Dark twin of the fortune cookie coming to the US

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Misfortune Cookies carry sardonic messages compared to their cheery counterpart. Photo: Pechkeks
Misfortune Cookies carry sardonic messages compared to their cheery counterpart. Photo: Pechkeks

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ISM innovation winner Pechkeks is preparing to enter the US and Canada with dark humor biscuit brand Misfortune Cookies.

The German firm, based in Hamburg, launched the brand in 2013 and began producing an English language version in 2015.

For doom-mongers

The cookies give a direct and brutally honest glimpse at the future.

Photo: Pechkeks

There are over 1,000 message such as:

  • “Life is a symphony – and you’re playing the kazoo.”
  • “At least I believe in you. Me, a piece of paper.”
  • “Things will get better. Sometime. Maybe.”

The company says the product is for the doom-mongers. Those who “start talking about skin cancer as soon as the first ray of spring sunshine peeks through the black clouds”,​ says Pechkeks.

Moving into confectionery aisles

Misfortune Cookies won the innovation award at the ISM Cologne​ trade fair’s New Product Showcase this month.

Although the product was not new, it was the first time the company had exhibited at the fair as it tries to make inroads with confectionery buyers.

Andreas Pohl, founder and CEO of Pechkeks, told ConfectioneryNews at the show: "Here we are a newcomer for the sweets market... we reach different buyers. Normally, we are more known as a gifting article."

He added: “For us it’s important that we're not a cheap product... we don’t want to put it out in discounters. It's more the cool shops and better chains that we're interested in."

The suggested retail price for a single cookie is €1- €1.50 ($1.06-$1.58), while its 13-cookie gift box is €13 ($13.72).

International expansion

The company launched the English language version at a trade fair in Birmingham, UK, in 2015 and has already started to export to the UK, Australia and Scandinavia.

It is now preparing to enter the US and Canadian market and is seeking a distributor.

The design

Photo: Pechkeks

Company founder Pohl created the brand’s gothic design with his in-house team.

Pohl is a creative director of animation movies. "I'm the director for commercials - so I come from the advertising industry,” ​he said, adding that the product’s design had won plaudits in gothic magazines.

Pechkeks grew revenues by more than 300% last year. The company is just a four-person team and may look to add staff.

"When we came out, we started with a big bang – lots of press from the celebrity magazines to the gothic publications, TV stations, etc.”

"…We had over 300 retailers in the first two weeks." ​The company now hopes to gain listings in confectionery aisles, on top of existing distribution in gift stores.

Taste similar to fortune cookies

The cookies are black and colored with non-artificial colorant carbon.

"The taste is similar to normal fortune cookies, but maybe a little bit better because we produce only in Germany with regional corn and we color with carbon,”​ said Pohl.

He added that the brand is a slightly crunchier than the average fortune cookie. "And we produce every two months, so we have fresh cookies in stock."

A contract manufacturer in Germany produces the product.

Pechkeks has also tapped into seasonal opportunities with a Misfortune Cookies advent calendar for Christmas.

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