Many dismissed the flavored wallpaper scene in Willy Wonka& the Chocolate Factory as childhood fantasy, but for Adnan Aziz, it was a revolutionary idea with real-life potential. In January 2005, he partnered with seasoned entrepreneurs Jay Minkoff, 48, and Josh Kopelman, 35, to launch First Flavor in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Together, they refined the idea of edible strips that allow consumers to sample a product's flavor before buying. These tasty marketing tools are deliverable via methods like in-store coupon dispensers and direct mailings.
Using tried-and-true tactics, namely product research and consumer focus groups, the partners brought the innovative strips to market just this quarter. Companies specializing in everything from candies to alcoholic beverages want a piece of the action, and 2007 sales are projected to hit between $3 million and $5 million. Says Aziz, 24, "I had a dream; now I'm getting a chance to give it to the world."