Cultivate, Special Edition 2020: Covid19 Stories

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special edition 2020 | covid19 issue

cultivate MAGAZINE

THE BIG

PIVOT

Inspiring stories of how the Food & Beverage industry adjusted during Covid19


industry stories

CRAVE THE FIFTH, TASTE UMAMI 2

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

You’ve heard of the basic tastes: sweet, bitter, salty, and sour – but do you know the fifth taste, Umami? It was discovered by Japanese scientists and is loosely translated as “a pleasant savoury taste.” UMAMI Crave the Fifth Dressing, Dip and Finishing Sauce is nutritional yeast based vegan and glutenfree bottle of possibilities with a taste that will blow your mind. Trust me. Owned by sisters-in-law, Joanna Best and Stephanie Gaudette, the product was created by Joanna’s husband (and Stephanie’s brother), Justin Best, Executive Chef for BNA Eatery & Brewery and Skinny Dukes Glorious Emporium in Kelowna BC.

“My husband stumbled across this style of dressing in 2013. He made his own, brought it home, insisting that I HAD to try it,” says Joanna, “as soon as I tasted it, I loved it.” From then on, Justin has featured it on his menus, and everyone raves about it. Over the course of the next 5 years, Justin kept thinking they should bottle the delicious dressing. People kept asking for the recipe and begging them to bottle it so they could enjoy the goodness at home. With a growing family and busy lives, Justin and Joanna never seriously considered a side hustle with the “cider vin”. Until 2017 that is, when Joanna went away on a 5-day trip to London away from her kids


story by sierra simpson, march 24 2020

and thought “I need something different in my life and this has been sitting in the back of my head for a long time now. I want to do this, but I don’t want to do this alone.” Stephanie and Joanna teamed up and decided to go for it – the great sister-in-law duo. “Our first event-I call it our coming out party-was in April of 2018 when we sold our first bottle of UMAMI” says Joanna. “We were approached by gentleman who asked if he could carry our product in his grocery store once we were ready.” That summer, UMAMI was sold for the first time in a retail outlet – Peter’s Independent Grocer, in Kelowna. Today, two years later, UMAMI can be found in 25 outlets throughout the Okanagan and 4 in the lower mainland.

Stephanie Gaudette, co-owner of Your Seasoned Chef Inc, makers of UMAMI Crave the Fifth.

There has been considerable change in the world since the interview for this blog post. While unable to meet face to face with customers and share UMAMI Crave the Fifth with them personally, Stephanie and Joanna are committed to keeping their current retailers stocked with product. They do not have an online store, but welcome inquiries about purchasing product for shipping through their website www. umamicravethefifth.com. UMAMI can also be added to purchases from nichewine.com and mapleroch. com. The directive to stay home provides a lot of time for product and recipe development; when the world is no longer dealing with Covid-19, they will have many exciting new things to share. Stay well. 

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“The goal is to create great products that people recognize as delicious, uncomplicated food.”

Joanna and Stephanie plan to run with the “UMAMI Crave the Fifth” brand, creating a variety of products to add to their savoury, original UMAMI. They have additional sauce flavours in development and are working to bring their very popular ready to cook UMAMI salad bags to wholesalers. Even an UMAMI hummus might just be in the making; we couldn’t be more excited to try it!

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These two driven ladies have managed to get where they are by working at UMAMI on a part time basis, while working their “regular” jobs (Jo is a chef, Stephanie a nurse). “If we’ve come as far as we have over the past 2 years working part-time,” says Stephanie “imagine what we will do once we dedicate all of our time to this business.” They say the next steps are looking at scaling up their production and expanding distribution. “We’re at that space where we need to expand,” says Joanna, “improve, research, learn every day, asking the right questions and meet the right people.”


industry stories

VANCOUVER BREWERY PRODUCES HAND SANITIZER FOR CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS

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BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

