Cultivate Magazine - Spring 2020

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spring 2020 | issue 01

cultivate MAGAZINE

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On behalf of the food and beverage manufacturers of BC, we extend a sincere THANK YOU to the dedicated grocery staff, servers, delivery drivers, production staff, and others, who have stayed open to serve your communities and maintain day to day operations. The food supply chain is an essential service; the work you are doing matters – it’s critical to all Canadians, and to our economy. We are with you.

Thank You

THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS FOR GROWTH I’m very excited to welcome you the first edition of our new magazine, Cultivate. I wish our debut issue was coming to you in less precarious times, but the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tumultuous effect all of us. BC Food & Beverage will continue to provide leadership in advocacy, tools resources and timely information to help our members and the industry through this crisis. We’ll get through this by working together. In the meantime, we’re happy to introduce Cultivate – filled with great stories about our members and information about the industry. This year, we made the big decision to take the publication of our magazine (Formerly known as Process This!) in-house to shine a spotlight on the amazing things our members are doing here in BC. We’re excited about this ambitious undertaking. Why did we choose the name Cultivate? To cultivate is to nurture and help grow. This name really resonated with us, as this is at the heart of everything we do at BC Food & Beverage; providing information, tools, resources to help our members, and to connect entrepreneurs who need help with those who can best provide it. 2019 was a year of some other big changes for BC Food & Beverage, including our rebranding & renaming from the BC Food Processor Association. We’re very proud that our new brand and name allows us to evolve along with our industry in BC, which is becoming increasingly diverse and innovative each year. It was important for us to make sure that the Association was something that our members – and the industry overall could identify with.


We hope you enjoy Cultivate as much as we did creating it for you, and find the great member stories inside informative and inspiring.

To ensure a thriving, world class food and beverage industry in BC.





We bring the food manufacturing industry together to share ideas, solve problems, identify synergies and explore business opportunities.

We’re here to provide all the tools, resources and training our members – and the industry – needs to prosper.

The food manufacturing industry is constantly changing. We stay on top of changes, trends for our members and their companies.

We represent our members. We’re the industry voice for identifying opportunities for change, improvement, growth and success.




James Donaldson, CEO







01. news

02. members

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18 20


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Cultivate Magazine is published 2 times per year by BC Food & Beverage. 310 9440 202 Street, Langley BC, V1M 4A6. No part of these publications may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to avoid errors and omissions. If you notice an error, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us.

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04. our earth


03. our province


“Our BC Food & Beverage award is tremendous, it will be shared internationally and be a motivation for other companies” page 10














LOCAL FOOD COMPANIES CRAFT THE MENU OF THE BC FOOD & BEVERAGE AWARDS GALA Story by Sierra Simpson The BC Food & Beverage Awards Gala was one for the books in 2019. From tapenades, dinner, dessert and even the drinks – the full menu was carefully crafted with locally sourced products supplied by the members of BC Food & Beverage Association. “We’re getting to try all these products, it’s a really unique and creative event,” says Top Chef Canada’s Mijune Pak, who co-hosted the event with celebrity socialite Fred Lee. The two took the stage with style and impactful words as they helped showcase and celebrate BC food companies. “I love being at this Gala, I love encouraging all the creative minds that come. I’ve been lucky to judge the awards for the 7th time. All the ideas and talent we have in BC is amazing,” says Mijune. The annual event celebrates the accomplishments of companies, products and leaders that have truly made an impact in the BC food, beverage and natural health industry. Excitement filled the room as companies were brought on stage to accept awards for sustainability, innovation, and more – including the prestigious Product of the Year Award. Winners, nominees and supporters we’re able to socialize, network and celebrate all the hard work put in throughout the year. Bob Nackers, Production Manager at EWOS Cargill was thrilled to accept the People First Award. “Our BC Food & Beverage Award is tremendous, it will be shared internationally and be a motivation for other companies,” says Bob, “we will come every year. It’s good to be inclusive, this gala has helped us that way, by including us.” The Awards are a great way to get the word out about your company and learn more about the companies that stand beside you. Megan Forster, part-owner of Chasers Fresh Juice was most excited about, “mingling, talking about our products, where we started, where we’ve come and how we’ve all grown to get here.” That is exactly what the gala is for; hearing how the people behind the companies have grown their business in all aspects. Approximately 500 people attended the gala from the food industry in BC. The event allows products, innovation, hard work and of course, the people behind it all to be recognized for their efforts. A spectacular highlight from the event is sharing stories firsthand. If you want to be a part of a night to remember, join us at the BC Food & Beverage Award 2020 on September 15th at the Westin Bayshore.  to nominate for the 2020 awards

2019 WINNERS Sustainability – Farafena Export – Organika Health Products Innovation – Smart Sweets Leadership – Craig Ogilvie, ConAgra Brands Canada Rising Star - Dionne Laslo-Baker, DeeBee’s Organics People First – EWOS Hall of Fame – 7 Seas Seafood Member of the Year, Processor – Quesava Member of the Year, Associate – FASKEN PRODUCT OF THE YEAR Gold: Lita's Mexican Foods, Tinga Taco Meal Kit Silver: Moonshine Mama's Kitchen Ltd., Tumeric Elixir Bronze: FATSO Peanut Butter, Crunchy Salted Caramel Most Innovative: 52° North, Natural Birch Water

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Story by Leslie Javorski

It is hard to find a no-additive, 100% vegan meal kit; but one that is authentically Mexican flavoured? Almost impossible. Jackie Thomas of Lita’s Mexican Foods has made it her focus – and with great results. Her Tinga Taco Meal Kit took first place as the 2019 BC Food & Beverage Product of the Year. Congratulations!


