It’s Acadiana: Out To Lunch

Hosted ByChristiaan Mader

OUT TO LUNCH finds journalist Christiaan Mader conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Christiaan invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join him. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.

Krispy Krunchy Swamp Pop – Out to Lunch – It’s Acadiana

For the last couple of hundred years we’ve been making food in Acadiana that tastes totally different from anything you find anywhere else in the world. But, with the notable exception of New Iberia’s Tabasco – which is a hugely successful international brand – it’s only been relatively recently that Acadian food manufacturers have tried exporting our tastes beyond the borders  of Louisiana.

Aileen’s lunch guests today have companies that are taking basic tastes from our everyday Acadian menu and selling them successfully across the country.

Krispy Krunchy Foods sells fried chicken that Neal Onebane perfected and sold in his local convenience stores in the early 90’s. 

Neal Onebane

17 years into his Acadiana convenience store chicken sales, Neal thought that maybe people in convenience stores in other places in America might also like his fried chicken. It turned out he was right. For the last few years Krispy Krunchy Foods has been one of Acadiana’s most successful companies with annual revenues well north of one hundred million dollars.

Five or six years ago, Acadiana cousins Collin Cormier and John Petersen launched a line of soft drinks based on a branding idea that was really nothing more than a local pun: Drink Swamp Pop. That’s only funny in Louisiana – because outside of here most people don’t know that Swamp Pop is a type of music. And when you think about it as a brand, putting the word “swamp” on a bottle of colored liquid doesn’t make the average person in another state necessarily want to drink it. 

John Petersen

These were all lessons the Swamp Pop entrepreneurs were to learn over their first 5 years in business. Today, John and Collin have more than succeeded in educating non-Louisiana drinkers and Swamp Pop is on shelves and tables in all kinds of places across America, including at Cracker Barrel coast to coast.

John Petersen, Neal Onebane, Aileen Bennett

Krispy Krunchy Foods, Swamp Pop, and their founders’ Acadian style family passion for their companies are success stories we in Acadiana continue to be proud of.

Photos over lunch at Cafe vermilionville by Lucius Fontenot.