With drastic changes in the world, companies are shifting gears to help where they can. Last week the BC government gave all distilleries and breweries permission to produce hand sanitizer, something the community is in dire need of as we fight Covid-19. Parallel 49 Brewing Company made the switch to producing hand sanitizer for the past week to help the community and to keep things running to protect employees’ jobs. “Really quickly it went from us doing a nice little thing for the community to the province is in desperate need and we need to pump out as much as we can.” says Anthony Frustagli, Co-Founder at Parallel 49 Brewing Company, “that’s where we’re at right now, production is in full swing.” This past Saturday the East Vancouver brewery delivered their first batch of 11 thousand litres to charitable organizations around the city. Downtown Kia heard what they were doing and offered to help. “They reached out saying that they’re not selling tons of cars right now but have vehicles and people able to help deliver the hand sanitizer to the charities.” The team effort doesn’t end there. Vessel Packaging donated the cans and Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging supplied the labels. All these companies have come together in such a short amount of time to help where they can.


story by sierra simpson, march 30 2020 “Obviously the sudden closure of all bars and restaurants in the province really hurt our revenue stream,” says Frustagli, “we started looking into producing hand sanitizer a couple weeks ago to see how we could help, the next thing we know, I was getting thousands of emails a day and government agencies asked us to produce hand sanitizer.” Parallel 49 is pumping out as much as they can to supply those in need. The brewery now has full funding from the government, giving them back a revenue after their drop in sales. “We’re revenue neutral now which is nice,” says Frustagli, “it’s keeping everyone working while keeping safe on the job and respecting social distancing and getting use to all the new safety standards that just appeared in the past couple weeks.” For now, the team at Parallel 49 Brewing Company is in full swing. Frustagli says, “it’s a pretty drastic switch and makes us think – once everything is all over, hopefully in a few months, we can reflect on this situation but right now we’re just 100% go go go.” Anyone wanting more information, please email: info@parallel49brewing.com Other breweries supplying sanitizer: 1.

Black Kettle - www.blackkettlebrewing.com

2. Factory Brewing - https://craftcollective.beer/ 3. Sheringham Distillery - www.sheringhamdistillery.com/ 4. Greenworks Distillers 5. Vitex 6. Bridgeland Distillery - https://bridgelanddistillery.com/ 7.

Mad Lab - https://www.madlabdistilling.com/

8. Salt and Stone

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If you’re looking to source hand sanitizer, please feel free to reach out to these companies. 


industry stories

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

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During these challenging times for everyone, people are finding ways to bring light to the situation and offer what they can in innovative collaborative ways. Karen McAthy, Chef and Founder of Blue Heron Cheese has united with Naomi Arnaut, Owner of Say Hello Sweets to bring the public a curated pre-order package service called “Love in the Time of Pandemic” that features several local producers. We had the pleasure to chat with Karen McAthy and Naomi Arnaut about what they are doing during this current transition.


story by sierra simpson, march 31 2020 How are you dealing with the situation in the world right now? Karen: “I think, like many, like nearly everyone, there is a sense of overwhelm, and anxiety. For me, personally, I am trying to focus on the things that I can control, or do, the very pragmatic things, be useful in some way. My business partner, Colin Medhurst, is also a firefighter, so he is busy doing deeply important work right now coordinating logistics, and his wife, is a nurse practitioner working in the very thick of it, so I try to keep focused on how we get the day to day to happen as we adapt to a new ‘normal’.” Naomi: “Situations like this can bring out both the best and the worst in humanity, and though anxious and concerned, it has been good to see some aspects of the community coming together to do things like check on elderly neighbours, or deliver prescriptions and supplies to those who can’t get out to do such things. Hopefully, out of this, some good changes will evolve.” What made you want to create the collaborative food delivery boxes? Karen: “A collaborative ethos has informed Blue Heron from the beginning. Colin and I have routinely reached out to or included other small-scale food processors in events or box offerings, so this idea is not entirely novel to us. We have also done a lot of collaboration with specifically Say Hello Sweets, (We did a series of Ice Cream Socials in 2018) and this concept seemed a natural one to consider. I was chatting with Naomi, and we just wanted to come up with a way that could help other small scale food processors find a creative way to continue to serve our respective client bases, and to continue doing what we do (making our plant-based food products).”