There is a simple reason she won, it’s a great product. Tinga is traditionally made with shredded chicken or pork, but not Lita’s. Their Tinga is made with enoki mushrooms and jackfruit while flavoured with the same ancho and chipotle chili adobo sauce. Amazingly, their adobo originates from a family recipe, which is over 100 years old – and by anyone’s standards, it is delicious. Their Tinga Taco Kit comes with 6 organic uncooked flour tortillas and the fully cooked, authentically seasoned Tinga filling. You toss the tortillas on a hot dry pan for 30 seconds on each side while the taco filling heats up. Then, fill the tortillas and eat. That’s it. A healthy dinner for two; 6 tacos that really are ready in 6 minutes.

It’s one thing to get food to taste authentically Mexican with the right spices, but selling to grocery stores was a new challenge. So, Jackie reached out to experts for guidance, like Good To Grow, which provides coaching for business growth and strategy, headed by Andrea Gray-Grant. Jackie hired a photographer and graphic designer for her packaging and used Ideon packaging for printing. Her taco meal kits say “grocery”. Jackie is proud to have everything as she wants, inside and outside the box. If you are wondering about the name, Lita’s is a shortened version of the word Abuelita, a diminutive Spanish word for grandmother. Jackie and Argelio’s youngest daughter could not say the whole thing, so Lita it became. Naming the company Lita came naturally, as it pays homage to Jackie and Argelio’s grandmothers and mothers from Mexico and New Brunswick, who taught them about good food and hard work. And work hard they do. They have 5 SKU’s thus far with more vegan, traditionally based Mexican foods in development; and as always, they are driven by Jackie’s desire to fill us up with authentic Mexican flavours.


Like many small food processors starting out, Jackie and her husband Argelio Santos, who is also a company founder, did not know what they were getting into. Jackie just wanted to make the kind of uncooked North Mexican style flour tortillas that Argelio grew up eating – with two differences, no lard and organic. She did it, and started selling tortillas at local farmers markets. The next thing they knew, they were renting a certified kitchen and developing meal kits.


Because it has no preservatives, the meal kit occupies the frozen food section of the grocery store, along with their two other taco meal kit SKU’s. The attitude about frozen food is changing thanks to consumers recognizing that freshness can be frozen without any deterioration. Lita’s taco meal kits fit right into this profile.

SILVER MEDAL Moonshine Mamas, Tumeric Elixir Melinda Divers is Moonshine Mama. A name with some swagger. And a name that fits her 25 years on eccentric Salt Spring Island where she produces her ‘moonshine’.


Her’s is a healthy drink concentrate made with turmeric and other immune boosting ingredients – no alcohol. Just take some of Moonshine Mama’s elixir and mix it with some effervescent or plain water. For more on Melinda's story see page 26.

BRONZE MEDAL FATSO Peanut Butter , Crunchy Salted Caramel FATSO is back with another BCFB win. Souped-up peanut butter from Victoria is hot. Owner Jill Van Gyn featured two new flavours and her new Crunchy Salted Caramel peanut butter impressed our judges just as her original FATSO peanut butter did in 2018, taking silver.


Developing the two new products has had it's challenges. Jill didn’t want added sugars in FATSO, but her two new flavours are classically sweet – caramel and chocolate. It took months of experimenting with tapioca fibre to get the right flavour, but she feels she got it. Obviously, our judges thought so, too. She has three SKUs – Original, Cocoa, and Crunchy Salted Caramel. Each is augmented with chia and flax seeds plus coconut, avocado and MCT oil. Originally designed for athletes to provide a healthy nut butter without the cost of an almond or cashew butter, it became apparent that the health factor interests all consumers.

Jill is a constant learner. As she says, “I come from a political science and academic background, but I like being an entrepreneur”. She acquired FATSO in 2016 and in three short years she’s taken it from nothing to what it is today. In addition to entering the BCFB challenges two years in a row (and winning), she was on Dragon’s Den in 2018 and secured deal (but didn’t take it).

All consumers are fully embraced and built into Jill’s marketing plan. She just secured a deal with Whole Foods to be on their shelves in all their stores in Washington and Oregon. Plans to include California come next year. This is the start of her plan to blanket the U.S. with FATSO.

By herself - and her family - she has handled product development, distribution, sales, and branding. Side note: the flailing peanut butter company she bought came with the name FATSO. She kept it as it was appropriate for her product, and as she says, “it’s worked well” for her. In the last year and half, she’s brought on two other people to help with the sales, marketing, and operations.

She has what it takes – a smart product, business acumen, a lot of energy and drive. As of September 2019, she also has a new baby boy but that doesn’t seem to hold her back.

The future includes more product varieties, a new phase of branding, and packaging considerations. Watch the brand. Watch Jill.

MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT 52° North, Natural Birch Water Queen of the Woods Pure and simple and all BC. That’s what 52° North’s natural birch water is. And it won the 2019 BCFB Innovative Product of the Year. Like so many women, 52° North came about when Sarah Wall was trying to give her kids a healthy, rejuvenating drink without sugar but couldn’t find anything good enough. Birch water is the sap from the birch tree tapped in the spring. It’s like maple water but has far less natural sugar. It provides good hydration as it’s loaded with natural electrolytes, minerals and nutrients. And it’s restorative one of many reasons birch trees are known as the Queen of the Woods. Birch water also has less calories than coconut water and “it’s from our own back yard”, something Sarah says is very important. “Why import from across the globe when this is right here”? Birch water is widespread in northern Europe yet is untapped here – literally and figuratively. 52° North has changed that. The company will continue to grow based on sustainably harvested wild products grown in BC (they already have a healthy spruce bud tea on the market). 52° North has five SKUs of birch water - natural, raspberry (the two top sellers), blackcurrant, cranberry, and cucumber. They sell in about 150 stores (a number that’s going up all the time) plus they sell online. Their markets are BC, Alberta, and Asia. 


Are you a small business with big ideas? Partner with the only lender 100% invested in Canadian food. Together we’ll find opportunities and help you grow through our networks and expertise. Let’s get to work 1-800-387-3232 |


BCFB AWARDS Celebrate the achievements of colleagues who are breaking ground in the food and beverage space and in our community. Tell us about them by nominating this person and/or their product(s) for a BC Food and Beverage Award.


PRODUCT OF THE YEAR Product of the Year is the flagship BC Food & Beverage award. 10 finalists will be chosen from all nominations to compete for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze placements in a Dragon’s-Den-style format pitch on August 13th in Vancouver. Winners will be announced on September 15th.


news, partner content


Contributor: Rob Marshall, PhD is the founder of SFCC Compliance Canada Ltd. which specializes in helping businesses develop and implement Preventive Control Plans. He has more than 20 years of experience developing HACCP systems. For more information about Rob visit or email:




On July 15, 2020, food businesses dealing with certain commodities will need to be compliant with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). These commodities, as identified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), are (1) unprocessed food used as grain, oil, pulse, sugar or beverage, (2) food additives and alcoholic beverages and (3) ‘all other foods’ (foods other than the aforementioned plus dairy, eggs and egg products, fresh or processed fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, honey and maple). Regulatory requirements which may apply to your business include licensing, preventive controls, preventive control plans (PCPs), and/or a traceability program.

In most cases, businesses that import food or prepare food (i.e. manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, or label) for export or interprovincial trade need SFCR licenses to operate, regardless of gross sales or the number of employees*. Exported foods requiring an export certificate, even if prepared by a company other than your own, may require SFCR licensing as well. Businesses conducting only intraprovincial trade do not need SFCR licensing. It must be noted that even if you do not require a license, your operation may have other SFCR requirements including preventive controls, traceability plans, packaging controls and labelling standards*. Preventive controls’ refers to a combination of measures used to achieve compliance with the SFCR. Regulatory requirements dictate that you must (1) identify all biological, chemical and physical hazards presenting a risk to your product and (2) implement control measures to prevent, eliminate or reduce the hazards to an acceptable level. These hazards may be inherent in the food or introduced during preparation, movement or storage. ‘Preventive controls’ also address more general regulatory requirements, such as conditions of facilities (location, design and maintenance), sanitation, pest control, equipment (design and maintenance), competency (employee training), food handling and storage. Most operations requiring ‘preventive controls’, with gross annual food sales greater than $100,000 and more than 4 employees, must have controls implemented by July 15, 2020; most operations grossing $100,000 or less with 4 employees or less have a deadline of July 16, 2021*. The PCP is a written document describing your ‘preventive controls’. Normally, a PCP is required for interprovincial trade and import. Only meat and fish products require a PCP for export unless an export certificate is needed from the CFIA. However, even if you determine that you do not need a written PCP, you may still need to implement ‘preventive controls’*. A PCP is not required if gross annual food sales are $100,000 or less*. Businesses making more than $100,000 annually with 4 or fewer employees have a deadline of July 16, 2021 to complete their PCP, while those with more than 4 employees have the July 15, 2020 deadline. Traceability refers to an operations ability to track the movement of a food item (including ingredients or other commodities incorporated into the food) ‘one step forward and one step back’ in the supply chain. Traceability programs help to ensure timely responses to food safety issues and facilitate market withdrawals and recalls. Most import, export and food production operations require traceability programs. Notable exceptions include activities related to the manufacture of food additives and alcohol*. A traceability program consists of records identifying the food (common name, lot codes etc.), when the food was supplied to you, by whom it was supplied and to whom you subsequently supply the food. Businesses who supply food to consumers at retail do not need to trace the food one step forward. 

*Note: Regulatory requirements vary significantly among commodities and activities. It is best to refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency webpage ‘SFCR timelines: when you need a food license for your business’ ( 8199762125/1528199763186) to determine what elements, if any, apply to you.

