Blissful Belly Whole Food Co. | blissfulbelly.ca
Victoria is passionate about whole food nutrition education and access (food security.) She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who has spent decades in public nutrition education. She is thrilled that the Canada Food Guide now promotes whole food, plant-based eating. Victoria developed her passion for baking in her grandma’s kitchen. When her vegan daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease (the only treatment at present is to eat a strict gluten-free diet) she developed some easy gluten-free, plant-based “just-add-water” baking mixes that turned out to be a delicious hit not only for her family but friends too. Victoria continued to create and develop more unique “just-add-water’ recipes to meet the emerging and unmet market demand. She has launched 5 products, and has done R&D for another 5 baking mixes, as well as two other potential product lines. Her personal capacity for meeting new challenges has always been strong, however planning and growing a food-based business has been one hurdle after another, more than she ever imagined. When she outgrew her own capacity to produce the mixes for the farmers market in 2017, she sought out a co-packer, one that could accommodate a gluten-free (celiac safe) production. There was only one option in the Okanagan and they’ve worked with Victoria to expand production as needed. (Unfortunately this Okanagan company is discontinuing their dry mix production at the end of Dec, 2020.) This leaves her with yet another hurdle – considering how she could procure funds to lease space and equipment and hire employees to do small batch production locally. Or, is it just too much to even consider, leaving her presently pondering if she should throw in the towel. Victoria used her own finances for for the initial customer research and the first year of business, and then generous friends helped out with loans. She is at a point in her business development that requires access to funding. The SSFPA has been of assistance in connecting her with other food producers. The SSFPA forum is an invaluable resource of sharing and support. As an increasing number of people are recognizing the health benefits as well as the environmental crisis response of eating plant-based, and as increasing numbers of people are diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance, Victoria has plans to expand Blissful Belly Whole Food Co.’s capacity – but only if funding becomes available. If SSFPA can assist in finding funding, she can employ others, creating jobs in this time of lost income for many.