In the 1950s and 1960s families gathered for healthy well-balanced meals, however, with the innovation of fast food in the 1970s the family dinner became portable and many of the nutrients and minerals were left at the wayside.
With instances of obesity on the rise as well as a host of diet-related illnesses, a plant-based food movement began to emerge in the last decade, with an emphasis on ingredients that are grown from the earth and are easy for people to pronounce.
While incorporating a plant-based diet is an obvious health choice, busy families can find it challenging to develop plant-based recipes the whole family will enjoy.
That is where Boosh Plant-Based Brands fits in. With a line of six heat ’n eat frozen entrees the Vancouver-based company is hoping to introduce North America to a more plant-based food lifestyle one serving at a time.
“I don’t see this, the plant-based movement being a fad,” said Jim Pakulis, CEO of Boosh Plant-Based Brands told Proactive. “I see it being a long-term adjustment to people's diets. I think it is being driven by the Millennials, the Gen Xers the Gen Ys, they care about what they put in their bodies, they care about the animal world, and they also care about our planet, and by going to a more plant-based diet you are literally and figuratively saving yourself and saving the world.”
Launched in 2017, the plant-based nutritional comfort foods company was born with a simple goal, to offer quick meal options that are 100% plant-based.
The company’s initial six products include Veggie Bolognaise featuring Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Crumbles; Coconut Curry Cauli; Mexican Fiesta; and Mac & Cheeze & Peas.
There are also two larger portion heat and serve entrées for two: Rustic Veggie Pot Pie; and the award-winning Hearty Sheppard’s Pie featuring Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Crumbles.
All the non-dairy, no animal product offerings are served in completely compostable containers and are designed to offer nutritional goodness that is fast and reliable.
Currently sold by more than 350 grocers across Canada, the feel-good meal company recently began efforts to expand into the US market, where there are more than 40,000 grocery stores.
“We are really happy about selling within North America,” said Pakulis, when asked if the company plans to enter the European sector. “15,000 grocery stores in Canada, roughly 40,000 grocery stores in the United States, we’re only in 375. The wind is at our back right now, we have a lot of momentum. I think we will stick around here for a while.”
A North American brand with a singular focus
Those tailwinds are growing, as the company launches its new Chill-Line of three plant-based refrigerated products. Mushroom Gravy, Chili, and Sloppy Joes will usher in the company’s latest foray into the next section of the grocery store.
“When you look at the grocery store you have four basic quadrants; you have the frozen, refrigerated, shelf-stable, and then the produce,” said the Boosh CEO. “Our goal is to be in three of the four sections. Obviously, we are in the freezer section with our six beautiful entrees, we are now with our three (new) entrees getting into the refrigerated section, and then we are hoping by mid Fall to go ahead and have our shelf-stable products in that section of the grocery store.”
Each of the new plant-based food offerings has a unique QR code on the pack, consumers can scan with their smartphone to access recipes incorporating the product.
As Pakulis explained, the addition of the recipes is an important factor that is intended to make consumers feel more comfortable and confident using the products in their own kitchens.
“We have to make sure we roll out products that the consumers will eat in masses, we don’t want just a one-off, where very few people eat it; They love it, but few people eat it,” he said. “We want to make sure we grab as much attention as possible.”
In order to help the public see the benefits of adopting a more plant-based diet Boosh is in the process of remodeling an 8,500 square foot multi-use facility it leased in December 2020.
Once complete the space will include a multi-media studio kitchen incorporating a commercial grade camera and supporting equipment, as well as state-of-the-art lighting and broadcasting equipment to produce both pre-recorded and live content to be distributed through social media platforms.
The studio space will allow the company to bring its plant-based message directly to consumers’ kitchens or living rooms, a crucial step for a company that wants to assert itself as more than a food company.
“I think it's important because of what we are creating, a lifestyle,” said Pakulis, who admitted he was eating more plant-based meals since joining the company and feeling the added health benefits.
“We don’t just want to sell a product and make money, we really, truly want people to enjoy and get healthy with plant-based meals,” he added.
In addition to featuring Boosh’s growing line of plant-based products, the company plans to invite other plant-based food companies and chefs to its commercial kitchen to showcase their recipes, ideas, and passions.
However, the CEO remains realistic in his expectations, noting that the company wants to help consumers; “not necessarily become vegan, because very few people realistically become vegan, but more flexitarian, trying to have one, two, or three plant-based meals a week.”
“We want to be the introduction for consumers to come into our plant-based world,” he concluded.
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