popcorn chocolate, an alternative to snacks containing nuts.

“Our goal is to become a Quebec Kellogg’s in the snack market,” says Fabio Zeppilli enthusiastically.

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