This current transition is not going to be short term, and it is not going to see us all ‘go back to normal’, this is the time to really evaluate how we do business, how we interact as communities, and how we can, hopefully, find a new way to thrive.  Companies collaborating with the ‘Love in the Time of Pandemic’ food delivery boxes: Biota Fermentation House of Yee (dumplings) Hoochy Booch Kombucha Kula Kitchen (West African cuisine) Living Lotus Chocolates Lita’s Mexican Foods Nina’s Pierogi Zimt Chocolates Nutmeg Mylk (plant-based mylks) Tempea Tempeh Coastie Burger (soon to be joining the program) Blue Heron Say Hello Sweets If you would like to support these local companies and learn more, please visit: panicbuttonyvr.square.site/

SPECIAL EDITION 2020, COVID STORIES

How do you think this will help the companies involved? Karen: We are hoping that in creating a delivery/distribution alternative for these small-scale producers which aren’t ready for the large-scale distribution system, that this will make it easier for folks in the community at large want to support them and us. We are hoping to coordinate delivery within the network of our vendors and this will also increase prospects for curbside delivery of not just the collaborative box program, but also, the independent businesses being able to coordinate delivery of their own products in concert with.

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Naomi: “This situation has forced or compelled us to look at other ways of operating, and to band together to find creative solutions. This was one way to do that, and we are offering clients wholesale pricing so that it hopefully encourages folks to support a wide number of small businesses that are trying to reconfigure their models. We are getting a lot of interest, and we have had a number of other small-scale food producers ask to join the box program, and we are so fortunate to have Dima Yagnuk, www.yagnyuk.com (who also designed the logos for Blue Heron, Say Hello Sweets and Biota Fermentation), offering his services to design an independent website for this service, as well as an independent Instagram page for the Love in the Time of Pandemic program.”


industry stories

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BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

LOCAL FOOD COMPANIES TEAM UP TO CREATE CARE PACKAGES FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS A group of friends in the Vancouver food and wellness space have been inspired to give back to health care workers with help from the community. April Bellia, founder of Granola Girl and Anna Chan, founder of myMomentum are spear-heading an initiative to prepare 50 care packages for a combination of selling and gifting within the community. Anyone who purchases a box has the option to donate to hospital health care workers, plus the team will donate one special box to the frontline for every 3 boxes sold. “I have a friend who’s a nurse who reached out to me asking if I had any product to donate for health care workers,” says April, “she explained to me that a lot of people in the community are leaving food at the hospital door, which they can’t just take since they don’t know where it’s from.” For the hospitals to be able to accept the food, they need to

know where it’s coming from to protect everyone’s safety. April saw how the community wanted to help so she came up with this initiative to help them say thanks to our nurses, doctors and other hard-working hospital employees. She also saw the opportunity to support local food businesses by collaborating with them. “We wanted to create this triple win situation between food producers, health care workers, and the community,” says April, “some companies are doing well and they’re able to donate products, but some companies are also struggling, and they don’t have the means of income or sales necessarily during these times.” So, April decided that giving the food companies the option of donating product or doing a combination of selling and donating some product.


story by sierra simpson, april 5 2020

Officially launched on April 6th, this initiative under the name of M Box will be give people 3 options, all of which will help the community and front line! 1.

Buy a box for yourself (try some great local product delivered to your door)

2. Buy a box and gifting it to someone else (maybe to someone who is unable to leave their house or as a kind gesture) 3.

Buy a box and donate it to a team of health care workers

For every 3 boxes ‘sold’, the team will donate a special additional box to the front line. April, Anna and 2 other volunteers will be delivering the boxes within Vancouver twice a month once the orders start coming in. “We’ve had such an overwhelming and positive response for the month of April. We’re going to be doing this for the next 3 months - so we will be spreading it out. We’re already spilling into May,” says April, “We love all the clapping, cheering, and all the initiatives other people are doing – this is our way of showing our appreciation.” The next step is to get the word out to the community and invite people to buy the boxes.

