Food In Canada

Creating Organic Bytes of wholesome cakes serving body, mind and soul

November 4, 2021   by Nithya Caleb


Sisters Yasaman (Toronto) and Samira Haj-Shafiei (Calgary, Alta.) found themselves pursing a life-long dream 20 months ago: offering “wholesome cakes that serve the body, mind and soul”.

In the thick of the pandemic, they started Organic Bytes, a company that creates nutrient-dense, organic, vegan and gluten-, lactose- and dairy-free cakes.

“We started Organic Bytes during COVID-19 with a love for whole foods and a yearning for non-guilty cake options. Wellness has infused all aspects of our lives. However, we could not find an esthetically pleasing cake that checked all the boxes for health and flavour. Knowing the gap in the market, seeing how this is both of our passions and how we could operate it from both sides of the country, we decided to give it a go. So our joy for baking, dedication, problem-solving, design and making people feel amazing inside and out organically led to Organic Bytes,” explain the siblings.

The sisters

These sisters were raised in a community rooted not only in food traditions and shared values, but also in a world where quality and physical and mental health mattered. Their family believed in eating healthy and wholesome foods. Therefore, the sisters stay true to their mission of using only nutrient-rich and high-quality ingredients. For instance, instead of refined sugars, their natural sweeteners come from organic dates and monkfruits.

Six years older than Yasaman, Samira moved to Calgary nine years ago due to her husband’s job. Samira has a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Calgary. She went on maternity leave during the pandemic when her second child was born.

Yasaman, a graduate of Rotman School of Management, Toronto, has experience in the small business and start-up world. She and her husband, who is an acupuncturist, founded Jing well, a traditional medicine-inspired lifestyle and products brand. Yasaman also has expertise in brand strategy/social media.

Inspiration

These self-taught bakers with “deep knowledge of wholesome ingredients” take a lot of inspiration from their Persian ethnic background. The one ingredient that stands out is dates, considered a nourishing food in Islamic families, in some of their cake/frosting recipes.

“Eating organic and whole foods have always been rooted in our culture. Our cake creations came to life using ingredients like dates, and combining them with ingredients that we have grown to love on our wellness journeys, whether it be plant-based milks or cashew or almond flour. The ingredient combinations we have chosen are clean and nourishing, contributing to the overall wellness (both physical and mental) of people enjoying our cakes, as they not only get the benefits of a nutrient-dense cake, but they also feel good after eating it,” they shared.

Challenges

Organic raw ingredient suppliers was initially difficult to source. “We never want to cut any corners when it comes to the ingredients we use, so finding suppliers who support smaller MOQ’s, offer quality ingredients and practice sustainable methods was challenging. However, we were fortunate enough to find suppliers by networking, testing their offerings and sharing our story and mission to get the quantities we require,” they clarified.

Currently, Organic Bytes serves the Greater Toronto Area and Calgary. They promise to deliver within two days.

The sisters are planning to offer these cakes in other cities as well as launch dry goods and mixes.


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