Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
214 - Alex Cree on how he met Mark Cuban and innovated a new food product

214 - Alex Cree on how he met Mark Cuban and innovated a new food product

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Show notes made by…apologies for any errors!

About The Guest(s): Alex Cree is the co-founder of Baozza, a company that specializes in creating unique and delicious bao buns filled with pizza toppings. With a background in finance and a passion for food, Alex and his partner started Baozza in China and have since expanded to the United States. They have successfully raised funding, secured partnerships with major retailers, and are continuously growing their brand.

Summary: Alex Cree, co-founder of Baozza, shares the story behind their unique product and the journey of bringing it to market. Baozza is a fusion of Chinese bao buns and pizza, creating a delicious and innovative snack. Alex discusses how the idea for Baozza came about, their initial plans for the Chinese market, and the challenges they faced in sourcing packaging and manufacturing. He also shares their experience of securing funding from Mark Cuban and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business. Despite the setbacks, Baozza has found success in the US market and continues to expand its retail presence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Baozza is a fusion of Chinese bao buns and pizza, creating a unique and delicious snack.

  • The idea for Baozza came about when Alex scraped pizza toppings into a Chinese steamed bun and loved the combination of flavors and textures.

  • Baozza started as a small pop-up concept in China and eventually expanded to a fully branded flagship store.

  • The packaging for Baozza was a challenge, as they had to find a way to package the buns in a microwave-safe and steamable format.

  • Baozza secured funding from Mark Cuban and used the investment to further develop their product and expand their retail presence.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Baozza's business, but they were able to pivot to online sales and focus on their CPG line.


  • "Pizza, baozhi. You could call it a baozza, right?" - Alex Cree

  • "We wanted to be a little bit like an Auntie Anne's or a Cinnabon." - Alex Cree

  • "Most bao in China is kind of extreme commodity, right? It's extremely inexpensive." - Alex Cree

  • "We realized if this concept was going to take off, we were going to need a cold chain." - Alex Cree

  • "We were never going to import food from China. That was a non-starter." - Alex Cree

  • "The packaging is really the direction of this packaging has been really instrumental to then how we've sourced it and how we've gone about it." - Alex Cree

Timestamp Summary 0:00:02 Introduction and how they met on Twitter 0:02:01 Alex Cree's background and the inspiration for Baoza 0:07:11 The concept of Baoza and the fusion of pizza and bao 0:08:30 The challenges of introducing pizza by the slice in China 0:10:48 The early stages of Baoza, including pop-ups and ghost kitchens 0:12:10 Mark Cuban's involvement in Baoza and how they connected [0:13:26] Mark Cuban's associate visits the Ghost Kitchen in Beijing. [0:14:27] The need for a cold chain and factory-made buns. [0:15:45] Mark Cuban's associate learns about the CPG line. [0:16:18] Mark Cuban invests in Bowser. [0:17:20] Opening of the flagship store in Shanghai and franchising. [0:18:15] COVID-19 impacts the retail business. [0:19:38] Focus shifts to online sales and CPG line. [0:20:56] Expansion to the US market. [0:21:26] Challenges in the Chinese market. [0:23:12] Packaging considerations and finding suppliers in the US. [0:26:25] Introduction to the packaging of Bowser's microwaveable bags [0:27:06] Inability to duplicate the packaging process in the US [0:28:16] Plan to import packaging from China disrupted by COVID-19 [0:28:45] Higher cost of packaging in California due to COVID-19 [0:30:02] Transition from hand-sealed bags to flow wrap packaging [0:30:39] Difficulty in sourcing packaging technology during the pandemic [0:31:44] Use of non-hermetically sealed packaging during the pandemic [0:34:03] Challenges of aligning packaging with copacker equipment [0:35:36] Where to buy Bowser products [0:36:27] Contact information for Alex at Bowser


People of Packaging podcast, Alex Cree, Baozza, peanut butter in a pretzel, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, co-founder, Beijing, China, finance, Mexican restaurants, QMex Bar and Grill, pizza, baozhi, fast casual, quick serve retail, retail experience, pizza fusion, pizza by the slice, ghost kitchen, Hu Tongs, franchisee, Mark Cuban, CPG line, frozen two packs, frozen four packs, Sprouts, Harmons, packaging, carton, hermetic sealing, copacking, SBS board, flow wrap, microperf, Taiwan, COVID-19, North American source, packing lines, store locator, Kroger, Target, Whole Foods, independent chains, unboxing video, steaming, review

Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
This is a podcast where we illuminate the stories of people in the packaging industry and proudly sponsored by
Hosted by the Packaging Pastor, Adam Peek