LIST OF COMPANIES TAKING PART IN THIS MONTH’S BOX: Lifestyle for Life Naked Coconuts Naked Snacks Spain Gourmet Thai Roots Tribe ACV True Nosh Vista D’Oro Wise Bites

The products are all recurved for this month and M boxes are available now at www.itsmymomentum.com. Beyond June, myMomentum will continue this community project to keep supporting local businesses and the boxes will be a combination of healthy food and wellness products.  For more information please feel free to reach out to April at: helloaprilbellia@gmail.com or Anna at anna@itsmymomentum.com

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• • • • • • • • •

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• Batch Sweet Kitchen • Bite Snacks • Bodega on Main • Ethical Bean • Granola Girl • Habibis • Hidden Garden • Home Grown Living Foods • Kindred Cultures • Laiki Crackers


industry stories

TAKE THE FOOD SHARE PLEDGE DONATE SURPLUS FOOD IN APRIL TO PROVIDE 10,000 MEALS

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

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story by sierra simpson, april 14 2020

In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic FoodMesh, an innovative food exchange network, is inviting businesses with surplus food to join them and take the Food Share pledge. FoodMesh is encouraging this movement to help those in need of food at this unprecedented time. “We have this great online network, where businesses can donate or sell their surplus food,” says Maria Verdicchio the Community Manager at FoodMesh, “so we created the Food Share pledge to encourage suppliers or any business with food, to donate if they can.” “We’ve heard stories from different organizations, how they’re pivoting the way they do business or having to close,” says Maria, “and some are able to adapt and offer their clients different options than they originally did, but some need a helping hand.” FoodMesh sees the need for help in redistribution and tracking for the Donor. That’s where the FoodMesh Marketplace helps get the food to people who need it. The FoodMesh Marketplace has about 130 different non-profit organizations and charities registered on the marketplace. They’re connecting different organizations and charities with businesses who have surplus food. “We’ve created the Food Share pledge for the month of April,” says Maria, “our goal is to collectively provide 10 thousand meals through our pledge for the month.”

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See how your business can help give back and take the Food Share pledge at: https://foodmesh.ca/take-the-pledge-2/. Businesses and charities must be registered to use the Marketplace. Please Register here.

Maria also encourages any one with questions to reach out to her via email or phone. Maria Verdicchio, maria@foodmesh.ca 604-816-4174

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At the end of the month FoodMesh will calculate and give each organization that donated a sustainability report that they can use for their CSR reporting and goals. There will be a winner announced at the end of this month. 

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“A lot of suppliers have a heavy workload right now,” says Maria. The marketplace place is an easy way for businesses to put their surplus to use and avoid sending edible food to compost or landfill. What happens if you see something you want but can’t take it all? The FoodMesh Marketplace encourages organizations to form groups that way they can split the amount of food if they can’t take the full amount being donated or sold.


industry stories

REDUCE ANXIETY -

EAT MORE 12

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

There is some evidence that chocolate has a natural calming effect a few hours after you eat it. As we deal with the drastic changes in life right now, you may be feeling anxious – can a chocolate bar really help calm us down?


story by sierra simpson, april 17 2020

Urge Chocolates is a Canadian artisan small batch chocolate & confections company, located in Burnaby, British Columbia. They offer a wide variety of handmade chocolates and gourmet bars, locally sourcing seasonal organic ingredients as much as possible and importing their chocolate through the Cocoa Horizons Sustainability Program. We spoke with Dirke Botsford, owner of Urges Chocolates to hear his thoughts on chocolate helping with anxiety and how he is managing during this unprecedent time.

“We have reduced staff hours and interactions. With new business opportunities we are strictly online or web conferences. Since we do not have a brick and mortar location this is much more achievable.” How can chocolate help with anxiety for people during this time? “Chocolate for many has been a guilty pleasure, calming and a treat. Chocolate contains Theobromine, which has diuretic, stimulant and relaxing effects. Theobromine can lower the blood pressure because it can dilate blood vessels. Chocolate contains a variety of chemicals some of which make us feel good by boosting our endorphins

How are you making your product available right now? “We have e-commerce. We are in the initial stages of reducing the cost of shipping by bundling. We are also looking for companies that have complimentary products that we can create care packages for customer to send to friends and families. Anything we can do to help reduce stress and make things achievable is our goal. We are encouraging startups to look local and think outside the box when it comes to creating new product. It may be a new world when we all come out of this.” 