“it’s those stories that give us the strength and purpose to keep going, keep innovating, keep making food that makes people happy, healthy and connected.” page 21
















member stories


Story by Sierra Simpson

DUPIsCHAI blends spice with science to create a tea with purpose. “I set out to take chai back to its spice tonic roots by recreating Chai of the Maharajas but for the western cultures palate,” says Dupinder, who goes by Dupi, and created the tea with her husband Victor Yablonsky. Dupi was born and raised in India and chai tea has been the rhythm of her life. Dupi says, “I was disappointed to find that every chai on the current market had added flavours and sugars to create an experience without any substance behind the drink.” She wanted to enjoy the taste of her chai, but benefit her mind and body at the same time “Chai for the premium market in India is all about the spices as these are exclusive, taste and smell amazing, furthermore create a luxurious experience when combined with tea.” One of Dupi and Victor’s main passion is health and wellness through whole, natural foods. Dupi says, “spices are the most potent form of antioxidants on earth, making them a superfood and I wanted to treat the body to the benefits everyday with one simple cup of chai.” Scientist by trade, she combined her passion for everything chai along with the science behind superfood spices to create multi-functional blends that focus on a healthy brain, digestion and the immune system. “With two young kids I found myself exhausted and struggling with inflammation and allergies and was looking to infuse more superfood spices into my diet. I got to creating in the kitchen, adding spices, like ginger and turmeric, into a blend of chai just for my personal benefit.” She had a few friends talking about their health struggles and gave them some of her tea to help them feel better. The teas were a hit and that was when they decide to put their tea on the market. “After trial and error in 2017 and branding in the spring of 2018 we got into retail by the fall of 2018,” says Dupi.

“BCFB has been very helpful for us, we have really been using their networking community to meet new people and share our brand. I went to one of BCFB's marketing meetings to learn how to meet the requirements for Health Canada which was a really good learning opportunity for our BC business,” says Dupi, “we are happy to be a part of the BCFB family and connect with the BC food industry.” Visit


“We've been really focusing on social media, especially Instagram to get our message across but we’re still trying to figure out our exact demographic, to see what social media outlets they are using,” Dupi tells us, “our customers like to read, they want to be informed so they research before they buy, that’s why our website is very in-depth with lots of research and information behind our product.”


Victor says, “we are very proud to be a made in BC product and to maintain high standards of quality control. Furthermore, our premium quality ingredients and 3x more spices than competitors really make our blends stand out in taste, experience and health benefits. We are also eco-friendly as our packaging is not only beautiful to look at but also a sustainable choice.”


$500 AND A BIKE Story by Sierra Simpson


5 years ago Mellisa Mills found her job was lacking purpose and connection. She decided to take some time travelling to think about how she could do something that would affect people in a positive, meaningful way - something that could keep her afloat financially while feeling good about it. She decided to make and sell dips and spreads at a few farmers markets for extra money to set out on her adventure. That was all it took to discover her passion. But what makes her product so innovative and different from the rest you may ask. The answer is she has created cashew spreads, dips and cheeses made from all wholefood ingredients that are dairy free, non-GMO and are fermented. The Spread ’Em products were a huge hit and after hearing so much gratitude from her customers she realized that this is what she wanted to do - create delicious, healthy plant-based dips and cheeses. She cancelled her plans to travel to South America and put her full energy into Spread ’Em Kitchen. A blender,

a cargo bike and a 500-dollar limit on her visa is all she had, but that was all she needed. “After farmers market season was over my customers wanted more, I decided to get into some local mom & pop shops and was soon selling cases of the dips,” says Mellisa. With plenty of room to grow they got into specialty retailers across British Columbia creating bigger orders. “With our company growing I brought in new machines and hired staff but always stayed true to Spread ‘Em’s origins; supporting local farmers and never skimping on quality.” she explains. Now Mellisa is sending full pallets east, as far as Ontario and Quebec to share her product with as many Canadians as she can reach. Spread ’Em Kitchen now has multimillion-dollar revenue with zero capital investment and next to nothing spent on advertising. Mellisa says “knowing that our products have become staples in so many Canadians’ lives, simply by word of mouth and the odd social media shout out - that’s what really drives us.” She shares her gratitude to all the fans right here in British Columbia. “The

Spread ’Em products are now available in all Save-On-Foods locations across Western Canada. “We’re thrilled about the partnership with Save-On-Foods,” says Mellisa, “it’s a big chain of grocery stores that celebrates its local roots and remains a proud supporter of local farmers and producers. We’re so excited at the opportunity to bring Spread ’Em to their many customers.” Visit:


foodies. The vegans. The folks with food allergies who now have something rich and delicious to eat. The chefs who love featuring Spread ’Em dips in their own creations. The entertainers who buy multiple dips to make sure there’s plenty on hand for dinner parties. The families who visit their farmers market stall every single time to stock up on the only thing that will make their kids eat their vegetables,” thanks Mellisa, “it’s those stories that give us the strength and purpose to keep going, keep innovating, keep making food that makes people happy, healthy and connected.”



