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Luisella: Not a Nutty Business

Highlights

  • 50% ingredient cost savings 
  • A slam dunk success!

Situation

Patricia Di Chiara, a graduate from the entrepreneurial program at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, won a prize for her business plan for a new kind of chocolate spread. After reading an article about it, we reached out to her. The mother of two and recent émigré from Italy let us sample her product, which was delicious.

Months before, Patricia had sent her kids to school with Nutella on bread, as she would do in Italy, and got a letter back from the Principal. Naturally, she went looking for a replacement product, with no success. Bingo! The idea behind Luisella Chocolate Spread was born.

Patricia is also a chef, so with some experimentation, she whipped up a batch made with sunflower butter. Luisella is not only nut-free but also palm kernel oil-free, so it’s more nutritious and better for the environment. With a winning recipe in hand, Patricia set out to source ingredients. She first sourced ingredients through a food services distributor that the College used, which was expensive.

Solution

When The Greater Goods came on board, were able to source ingredients and reduce costs by approximately 50%. We source all the raw materials, negotiate pricing with the vendors, and forecast availability and pricing to safeguard production. 

We also helped with the formulation. Patricia was using real chocolate for the recipe, which tasted fantastic. But nut butter and chocolate have different types of fat, which tend to separate and cause blooming (a white colouration). So we brought in a food science consultant who solved that problem.

Next, we helped sort out manufacturing. Patricia had found her own manufacturer, but after a few conversations, the manufacturer admitted they were not willing to make the necessary
investments in their production line. Leveraging our network, we found a manufacturer who was a perfect fit and very cost-effective. 


 
For sales, we connected Patricia with an international broker to export, and are helping her to get ready for a big-box retailer in Canada & the US 

Results

Production has begun and sales are clipping along briskly. The ingredient supply chain is secure and costs are low. The manufacturer is performing swimmingly.

Case Study: Liva Foods – Sweet Success

Highlights

  • Sourcing the perfect ingredient
  • Developing show-stopping packaging
  • $2MM export contract
  • A home run success!

Situation

We met Lubiana in October 2018. She was in the concept phase with her new company, Liva Foods. Lubiana had her own health story, one result of which was that she should avoid refined sugar. A big sweet tooth, she still wanted to enjoy sweets, but didn’t want to feel guilty about it. Lubiana had a habit of snacking on dried dates, which are sweet but also full of vitamins and minerals—a wholesome snack. She started using dates rather than sugar in her baking at home, but wasn’t able to find ground-up dates at health and bulk food stores. So she bought them online.

Lubiana soon realized that there was an opportunity for date sugar in stores. It wasn’t being properly marketed—either as a baking ingredient or as a sweetener in drinks. She started Liva Foods and began building a product. The first problem was that all the samples of date sugar that Liva had managed to procure by that point had a distinct date taste. So Liva’s branding company reached out to The Greater Goods.

Solution: ingredients

The perfect date sugar was elusive—we weren’t able to find it even with our vast network of suppliers. In the end, we went to the Middle East and found it. It has great solvability, a pleasing subtle taste profile and great light colour. We shepherded the date sugar through the process of organic and GMO-free certification. Now it’s shipped to California, where it’s processed, and arrives at Liva’s Ontario packaging facility at 50% of the landed cost of inferior sugars.

Solution: branding

Liva’s branding agency characterized the sugar aisle as ‘boring’. Sugar is still packaged in plain white bags, with stevia in plain green bags. So the agency went in the opposite direction: they chose a colour that simply didn’t exist in the sugar section. We took that branding and went to a manufacturer that we know specializing in canisters—a container that’s as far away from a bag as you can get. This manufacturer has extreme knowledge, great pricing and the ability to grow—they were perfect for Liva.

Solution: sales

When the final product was just about ready, the first thing we did was go out and sign $2 million worth of deals with brokers in Europe, the U.S., Korea and Japan. It wasn’t hard. Can you tell there was a demand waiting to be satisfied?

Results

Liva Foods hired us on as their master sales broker. One month after cracking domestic sales, we have signed up six independent stores and secured approval from Whole Foods and Sobeys. The exports we signed deals on come into effect in six months’ time…and now we’re looking into Australia.

Not ones to rest on her laurels, Lubiana is now planning on introducing Liva date sugar sachets.