To learn more about Urges Chocolates visit: www.urgechocolates.com

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What steps are you taking with the shift?

(those feel good hormones). Chocolate may also boost serotonin levels that help us to feel relaxed. Some forms contain caffeine, which give a boost of energy along with the calming effect. Incorporating some dark chocolate into your diet may also be helpful for easing anxiety. Dark chocolate contains flavonols, which are antioxidants that may benefit brain function. They do this by improving blood flow to the brain and promoting its ability to adapt to stressful situations. These effects may allow you to adjust better to the stressful situations that can lead to anxiety and other mood disorders.”

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How is COVID-19 affecting your company during this time? “Business has slowed tremendously on one hand but picked up in others. From a wholesale standpoint I believe the slowdown is attributed to customers watching their cash flow and worry about how long the pandemic will affect their business. While on the other hand, I see an increase in people looking at starting a business and starting to investigate what options are available to them. Like co-packing, creating new opportunities for themselves.”


industry stories

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

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BC COMPANY DONATES THEIR PLANT-BASED COMFORT FOOD TO SHELTERS During this time, companies are helping where they can. Boosh Food offers plant-based frozen meals that are ready in 3 minutes. Connie Marples, founder of Boosh Food is donating to hospitals as well as shelters through a community service to keep both front-line workers and some of our communities most vulnerable well-fed. Connie initially started donating to the Peach Arch hospital since she lives in White Rock and knows people who work there. Her efforts then spread to other hospitals that were happy to have her delicious comfort food donated for their health care workers to enjoy a quick, nutritious meal. “With everyone’s great efforts, there seems to be a ton of support getting food to front-line workers,” says Connie, “so we started looking at where there might be some gaps in the community.” While Connie is still donating to hospitals, she partnered with Options Community Services, Fraser Valley’s largest community services organization, allowing her to donate to safe houses, transitional homes, shelters and youth outreach programs. “We all have anxiousness around what’s going on, but for a lot of the people we work with, it’s a much more difficult time,” says Christine Mohr, CEO of Options. Connie wanted to reach the most vulnerable in the community and Options was the perfect outsource to help her support them. “There’s so much uncertainty out there and feeding those that need our help with a comforting nutritious meal is the least we can do.” says Connie. Connie is filling her coolers up with her Boosh meals and giving them to Options, who then deliver the food to the houses. The coolers are given back to Connie every week and she will refill them and keep a rotation like that for the next little while. Connie’s efforts inspire us to come together as a community and help where we can. We hope her story inspires you to stay hopeful and see where you can maybe lend a hand. To learn more about Boosh Foods visit: https://www.booshfood.com/ To learn more about Options Community Services visit: https://www.options.bc.ca/


story by sierra simpson, april 21st 2020

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“With everyone’s great efforts, there seems to be a ton of support getting food to front-line workers,” says Connie, “so we started looking at where there might be some gaps in the community.”

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industry stories

PEANUT BUTTER IS

THEIR JAM

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BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

Fatso Supports the Community One Jar and Sandwich at a Time


story by sierra simpson, april 22 2020

“Inch wide, mile deep” has been Jill Van Gyn, founder and CEO of Fatso Peanut Butter’s sales and retail strategy and it speaks to how they have saturated the community and embedded themselves in the food industry. “We’ve seen this as an opportunity for us to look around and see where we can help,” says Jill, “we looked into places in need of support and this initiative has kept us busy and allows us to connect to our community during this time.” Fatso has donated $47,000 worth of Fatso Peanut Butter to more than 14 community organizations including Mustard Seed, Greater Vancouver Food Banks, Our Place, Cool Aid Society, Victoria Native Friendship Centre, PEERS Victoria, Saint Vincent De Paul, Indigenous Harm Reduction Team and The Dandelion Society. Fatso also started their Safety Sandwich Program where they have been delivering 300 sandwiches a week to underserved organizations. They’ve teamed up with Salt Spring Kitchen Co. and Portifino Bakery on this project who have generously donated the jam and bread to make the sandwiches. “The real aim of this is to fill gaps in our community,” says Jill, “one of the things I noticed almost immediately was how overwhelmed nonprofits were

