Maddy & Maize, a gourmet popcorn company, might be small-batch (it’s produced in handmade batches in a cozy St. Paul kitchen), but it’s receiving major buzz, especially after it was chosen as a snack for celebrities at both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.
Owner, CEO and Minnetonka native Brett Striker is an entrepreneur whose boredom with eating plain popcorn led him to experiment with creating different tasty flavors. His first idea, lemon and raspberry, came to him after attending his cousin’s wedding where he ate lemon and raspberry cake. He began whipping up new creations in his kitchen, with his friends and family acting as the taste tasters.
Striker focuses on providing all-natural snacks for anyone, even people with dietary restrictions. The popcorn contains no artificial ingredients or colorings and is usually gluten- and peanut-free, as well as vegan.
“As an example, my caramel is made with tapioca syrup in place of high fructose corn syrup, and the sprinkles are made of fruit juice and vegetable juice instead of artificial dyes,” Striker says.
The company is named after Maddy, the daughter of one of Striker’s friends who is involved in the business. He wanted the name to be inspired by the people who have touched his life, so he combined Maddy’s name with the word maize, which means “corn” in several languages, for a simple and meaningful brand name.
With flavors like birthday cake, Thai coconut curry and, Striker’s personal favorite, cookies and cream, all popcorn eaters should be able to find something to love.
The popcorn has received so many accolades since its start in 2016 that it is now sold in several retailers in the Twin Cities, including Target, Hy-Vee and Kowalski’s Markets. Even with this success, Striker is looking ahead to the future so he can continually improve his products and provide his customers with new flavors.
“We want to continue to keep the integrity of the product, grow the brand but also keep this really high-end, premium popcorn available in unique flavors,” Striker says.