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Brandon Pham, founder of the Vancouver Vietnamese catering company The Phamily Table, knew his calling at a young age. He worked with his mom in the family kitchen at 12 years old, pickling vegetables using their Vietnamese heritage craft. He never could shake the aromas of the spices that filled their house. Even at that early age, he knew he was hooked -- he was going to be a chef. His journey in the culinary industry began right after high school when he attended the Vancouver Community College Culinary Arts program. He then proceeded to do his apprenticeship in Vancouver at the Westin Wall Centre. Brandon filled out his repertoire by working in upscale fine dining restaurants in Vancouver. He then contracted the travel bug and headed over to Copenhagen to gain more experience at Michelin star restaurants. (As a Michelin Restaurant groupie, you know I think this sounds like the most fun you could have in the world.)


But then Brandon had an epiphany. He wanted to return home to Vancouver and rediscover his roots and what it means to be a Vietnamese Canadian. So he launched The Phamily Table in May 2017 as a Vancouver Vietnamese catering company focusing on private dinners. The Phamily Table showcases local products and ingredients, using Brandon’s heritage as inspiration. This Vancouver Vietnamese catering company offers an evolving, ingredient-driven menu, rich with the flavours of Brandon’s memories.

where we live: Vancouver.” Brandon felt the best way to share his heritage was to create a line of Vietnamese inspired sauces that has locally sourced ingredients. He is adamant that their production is local as well as Canadian. The sauce line is creating a legacy for his family and honoring his mother, who started Brandon on his culinary journey. Two options are available now: hot sauce and a sweet sauce. Plus -- you heard it here first -- the product line is expanding in 2020. Two more Vietnamese inspired sauces are being added to the Phamily Table. Brandon also plans to place his sauces in more retail locations and restaurants. “One jar at a time,” he says. As a hot sauce lover, I added the Phamily Table’s hot sauce to my turkey Bolognese sauce and -- oh my, people -- it was great. It gave it that kick that I like. Besides being spicy, it also has a very slight smoky flavour. The vinegar in the sauce rounds it out and is quite smooth. Fun fact: Brandon created The Phamily Table logo when he was 10 years old. When you look at the logo, you can see that it contains a herb, a heart, and his initials, BP. Simple and significant. Plus, how fitting is it that Brandon’s last name is Pham? I love a good Pham gathering! Join Brandon’s family and mine as well at The Phamily Table sometime, BIG LOVE!!


Brandon says his “dishes are inspired by our cultures, as well as respect for ingredients, nature, and the place

Story & photos by Karen Davidson



Story by Sierra Simpson

“I had a friend that was really sick, resulting in daily migraines leading him to quit his job,” explains Andrea, “he was prescribed prednisone, a steroid that can have nasty side effects and isn’t a long-term solution. He started using cannabis to treat his condition instead.” That was the reason she decided to create Zen Zingers to allow people to treat themselves in the safety of their own kitchen, knowing exactly what and how much cannabis they will be consuming. “I made a couple prototypes and went around to some local dispensaries to see if they would be interested in my product,” says Andrea, “my background is in entrepreneurism business and marketing so I didn’t want to rush into it until I tested out the market but I got a lot of positive feedback and decided to design actual packaging and figure out how to manufacture.” After establishing a true market need, Andrea did a lot of research to educate herself more about medicinal cannabis treatment and the cannabis edible market. “I read a lot of what was going on in the United States and what they were doing down there when it comes to edibles and medicinal marijuana,” says Andrea, “I also did a lot of trial and error in the kitchen to see what worked and what didn’t.”


Hoping to get into more grocery stores, Andrea had Health Canada determine her product is not a cannabis accessory. This gives Andrea the confirmation that Zen Zingers is a consumer packaged good and can be sold in grocery stores. “It was really validating to get that confirmation. We’ve also had independent legal review conducted which came to the same conclusion,” tells Andrea. Paracanna presented their Zen Zingers at the Grocery and Specialty Food West show in the spring, as well as at BCFB’s foodprowest. Winning Top Ten in Grocery honours also helped get some great exposure. “CTV News did a story on Zen Zingers which blew things up for us, in a good way, for the next month,” says Andrea, “it aired that night and the next morning at the show the keynote presentation was on the topic of CBD. Retailers were quickly realizing the importance of the CBD market opportunity and so our booth was busy and we got a lot of interest. BC Food & Beverage is hands-down the best industry association I have been a part of,” says Andrea, “the return on investment for the membership fee has been insane and the personal support and attention is unparalleled, they really are helping us grow this business through specialized events and introductions.”


Victoria BC local and CEO Andrea Butterworth, developed the ‘Zen Zingers’ kit, including everything you need to make your own gummies including gummy molds, the mix and instructions for safe dosing – except the cannabis - consumers just need to supply their own THC or CBD oil. This also allows the product to avoid the strict packaging and branding regulations that cannabis edibles must adhere to, so Paracanna stands out on the shelves.

Parcanna’s product, Zen Zingers, can now be found in about 300 stores across Canada. “Were mostly in head shops, hydroponics and cannabis retail but we’re making our way into grocery and can be found in about 17 grocery stores on the west coast,” explains Andrea, “we’re making some partnerships and diving deeper into grocery next and hopefully you’ll be able to see us everywhere soon.”


Zen Zingers’ - a do it yourself marijuana gummy kit, is genius in that it crosses the cannabis edibles market and the CPG market with one product.