On top of all of that, Fatso has created an option for customers to donate a $5 jar of Fatso through their website that will be delivered directly to organizations working on the frontlines of the Covid 19 crisis. Fatso is in a good position to be well prepared for the shift in the world right now. The company launched on Amazon last year giving them the time to optimize their listing and understand how to increase brand awareness into the United States. For some businesses who haven’t gotten to that stage yet might be struggling with the drastic changes in grocery and how consumers are shopping.

Here’s some advice from Jill herself to growing and start-up companies: • Economic Efficiencies: Focus on your economic efficiencies and where you can plug holes. • Ecommerce Education: Even if you’re not able to pivot and launch into ecommerce, now is a good time for your brand to understand the ecommerce landscape and how it will play into your business in the future. • Understand shipping: Look into your shipping rates, the weight and dimensions of your product, how you’re going to ship, how to advertise to customers. • Social Media: Now is great opportunity to beef up your social media and partner with other brands! 

To learn more please visit https://eatfatso.com/ and stay engaged with all the giveaways and community support on the Fatso Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/eatfatso/

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Fatso Peanut Butter, Victoria BC food producer, leveraged the e-commerce platform Amazon long before the Covid 19 pandemic. Business is good, and so they are giving back to the community that supports them.

particularly around the food security issue.”

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We all see the large shift into online shopping and how brick and mortar stores have had to look at different ways to reach their consumer’s needs.


industry stories

PLASTICS COMPANY MOVING AT FULL SPEED DURING THE PANDEMIC The COVID-19 crisis has set new and unprecedented challenges for food handling and processing companies to handle. The sudden increase in demand as people flood grocery stores has put a significant and impactful strain on the shipping, packaging, and handling processes that operate in the background to fill grocery store shelves and supply stock. Canada’s food transportation and safety regulations have never been more important to maintain, as so many are more reliant than ever on the ability of companies to safely store and deliver food products. BARR is proud to be a part of supplying such an essential item; we continue to work hard to ensure that food transportation remains safe and sanitary in these uncertain times. The pictured shipment is an assortment of Saeplast D-Series and DX-Series cold storage containers. These containers are used to ship cold and frozen food items. The innovative lid design accepts a gasket to reduce liquid leakage, and all models come with at least one drain for liquid removal. All items in the series are a closed cell core design, which does not absorb liquid and optimizes hygiene in transportation situations. Bins are also kept to a meticulously maintained tare weight for easy weight verification. Temperatures within the boxes remain unaffected even though a truck may go through temperature changes. The blue colour is standard, but there are a number of other colours available as special order items; colour coordination is 18 sometimes used to separate frozen food items for further sanitation and safety purposes. BARR has been providing frozen food storage for many years, and we’ve recently been supplying orders from all over BC for these specialized containers; we have multiple companies running shipment trials using these containers as they work hard to fulfill orders from across the country. BARR’s admin and warehouse teams have been working hard to fulfill orders and keep up with demand as the need for safe food storage and shipment becomes more critical. 

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

For more about BARR visit their website: www.barrplastics.com/

Story by Chantel Homme, BARR


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industry stories

#the

FEED

NEED

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BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

BC Food Companies band together to Feed the Need


story by sierra simpson, april 29 2020 What a difference a week makes. On Thursday, April 23rd Feed the Need, a pop-up food donation drivethru at Neutron Factory Works head office in Delta took place. 24 pallets of food given by multiple BC food and beverage companies in a donated 50’ refrigerated truck helped feed 2000 families across 30 different community organizations. The Delta police and volunteers, including donors, packed and distributed the products. Social distancing and PPE measures we’re put in place to keep everyone safe. Just a week before, Rick Gibbs, Chair of BC Food & Beverage got a call from Jason Longden, CEO of Fine Choice Foods to discuss where they could donate a large volume of excess bulk products. This quickly became a movement to provide food to the

people in our community that need it the most. With less business due to Covid, this allowed the food and beverage companies to find their excess food a home and help local community organizations that are currently experiencing a drastic influx of families and individuals in need. “The last thing any person should be worrying about right now is where to get their next meal,” says Rick Gibbs. “When Jason called and asked how we could be doing more in the community to give people access to nutritious food, we had to get involved, so #FeedtheNeed was born. 

