The Pack Heavy Podcast
48. Combining a big dream with a big leap of faith, with Todd & Melinda Kopet from Alkeme Foods

48. Combining a big dream with a big leap of faith, with Todd & Melinda Kopet from Alkeme Foods

October 21, 2021

Founded in 2019 and located in Rossland, BC Alkeme Foods is the realised manifestation of two dreamers and doers - Todd and Melinda Kopet. 

Their Gluten Free Sourdough Bread takes centre stage within their bakery, featuring a crisp, rich crust and a taste that balances the fresh, earthy, sweet flavours of their GF grains with some light lactic and acidic flavours from the fermentation. Made using certified or tested gluten free flours, their bread is processed in a dedicated gluten free facility and baked-to-order in small batches.

Their delicious bread and other baked products are available online via their website and in 36 retail locations around BC.  

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On this episode Todd and Melinda share their Alkeme story - beginning well prior to uprooting their lives from Seattle, WA after they began to take note of life around them. 

They noticed the abundance of quick, easy, cheap and disposable convenience. Together they made lists and notes, determined what they cared about and what they valued.

When the time was right in 2016 they took the leap of faith and moved away from the security of their corporate careers and city-lives with their two children, to a slow and quiet life nestled in the mountains of BC.

Fast forward to today and their life is anything but slow operating and tending to Alkeme Foods.  Most recently Alkeme was recognised as the gold winner of Outstanding Product of the Year at the “From the Ground Up” conference and trade show held in September by Andrea Gray-Grant and her team at Good to Grow.

Web: https://thisisalkeme.com/ 

Instagram : @thisisalkeme 

Contact:  hello@thisisalkeme.com 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our show sponsors

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Brad Bodnarchuk : ​​https://www.bradbodnarchuk.com/new-strategy-session 

Futurpreneur Canada : https://www.futurpreneur.ca

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

47. Planted Expo, the thriving plant based market and leadership with Stevan Mirkovich -  Owner and Chief Relational Officer at Planted

47. Planted Expo, the thriving plant based market and leadership with Stevan Mirkovich - Owner and Chief Relational Officer at Planted

October 15, 2021

Stevan is the CRO and owner of Planted Expo, a trade show, platform and network to connect Canadians to local vegan and plant-based businesses offering new, innovative and inspiring products, services and practices.

The Planted website is a great educational resource offering online courses and definitely make a point of checking out their chats section where you will find the latest from leading voices in the plant-based movement. 

Be sure to head along to one of their upcoming trade shows where you will find over 200 vegan edible and lifestyle businesses, as well as a great lineup of leading plant based speakers from around the world.

Trade show dates :

  • Vancouver - November 20-21, 2021
  • Toronto - March 26-27, 2022

For 15% off tickets use the promo code Pack Heavy at the checkout

Web: https://www.plantedlife.com/ 

Contact Stevan:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevanmirkovich/ 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our show sponsors

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Brad Bodnarchuk : ​​https://www.bradbodnarchuk.com/new-strategy-session 

Futurpreneur Canada : https://www.futurpreneur.ca

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

 

46. BC’s blue economy & seaweed cultivation with Bruce Wallinger - Food Sector Director & Board Member @ The Pacific Seaweed Industry Association

46. BC’s blue economy & seaweed cultivation with Bruce Wallinger - Food Sector Director & Board Member @ The Pacific Seaweed Industry Association

October 7, 2021

Bruce provides us with great insight into BC’s Blue Economy and the role that the emerging BC seaweed industry is playing by helping to solve some of the biggest challenges humanity is facing today; climate change, economic instability and food security.

Bruce and I touch on some exciting innovation currently underway in the seaweed and algae bioplastic space (a serious contender in the replacement of petroleum-based polymers in the future) and the impact that this will have on flexible plastic packaging and the CPG industry.

Seaweed is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient and is a fantastic dietary source of iodine, vitamin K, B, zinc and iron. With this taken into account, the potential to utilise seaweed as an ingredient in your food based products to create a unique flavour, point of differentiation, nutritional boost is definitely worth considering! 