Story by Sierra Simpson

More BC wild mushrooms are exported to Europe than sold in local supermarkets. West Coast Wild Foods aims to flip that demand by making local mushrooms more accessible. “For the last 10 years around 80% of wild mushrooms that grow in Canada make their way to Europe; the main export market for Canadian mushrooms.” says Niall Sherwin, West Coast Wild Foods “it’s been pretty much impossible to walk into a supermarket in Vancouver and pick up a pack of fresh wild mushrooms.” Eventually they would like to change that and serve BC retail exclusively, but it’s going to take some time. Sherwin explains, “the export keeps the business going and allows us to purchase higher volumes to be able to get the premium products and if we stop export and wholesale right now we wouldn’t have the demand to buy the same volume of high quality mushrooms at a good price. It’s a balancing act, but West Coast Wild Foods would like to tip the scales - selling 80% to local retail and 20% to wholesale markets.”

“We have been able to take advantage of the BCFB connection service to find our co-packers and a commissary kitchen. We have also been able to participate in the BC Pavilion at the Grocery & Specialty Food show, as well as the FoodProWest tradeshow, which brought an enormous success in pushing West Coast Wild Foods forward,” says Niall, “BCFB has been an incredible resource for us over the last few years.” With most of their product being wholesale and export, their goods are sent bulk to distributors who will then re-pack them to individual retail packaging. ”Our fresh product is currently in Choices Market and they are interested in our dry product come this winter when all the fresh produce is out of season.” For the future, they hope to be found more widespread regionally in stores as the ‘West Coast Wild Foods’ brand, showcasing the best of what BC has to offer. Visti:



The goods are gathered by people local to the areas that the specific produce grows. Sherwin, says, “for example, if we source mushrooms from Powell River, 90% of the pickers in that area are people from Powell River that know where they grow every year, they do it as a recreational thing and as a source of income.” “Mushrooms take up about 80% of the business, which get picked during the day then sent back to the camp around 5pm where they will sell the mushrooms to a buyer,” says Niall, “the buyer will then either ship them fresh to our faculty or, if they have enough fresh inventory, they will dry the product on site which makes them shelf stable for two years.”


West Coast Wild Foods, was founded in 2009 by lifetime wild mushroom pickers Jeremy Budd and Austin Glenn. They specifically went into the morel mushroom business, creating their own customer base over a couple of years and then grew the company by adding a variety of other products. Aside from fresh and dried wild mushrooms, they also produce a range of wild greens and wild berries from which they are now creating their own jams.


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regional feature

salt spring 28

Story by Sierra Simpson

A beautiful place for an adventure – to relax, check out markets & shops, immerse into the nature. Salt Spring Islanders are also making some great innovative foods and beverages. Community and sustainability drive these companies and their stories will warm your heart. We had the pleasure to chat with Moonshine Mama’s, Salt Spring Kitchen Co. and Saltspring Harvest about what has gotten them to where they are today. There must be something in the water!



Turning personal battles into an impactful company

“I remember the day in March 2011 when my doctor delivered her news: stage 3 cancer. The diagnosis piqued me to consider my next steps. I had complete faith that by combining conventional and alternative treatments I could create wellness for myself.” -Melinda Divers, CEO of Moonshine Mama. After being diagnosed with cancer Melinda Divers from Salt Spring Island started looking for ways to incorporate medicinal ingredients into her diet which evolved into a tasty drink and the start of her company, Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs. All of Melinda's research - to help rebuild her immune system after cancer treatment - consistently pointed to four potent

“We’ve made the conscious decision to raise our family and keep the business here” Melanie Mulherin, Salt Spring kitchen co.


ingredients; ginger, lemon, honey and turmeric. After personally feeling the affective benefits, she wanted to help other people going through similar situations. She joined groups to connect with people battling cancer and other health struggles, sharing homemade bottles of her turmeric concoction. Word of mouth spread like wildfire throughout the tight-knit community. “People were telling us that we needed to start selling it because they needed more,” says Melinda’s daughter, Sarah Divers, who now helps run the family business. “My mom started selling Moonshine Mamas at the Saturday market on Salt Spring thinking it would be a fun weekend hobby.” All the positive feedback from the community led Melinda to go into retail. You can now find Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs in stores in BC, Alberta, and Toronto. After many kind gestures and support from the Salt Spring community when Melinda was battling cancer, she has focused her time and energy into giving back. “One company put on a huge fundraiser event just for her. It was hard for her to come to terms with people giving her

so much,” says Sarah. Melinda feels as if she is paying it forward now with Moonshine Mama’s - one elixir at a time. Visit:


Turning a hobby into a passionate career

Right next door to Moonshine Mama’s kitchen is Salt Spring Kitchen Co. They offer hand-made sweet and savory jams for pairing with cheese and charcuterie. The owner, Melanie Mulherin, started selling her preserves in 2012 at the Salt Spring market when she moved there to meet people in her new community. Her business’ growth was organic, simply from word of mouth and as more stores contacted her, she couldn’t say no. “My husband was supportive of me quitting my day job and putting my focus into this hobby full-time and I am so thankful I took that chance.” She’s seeing the benefits of her hard work and great product – Salt Spring Kitchen Co.’s Candied Jalapeno’s won the Top 10 in Grocery

at the 2019 Grocery Specialty Foods Show in Canada. Melanie finds the most joy from the little community that has been made at Salt Spring Kitchen Co. Her business has created jobs for a dozen local people with a good wage and a supportive work environment. “Our little crew feels more like a family and I am extremely proud of that,” she says. Along with that, sustainability is a main priority for the Salt Spring Kitchen Co. family. She picks glass over plastic along with compostable packaging and sampling supplies and purchases her produce from as close to home whenever possible. “We’ve made the conscious decision to raise our family and keep the business here,” says Melanie, “and although there are some challenges surrounding that, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Her plans for the future involve increasing their distribution to Eastern Canada as well as the US eventually. Her dream would be to have a jam shop and tasting room where visitors and islanders can come and see what they’re up to and learn more about the product. Visit:


Getting good food out to the world

Zoe Currelly, owner, creator and chef of Saltspring Harvest spent time in Quebec where veggie pate was very popular. Once she moved back to BC, she was surprised that it didn’t exist in the market. “For how many dietary restrictions it hits and how health conscious people are here and not having that option of pate, I was surprised,” says Zoe. She saw the niche and with that her végé-pâté was born. In the summer of 2016, she was selling at a Salt Spring farmers market to see if there was any interest in the product. “Natureworks said that I should sell my végé-pâté in their store, so I put together labels.” That’s when it took off. After that Zoe began selling in more locations including Choices and Nesters Markets. Sustainability was Zoe’s main motivation in creating her vegan product; she isn’t vegan herself but believes we should be consuming more plant-based foods. “The environment doesn’t have a choice on how much waste we produce and how much we use. We’re all busy. We all need convenient, quick stuff,” says Zoe, “but if you can make that choice and it’s easy, then I feel good about contributing.” Zoe loves the community on Salt Spring and finds joy building relationships with retailers who are trying to get good food out to the world. She enjoys working with all the motivating people on Salt Spring, with the same mission as her – shifting towards more sustainability for all of us. Visit:

“The Environment doesn’t have a choice on how much waste we produce and how much we use.” zoe currelly, saltspring harvest







food waste “what can we do with these so they don’t go to waste?” Answer? Banana bread.




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3,257,581 meals provided

Story by Sierra Simpson

FoodMesh is the innovation she co-founded. FoodMesh reduces needless food waste and feeds more people, by diverting unsold food to the highest and best end. An online platform connects edible surplus to an on-demand market of environmentally progressive processors, restaurants and charities. Food waste is a global crisis that negatively impacts us socially, environmentally and economically. If waste was a country, it would be the third largest contributor to greenhouse gases. “Part of our work is to put a spotlight on this problem and the root cause behind it, while offering a scalable solution for businesses that care enough to give food a second chance.” Jessica says the biggest hurdles were overcoming the stigma of surplus food, building trust from suppliers, and raising awareness that all food businesses have avoidable waste, whether they’re aware of it or not. After 4 years of building momentum and encouraging governments and businesses to care enough to act, FoodMesh has become a reliable solution. Jessica is finally seeing a tipping point and exponential growth. “We now have over a thousand businesses and charities on our network committed to diverting rather than disposing and buying seconds first. We now have cities hiring us to develop local “Food Share Networks.” FoodMesh is averaging in 400,000 recovered meals each month to charities feeding societies most food insecure – incredible!

Sustainability is multi-faceted. Jessica believes you must be financially sustainable to stay in business, which is the first step. “At FoodMesh there are 5,104,982 other layers, including the social and Emissions saved CO2-E environmental impact of our work such as how we produce, how we govern, how we share wealth, how we define success. These are woven into the fabric of the why, who and how we $11,298,111 are as a business,” money saved says Jessica. “This is important because we believe that food and beverage businesses are well positioned to be leaders for social change, and this is what we set out to prove.” Jessica and her team at FoodMesh want to build a National Food Share network that provides a solution to all segments among the food supply chain including farmers, distributors, processors, retail, restaurants, and charities. As well as to use their technology to make tracking of food loss and recovery easier and more reliable because “you can’t change what you do not measure,” says Jessica. To learn more about FoodMesh and how you can become a part of their movement visit




When entrepreneur Jessica Regan saw 2 container loads of edible avocados and onions go to the dump in 2015, just because they were too ripe for retail, she couldn’t shake it off. “58% of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, meanwhile 1 in 8 Canadian families are food insecure. After a year of researching and brainstorming, I decided to quit my job and take on this challenge,” says Jessica.

2,686,833 food rescued (kg)


FoodMesh Proves Food and Beverage Businesses are the Leaders of Social Change

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REDUCING FOOD WASTE Farmers raise livestock

it is sent to local producers where it is turned into food

and then used by farmers to fertilize crops or feed livestock



NOTHING LEFT BEHIND Story by Sierra Simpson

Redux recycles by-products that would otherwise be transported to landfill

creating protein meals and fats that are feed ingredients

which are used by pet food, aquaculture and livestock feed producers

Behind everything we do is with the core purpose of providing sustainable solutions to these waste challenges in the communities we serve. When “Nothing” is left, we have done our job.