A total of 40,000 pounds of food was supplied from these BC companies stepping up to give. •Fine Choice Foods - https://www.finechoicefoods.com/ •Garden Protein - https://www.gardein.com/ •Big Mountain Foods - https://bigmountainfoods.com/ •Freybe Gourmet Foods - https://freybe.com/ •JustGo Smoothies - https://justgosmoothie.com/ •Fresh Direct Produce - https://www.freshdirectproduce.com/

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“This has been a great opportunity for our membership to give back,” says BC Food & Beverage CEO James Donaldson. “We are seeing more and more philanthropy amongst our industry to ensure that British Columbians who have had to sacrifice their jobs, pay cheques, and in some instances their entire businesses to flattening the curve, continue to be supported and fed.” Thank you - #FeedTheNeed

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industry stories

GOOD TO GROW CREATES OPPORTUNITY FOR MANUFACTURERS

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Good to Grow, a company that helps processors launch, grow and expand products and brands created BCLocalRoot.ca, an online grocery platform for local BC products. The initiative came to life as a rescue mission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with 3 key goals in mind:

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

• Help save BC food processors who have lost sales due to market channel slow-downs and restaurant closure. • Provide solutions for consumers to access food in a safe, reliable way during this pandemic. • Bring awareness to local food security and what that looks like for BC.


story by sierra simpson, may 4th 2020

A small team of women have started up and manage BCLocalRoot.ca. The online store currently has over 260 products available from 45 companies around the province. Andrea Gray-Grant, founder of Good to Grow and BCLocalRoot.ca, is deeply connected to local food manufacturers through her mentoring, coaching, workshops, and annual From the Ground Up Trade Show. She works with hundreds of BC food and beverage companies. “When COVID-19 hit Andrea started hearing firsthand accounts of what was happening to our local food businesses,” says Meghan Carter, Marketing Manager for Good to Grow and BCLocalRoot.ca, “we were told our manufacturers were losing 30-90% of their sales depending on what market channels they were in. That was really hard to hear.” Andrea and her team knew they needed to help. After seeing the different markets collapsing, they decided that bringing the companies together on an online grocery store was the safest and most effective way to get their products into the hands of consumers.

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We believe that BCLocalRoot.ca is able to address the challenges of our grocery system and that long term, the solution lies in Province-wide food security. As teachers and mentors to new and emerging food brands, it is a natural progression of services for us to offer BC food and beverage brands access to the market by selling their products on BCLocalRoot.ca. Meghan Carter, Good to Grow & BCLocalRoot.ca. Delivery is free to Metro Vancouver for a minimum purchase of $75. They also offer free pick-up at their North Vancouver office for a minimum of $50. The delivery and pick-up days are every Saturday with an order cut-off day on Wednesdays at midnight. Consumers can also add $5-$50 towards their purchase to give back to healthcare and frontline workers. The team at BCLocalRoot.ca will use these donations to put together food baskets to give back to the community. There’s a spot on the site where people can mail in a story of a person that they would like to nominate to receive a basket for all their hard work. 

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Will BCLocalRoot.ca continue after COVID-19?

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To learn more and shop all the amazing local products visit: www.bclocalroot.ca


industry stories

ORGANIKA GIVES BACK

ONE COOKIE AT A TIME

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

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story by sierra simpson, may 11th 2020

BC Food & Beverage, we’re proud to continue to provide to such a great organization like Quest,” says Aaron. Organika also has a cookie promo to benefit even more people. “Since people are home more, stuck in a routine, and health for some is potentially suffering” says Aaron, “the promo allows consumers to buy 6 cookies for the price of 3, we will send 3 to a friend.” All proceeds of this initiative are going to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Not only do you get to send your friend a surprise you get to help give to the GVFB as well. “It’s important for us to give back right now as this community has given us so much,” says Aaron, “for us it’s more than just selling products, it’s about making an impact and making sure the community thrives together.” 

