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University competition helped launch Ontario soy food business

YoSo Flamaglo foods

Brothers Erik and Francis Lo at their Cambridge, Ontario production facility. Photo courtesy of Francis Lo.

A growing Ontario soy food manufacturer can trace its roots back to an entry into a student competition at the University of Guelph 15 years ago.

Brothers Erik and Francis Lo entered a soy-based cream cheese alternative into the Project SOY contest in 1998 and although they didn’t win the competition, their company Flamaglo Foods is now recording annual sales of over $1 million.

Flamaglo, under the brand YoSo, sells dairy and gluten-free soy yogurts, gourmet spreads and dips using Ontario-grown soybeans. They’ve also started expanding outside of soy, introducing a line of coconut yogurts last summer.

Most of their products are found in the refrigerated organic or health food sections of major Canadian retail chains, as well as independent health food stores in Ontario and Quebec. Continue reading University competition helped launch Ontario soy food business

New label makes soybutter safe solution for peanut-free schools

A new approach to labelling a locally produced soybutter is making it easier to use in Ontario’s peanut-free schools.

The toasted soy spread looks and tastes so much like peanut butter that some schools weren’t allowing it, says Scott Mahon, President of WOWBUTTER Foods, a family-owned business in the Stratford area.

To address this challenge, the company has introduced a new peel-off label with individual “Made with WOWBUTTER” stickers underneath that can be applied to school lunch containers identifying their peanut-free status.

It’s a unique system that has just won WOWBUTTER Foods a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.

Continue reading New label makes soybutter safe solution for peanut-free schools

“Green” lubricant alternative now available in Canada

A new vegetable oil-based multi-purpose lubricant is now available for sale in Canada – with the potential to open up significant new markets for Canadian grain and oilseed farmers.

Smart Earth Corporation’s new Ecolube product was developed in Canada by Linneaus Plant Sciences Inc. as an environmentally friendly substitute for popular lubricant and penetrant products currently on the market for home and work use. Continue reading “Green” lubricant alternative now available in Canada

New campaign to boost soy food awareness

A recently established Canadian marketing council, led by Soy 20/20, hopes to raise awareness of Canadian soy food products with several new initiatives.

These include a new website, outreach efforts to dietitians and food industry professionals, and a market research study to gauge existing awareness and attitudes towards soy foods among Canadian dietitians.

The Canadian Soy Food Marketing Council, whose growing membership includes seed researchers and developers, seed companies, farmers, grain handlers, food and ingredient processors and soy food and beverage manufacturers, was founded last fall to help position the Canadian soybean industry as a global leader in soy food innovation. Continue reading New campaign to boost soy food awareness

An Ontario farmer’s direct marketing success story

Consumers, local food advocates and others ask me why more farmers don’t market their products – grains, meats, fruits and vegetables – directly to the end user.

Building that one-on-one relationship would help boost the availability of local food products, they argue, as well as protect farmers from fluctuating global commodity prices.

It’s not quite that simple and it’s not a solution that works for everyone, I usually reply, but there are some farmers who are quite successful with it.

Ontario soybean grower Harro Wehrmann is an example of one farmer who follows this model and does so very successfully. I interviewed him recently for a feature story in Ontario Grain Farmer – here’s how he’s found his niche growing and marketing organic soybeans directly to Mississauga food processor Sol Cuisine. Continue reading An Ontario farmer’s direct marketing success story