“58% of food produced in Canada goes to waste every year, 86% of that number is directly coming from food manufacturers. It’s not even the waste from individual households, it’s food that doesn’t get to the consumer,” says Derek. Beyond expired products, Redux also recycle products that are off spec in mass production, damaged packaging during distribution or even errors in labelling or UPC codes. Derek says, “Unfortunately, due to extreme economic pressures and the risk of legal liability, sometimes we see perfectly good food adding to the landfill, which is a big problem.” A crucial rule Redux follows is “if we can,” always feed humans first. “We work with a number of organizations

In 2019 Redux has focused on promoting the various services they provide in Western Canada. They aligned with customers that had a shared vision of environmental responsibility, sustainability and the importance of reinvesting to the local community and food ecosystem. In a lot of cases, these are large multi-national fortune 500 companies. Partnering with companies with scale in Western Canada allows Redux to operate more efficiently in the collection of waste streams with the lowest possible carbon footprint. “Being able to convert these various waste streams into something that can be reinvested into the local food economy is a public service that is absolutely needed,” says Derek, “Behind everything we do is with the core purpose of providing sustainable solutions to these waste challenges in the communities we serve. When “Nothing” is left, we have done our job.” Visit:


Bakery and other pre-consumer food waste recycling operates under Redux Services which collects and recycles pre-consumer food waste and other organic packaged goods from food manufacturers and repurposes it for use in pet food, livestock feed and green energy. This is just one of the services within the Redux portfolio run by West Coast Reductions with the goal to ultimately reduce landfill waste.

to try and feed people in need,” says Derek, “That’s always the primary objective. If we have permission from the brand or manufacturer, we work with programs that feed humans.” For example, if a batch of product from a manufacturer is mis-labeled, but the food is still edible, Redux will first seek permission, then will support the collection and facilitate the delivery to one of the many organizations in the network so that the food can be used to feed people. “When the food cannot be used in that way, that’s where we really play a strong part. We support the collection of the by-products, we then de-package if necessary, process and then use it to support the animal feed industry or a network of renewable energy operations.”


“Nothing Left Behind* is the best way to describe what we have been doing as a company operating in Western Canada for over 54 years. It was important for Barry Glotman, CEO, to define this internally so that we could align everyone to the same vision across everything we do,” says Derek Quan, Head of Redux Services, “Being able to provide professional, reliable solutions that repurpose our customers’ waste in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way is the focus across all our services.”

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SMART SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Story by Sierra Simpson Reduce food waste and provide employment opportunities - these are the two things Goodly Foods stands for.


More than half of all food produced in Canada is wasted along the food chain, from the farm to the fridge according to a report by Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue charity. That’s where Goodly Foods comes in. Keen to lower food waste, the mission began when the Greater Vancouver Food Bank received a large donation of bananas - but only half were distributed before the other half went brown. CEO of the GVFB at the time, Aart Schuurman Hess’ big question was, “what can we do with these so they don’t go to waste?” Answer? Banana bread. After reaching out to an organization they turned those browning bananas into delicious loaves of banana bread. They were able to make use of the so called “bad” bananas and offer employment for individuals working in a supportive community in the Downtown Eastside. Giving out bananas one week, to banana bread the next. A huge feel good moment, and that’s when the idea of Goodly Foods was born. Schuurman Hess shares that “it’s been a collaborative venture created through the GVFB and Fulmer Capital Partners.” After the first year of doing a feasibility study for their business model, Goodly Foods found that there was enough surplus produce available for donation that could make a viable social enterprise, by manufacturing soup. The huge bonus is that they create jobs while making good soup. Vancouver chef, Karen Barnaby, joined Goodly Foods as their Product Development Chef. “Through her creation, involvement and community tasting events she developed, tested and redefined the Hearty Tomato Vegetable soup. With the homemade taste and simple ingredients, it can be eaten right out of the bowl, or enhanced by adding spices, beans, meat, rice or pasta,” explains Schuurman Hess. In January 2019, a grant from Walmart of $1.1M allowed them to begin production and distribution of their first product. “From moving into a commissary kitchen, to attaining the proper equipment, and offering a living wage, the generous grant helped us upscale Goodly Foods,” says Schuurman Hess.


Speaking of employees, Goodly Foods partnered with their new culinary employment partner H.A.V.E. (Hope, Action, Values, Ethics) Culinary Training Society. Schuurman Hess says, “with H.A.V.E. we are able to help individuals in Vancouver who experience barriers to employment by providing sought after food industry jobs. In addition to helping these individuals, a portion of every batch of soup made is donated to local food banks and charities.” But it doesn’t end there, one of their first buyers, UBC, started offering their delicious healthy plant-based soups at the campus cafeterias in the spring of 2019 and over the summer they began selling to many local retail grocery stores. “While we offer the large food service quantities, we have also created a 500ML deli container, making the soup as accessible as possible.” says Schuurman Hess, “Goodly Foods soups can now be found on the shelves at Meridian Farm Market, Pomme Natural Markets and we are working towards supplying Whole Foods Market in the near future.” With two new soups ready for production soon (Simply Squash and Beautiful Beet), Goodly Foods is focusing on getting their soups into more local supermarkets and sharing their sustainable vision. Visit:




Reduce food waste and provide employment opportunities - these are the two things Goodly Foods stands for.

pictured: Aart Schuurman Hess, founder of Goodly Foods


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