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Bruce Wallinger serves as a food sector director and board member with the Pacific Seaweed Industry Association (PSIA). He is also a freelance business consultant working with natural and plant-based food entrepreneurs and companies. 

Prior to consultancy work, Bruce was the vice president at Orca Specialty Foods Limited, Canada’s leading value-added seafood processor. He also worked for Icicle Seafoods as a national sales & marketing manager for Canada.

Prior to working in the seafood industry, Bruce worked directly and extensively with BC First Nations communities and tribal associations as an advisor assisting with environmental impact assessments, community-based planning, and funding. 

Bruce earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in geography at UBC with continuing education at BCIT and Sauder School of Business.

Web: https://seaweedindustry.ca/  

Email:  bruce.wallinger@seaweedindustry.ca 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our show sponsors

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Brad Bodnarchuk : ​​https://www.bradbodnarchuk.com/new-strategy-session 

Futurpreneur Canada : https://www.futurpreneur.ca

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

 

45. CPG Brokers and industry networking with Kerry Somerset Williams - Pres @ the Food Executives Club of Vancouver & Snr KAM @ Brandseed Marketing

45. CPG Brokers and industry networking with Kerry Somerset Williams - Pres @ the Food Executives Club of Vancouver & Snr KAM @ Brandseed Marketing

September 30, 2021

Kerry provides us with a great explanation and insight into the value that a broker can bring to your business, and some context surrounding where a broker fits in relationship to the food brand / manufacturer, distributor and retailer dynamic.

Other key takeaways from the episode include some discussion on noteworthy market & industry shifts and trends, questions to ask a broker when qualifying them for your business, some insight into membership at the Food Executives Club of Vancouver and the strong network of industry professionals that frequent events and monthly luncheons.

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For over 60 years The Food Executive Club of Vancouver has served the vendor and retailer community in BC, connecting top executives from Canadian retail banners (so think Choices, Costco, HY Louie, London Drugs, Overwaitea, Quality Foods and T&T to name but a few) to members of the community who are primarily CGP sales and marketing executive AND people just like you - owner / operators who want to network and build relationships to help their business thrive in a competitive market.

It’s fair to say that The Food Executive Club of Vancouver has built one of the strongest industry communities in Canada and definitely worth looking into if you're determined to build face to face relationships. Kerry is currently the president of the organisation and thrilled to introduce the club to us during this episode.

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Founded in 2014 by President Jim Kavanagh, Brandseed Marketing has over 30 years experience in the grocery Industry ranging from in-store retail, category and brand management. The overall focus of BrandSeed Marketing is to add value to your company and become your brand's champion in the Canadian Market while assisting you, the manufacturer, in delivering your product, your goals and your ideas to your quiver of distributors and retailers.

https://www.fecov.com/

https://www.brandseedmarketing.ca/ 

Email:  kerrys@brandseedmarketing.ca 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our show sponsors

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Brad Bodnarchuk : ​​https://www.bradbodnarchuk.com/new-strategy-session 

Futurpreneur Canada : https://www.futurpreneur.ca

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

44. An innovative packaging approach, discipline and the four F’s with Mitch Jacobsen​ - Founder and CEO @ Rviita Inc.

44. An innovative packaging approach, discipline and the four F’s with Mitch Jacobsen​ - Founder and CEO @ Rviita Inc.

September 23, 2021

In one of our most open and easy flowing conversations to date, Mitch from Rviita generously takes the time to share with us his Rviita Inc. startup story.  

There’s a lot of gold packed into this episode however some key takeaways include the benefit and pleasure of working alongside his co-founding team members, some critical mistakes and lessons learned, the utilisation of small focus groups for early product and market testing, the critical nature of distribution partners, some key ingredients that translate to success in both life and business, the attention to detail required with package and label design AND the value and efficient nature of flexible packaging!

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Launched in 2018 and located in Calgary, AB - Mitch and his co-founding partners, Robert and Karly are pushing the boundaries of the energy drink market with their innovatively packaged and delicious energy teas. 

With 5 SKUs in the marketplace, Rviita Energy Tea is a ready-to-drink beverage consisting of a delicious blend of tea based caffeine, golden organic honey, fruit juice and vitamins all designed to give the consumer clean (no artificial colours or sweeteners) energy without the crash.