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Brothers Aaron and Jordan Chin, CEO and President respectively of Organika, which specializes in natural health solutions, understand leadership is about taking action and giving back. The brothers stepped out of the factory to hand deliver more than 18,000 of their new FAV Collagen Cookies to frontline workers. The brothers delivered the cookies to workplaces all over Metro Vancouver. ”We personally know people who are nurses, doctors, as well as the police force,” says Aaron, “we thought what better way than to give them a healthy snack while they’re working so hard to keep us all healthy and safe. The donation lined up perfectly with the launch of the new cookies - these frontline heroes got the first taste of the goodies. “My brother and I delivered them ourselves, we didn’t want to put any of our team members at risk and we wanted to personally get involved to build relationships with the community and organizations.” But it doesn’t end there. Through the Bee Strong Frontline Campaign, Organika is also giving those on the frontline an opportunity to receive a free bottle of their Bee Propolis. This anti-inflammatory product helps boost immunity and relieves sore throat. Organika has also donated about $50,000 worth of product to the Quest Food Exchange, a not-forprofit organization that gives access to affordable and healthy foods to those facing food security. “We we’re introduced to Quest Food Exchange through


industry stories

EMKAO FOODS' SWEET GESTURE

BC FOOD & BEVERAGE

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Have you got an essential service worker in your life who deserves a treat this month? Emkao Foods, a small chocolate manufacturer in Mission, has put together the I KARE KAO Campaign to gift frontline workers with baskets of treats. This initiative also helps support local small business as the baskets are made up from BC companies that make delicious treats. The campaign was created by Ayissi Nyemba, CEO of Emkao Foods, a social impact company which imports ethical cacao beans from her family farm in Cameroon, Equatorial Africa to the BC market. The company is devoted to education, research and the dissemination of quality information about cacao and chocolate. “I have friends and family that work in hospitals, and decided that this campaign was something I could do to show our appreciation,” says Ayissi, “the goal is to show the community that they can always count on me and my company to do something to help. Even if it’s a small contribution.” For the month of May, Ayissi will be delivering a basket of goodies to hospitals and senior homes each week. “We have gifted baskets to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital,” says Ayissi, “next week we will be delivering to the Misson Memorial Hospital.” The community can help show their appreciation by donating to the campaign, and can also sponsor a healthcare worker through the I KARE KAO Campaign. They can do so by making a donation and giving the persons information to Ayissi so she can make up a basket for that specific healthcare worker. She plans to collect product throughout May to make a minimum of 100 baskets to give to 100 healthcare workers. The end goal is to raise $10,000 to make a total of 1000 baskets to gift to our healthcare heroes. These companies have either provided their product at a discount or donated them so that contributions can go much further. 


story by sierra simpson, may 13th 2020

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Justea - https://justea.com/ Wild Sweets - https://www.dcduby.com/ Cocomama - https://www.coconama.com/ Emmalina’s Cookie Factory - https://emmalinascookies.weebly.com/ Daniel Chocolates - https://danielchocolates.com/ Thomas Hass - https://www.thomashaas.com/ Joyful Choices - https://joyfulchoicessnacks.com/ Schoccolatta Chocolates - https://schoccolatta.com/ Winemaker’s Cut - https://winemakerscut.ca/ Susgrainable - https://www.susgrainable.com/ Smart Sweets - https://smartsweets.ca/ Ladner Artisan Chocolates - https://ladnerchocolates.com/ Ross Chocolates - https://rosschocolates.ca/

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To learn more please visit: https://www.wayblaze.com/fundable_projects/provide-a-sweet-gesture-ofsupport-for-our-healthcare-workers/

SPECIAL EDITION 2020, COVID STORIES

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