Food In Canada

Vision creates a line of plant-based baked goods with superfood ingredients

November 18, 2021   by Nithya Caleb


Vineet Jain, a food technologist with nearly 30 years of experience in R&D, technical and operations in the baking industry, had his eureka moment when one of his children challenged him to create a vegan muffin.

After many trials, mostly in his home kitchen, Jain, a vegetarian, found the right mix of ingredients to create the Nature’s Flair Foods line of muffins and cupcakes.

“We’re a vegetarian/vegan family, and we saw the opportunity for our muffins and cupcakes when we couldn’t find plant-based, nutrient-rich baked goods with superfoods on traditional bakery shelves,” said Jain, president and CEO of Vision Foods Innovations, Inc., the manufacturer of Nature’s Flair Foods. “When the 2020 pandemic started to impact families around the world, the importance of feeding our bodies with naturally sourced ingredients that are good for the planet sparked the launch of Nature’s Flair.”

Nature’s Flair offers a variety of plant-based, vegan and school-friendly muffins and cupcakes made with superfood ingredients, such as fava and matpe beans, oats and turmeric. They are also free from artificial flavours and colours.

In May 2020, Jain along with some trusted friends/partners in the food sector founded Vision Food Innovations. The team was determined to offer healthy baked goods, but what types and what ingredients?

To ensure they were addressing the needs of Canadians, a market research was conducted. The key findings were the product must contain a health component, be readily available and affordable as well as have several flavours. The research convinced the Vision team to develop plant-based muffins and cupcakes with superfood ingredients.

Challenges

At that time, Vision didn’t have a facility or equipment. Jain ended up converting his basement in Brampton, Ont., into an R&D facility for six months, and working on the product line. He then hired an R&D technician to help develop the product(s).

The Vision team was simultaneously looking for a facility. Most of the options were either “expensive” or far away from the team members’ residences.

“Getting a facility is always challenging for the food industry because it has to be clean and the neighbourhood must be suitable for food manufacturing,” explained Jain.

While the search for a facility was ongoing, the plant equipment was stored in trailers near Jain’s home. In September 2020, the team finally found a 20,000-sf facility in Georgetown, Ont.

“It was a warehouse that we converted into offices. The plant was designed per food industry requirements, especially to ensure compliance with food safety standards,” explained Jain.

The facility was ready in January 2021. Equipment installation took another month, and in the end of March 2021, Vision was able to ship their first batch of commercial products. The facility has the capacity to roll out 600,000 clamshell units of muffins monthly. It is free from the nine allergens of dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, sesame, sulphites and mustard. The facility has received BRC food safety certification. Products are also Vegan Certified and Kosher Certified.

Nature’s Flair products are available across Ontario and Quebec at Farm Boy, Vince’s Market, Commisso’s Fresh Foods, Greco’s, Coppa’s Fresh Market, Pusateri’s Fine Foods, Apple Factory, Galati and Loblaws. They will soon be available at Sobeys.

Nature’s Flair muffins come in six flavours: Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Carrot, Double Chocolate, Lemon Cranberry and Pumpkin Spice. Cupcake flavours include Golden Lemon, Chocolate Cocoa, Spiced Carrot, Very Berry, and Pumpkin Spice.

Vision Food clearly is filling a gap in the market. It was named the ‘Best plant-based muffins and cupcakes bakery in Canada,’ according to the Global Vegan Awards 2021, hosted by LUXlife. The awards showcase global businesses and professionals who have brought about positive change through a plant-based lifestyle.


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