Rviita is available from coast to coast across Canada in 700+ retail locations (most major banners), and online at rviitalize.com, Amazon.ca, Well.ca and SPUD.ca

https://rviitalize.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mitch-jacobsen-p-eng-89277649/ 

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

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Please support this podcast by checking out our show sponsors:

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Brad Bodnarchuk : ​​https://www.bradbodnarchuk.com/new-strategy-session 

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

 

43. Competing on quality (not price), the challenge of a seasonal product and utilizing grants with Lola Adeyemi - Founder & Chief Souper Woman @ It’s Souper

43. Competing on quality (not price), the challenge of a seasonal product and utilizing grants with Lola Adeyemi - Founder & Chief Souper Woman @ It’s Souper

September 16, 2021

After immigrating to Canada from Nigeria to continue her education at University, Lola established herself in the IT consulting world before identifying a gap in the retail market with a lack of authentic, ready to eat African foods.

Lola and I cover the full spectrum of the It’s Souper startup story, including the challenge of selling what is typically considered a seasonal product, selling into her first retail locations and how she approaches competing against established brands.

Other key takeaways include the value of in store demos (now that they are back in play) and how she focused on brand building and marketing exercises when they weren’t an option.

Lola provides great insight into the grants that have been available to her and leveraged to assist in scaling her business - and what she considered the most critical components to focus on when working through the application process.

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Launched in 2018 and located in Toronto, Ontario Lola’s Afro-Fusion gourmet soup and sauce line was inspired by the fusion of cultures that exists in Canada, a yearning for authentic flavours from Africa, and a desire to share it with her community.

Their mission is to produce delicious tasting soups, meals, and sauces made with high quality ingredients and exotic flavours that meet the demands of today's diverse world, and ultimately to inspire a new found love for food.

Lola’s soups can be found in over 50+ retailers in and around the GTA and Quebec and online at itssouper.com 

For 10% off online orders use the promo code: PackH10

https://itssouper.com/ 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsor

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

 

42. Managing risk, scaling production and the transition from B2C to B2B marketing & sales with Lyndsay Scott - Founder & CEO of Kindred Cultures Inc.

42. Managing risk, scaling production and the transition from B2C to B2B marketing & sales with Lyndsay Scott - Founder & CEO of Kindred Cultures Inc.

September 10, 2021

Lyndsay joins us for a deep dive into the award winning and inspiring Kindred Cultures story which was primarily seeded by the necessity to find relief for her youngest son's health. 

With a previous career in the VC and Private Equity world, Lyndsay discusses her approach to managing risk while building the business, making decisions and the value of leveraging her network in the process.

We go into some detail on how the team scaled their production and the benefit of working with the UBC food science department to assist in shelf life testing, microbial analysis, and assistance with the formulation of recipes as they grow. 

Among many other things we also touch on the evolution and the story behind the KC brand, the seriously instagrammable colour pallet of their various SKUs, distribution network, approach to marketing and transition from B2C to B2B marketing & sales

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Founded in 2018 and located in Richmond, BC Kindred Cultures makes Infused Water Kefir beverages, using fresh raw natural ingredients to create a delicious and nutritious probiotic beverage. Their Infused Water Kefir is Vegan, uses only raw ingredients, and is low in calories and sugar (30 calories and 6g of sugar per bottle).

Currently producing 5 flavours and all available in 2 sizes, Kindred Cultures can be found online via Legends Haul, SPUD, & BC Local Root (to name but a few) and in over 100 retail display cases here on the Western side of Canada.

https://kindredcultures.ca/ 

https://ubcfarm.ubc.ca/feeding-growth/ 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsor

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

41. Applying proven tech startup methodologies when testing your CPG product with Jannine Rane & Anush Sachdeva - Co Founders of Zing

41. Applying proven tech startup methodologies when testing your CPG product with Jannine Rane & Anush Sachdeva - Co Founders of Zing

September 2, 2021

Jannine and Anush provide a complete snapshot of Zing, including some great insight into the startup methodologies that they are actively applying while developing their business.

Every Zing recipe goes through a structured Lean Startup Methodology / feedback loop of testing, reviewing and iterating in their test kitchen community. By leveraging this system they are building products with reduced risk, strong market fit and most importantly a pool of fans who are helping to drive early growth of the business. 

If you’re in the process of market testing new SKUs and are looking for some inspiration and insight - this episode is for you!

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Founded in 2020 and located in Toronto, Ontario the team at Zing are creating chef-crafted pantry shortcuts designed to help their consumers make quick, delicious meals at home, with recipes inspired from around the world. 

Their condiments and seasoning salts are produced in small batches and are all natural, gluten-free and hand crafted by professional chefs who have worked in restaurants throughout Toronto.

Zing ships across Canada and is available in-store at a select number of independent, small businesses.

https://cookwithzing.com/ 

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Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsor

FoodPak: https://www.foodpak.com/

Please leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com 

 

40. Getting your product and facility certified, knowing your consumer intimately and supporting women in business with Cathline James - Founder & CEO of Wise Bites

40. Getting your product and facility certified, knowing your consumer intimately and supporting women in business with Cathline James - Founder & CEO of Wise Bites

August 26, 2021

On this must listen episode, Cathline shares but a fraction of her life story with us and the pertinent pieces that led to the development and operation of Wise Bites.

Having successfully started and operated 5 unique businesses of her own, Cathline (also a mother of three) is a powerhouse of business knowledge and definitely a voice worthy of our attention. 

Most noteworthy was CJ Trade consulting, an international consulting company that Cathline built where her work included research, writing training modules and delivering training for Women Entrepreneurs in developing countries. Her clients included the United Nations, the International Labor Organization, the International Trade Organization, Women in International Networking (W.I.N.), the Private Sector and NGOs.

Cathline shared her approach to market testing, scaling production, management of cash flow and supply chain, distribution, marketing, sales and her grand vision for the future.

We go into some detail on the rigorous process required to become certified vegan, gluten free, nut-free, Kosher & non-GMO - the enormous amount of time, record keeping and costs associated, AND the rewarding value & credibility that it can bring to your business.

It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Cathline, and a privilege to have had an hour of her time to dig into the world of Wise Bites and business in general.

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Founded in 2012, Wise Bites is a family owned food manufacturer and distributor of certified vegan, gluten free, nut-free, Kosher & non-GMO baked goods that are produced in their own dedicated facility, located in Richmond, B.C. 

With a current collection of over 23 SKUs of various cookies, muffins & treats (all of which are proudly free of the top 11 allergens) Wise Bites can be found in all of the large retail banners right across Canada in the gluten free and health food section.

https://wise-bites.com/

Please show your support - leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

39. Leveraging grants, imperfect fruit and the luck in finding the yin to your yang with Isabelle Lam, Co-founder & COO at Remix Snacks

39. Leveraging grants, imperfect fruit and the luck in finding the yin to your yang with Isabelle Lam, Co-founder & COO at Remix Snacks

August 19, 2021

On this episode, Isabelle and I have a really fun conversation that covers the full gamut of the Remix startup story.

We discussed how leveraging grants assisted in the early growth of their operation, the decision to make an early pivot from producing trail mix to bark, their appearance on Dragons Den (Season 13, episode 12), the story behind the brand that they have built and why they keep close with their tight knit industry network. 

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Founded in 2018 Remix Snacks is a Montreal / Toronto based company committed to making simple, delicious and healthy snacks that are good for their consumers’ well-being and good for the environment. 

Bean Bark is the market’s first vegan chocolate bark made with beans instead of nuts; it's also high-fibre, high-iron and protein-rich. By using both plant-based protein, beans, and upcycled fruits in their products, they make chocolate healthier while also using ingredients that have less of an environmental impact.

Created by Isabelle and Jamie, and with the addition of their team's valued skill sets, Remix are certainly blazing their own trail in this very competitive CPG category. 

To receive free shipping on any Remix item use the promo code : PACKHEAVY

https://remixsnacks.ca/ 

Please show your support - leave a review, rate the show and if you have any questions or feedback I would love to hear from you : hayden@thepackheavypodcast.com

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