Every now and then we have to stop and ask ourselves, "am I eating bullshit?"
Over the last few months we have had the pleasure of expanding outside of Squamish and into the city of Vancouver through participating in the Vancouver Farmers Markets and other events. We’ve been focussing on collecting customer feedback on the product, and building a wonderful group of regular customers that support local businesses. As this audience grows and more people are consuming our product, we felt like it’s a good time to check back in with ‘Our Commitment’, which is listed on our website:
“We believe in a slower pace, one that doesn’t focus on the end result but instead the journey. This is our approach when designing and developing new recipes and products. We take our time, test, refine, get feedback, test again and so on.
Flavour and health are our top priorities. We won’t sacrifice either for convenience in the process or savings in costs. We make real food, the real way. If our kids can’t pronounce the ingredients, we aren’t using them.
Our cooking methods, which primarily involve humans and time, aren’t designed to pump out vast volumes of cheap and easy products and we’re okay with that, because the trickle down effect on health is substantive. We want a (healthy) planet to leave our kids, so we will strive to create products as ethically and environmentally conscious as possible.
There will undoubtedly be areas for improvement, there is no perfect road map, but the one thing we can guarantee is that we will be questioning ourselves every step of the way. In how we operate, our supply chain, the mechanisms used to get our products out there, the finishing touches and the list goes on.
We’ve proudly decided to make our products in Canada and it is with respect and gratitude, we operate on the shared unceded territory of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Lil̓wat7úl (Lil’wat) Nations. As immigrants to this beautiful country, we don’t take for granted the opportunity to have ourselves and our source of livelihood exist here. It’s a gift that we cherish deeply.”
“Questioning ourselves every step of the way,” is an essential part of a brand that aspires to be honest, transparent and demonstrate integrity. So we’ve decided to start with the basics, the building blocks - our ingredient list. We say that if our kids can’t pronounce the ingredients, we aren’t using them. Well guess what, our kids can’t say xanthan gum and we don’t need to be using it. Even though we use a very miniscule amount (to be honest with you we don’t even know why we bothered?!?) There are several different ways you can look at it, but at the end of the day, it is considered a food additive and we’re not interested in having any of that in our products. If we were to be watering down our sauces with water and or vinegar to lower our cost per unit, then yes, we’d be all over using xanthan gum to thicken our sauce and change its viscosity. We simply don’t believe in that though. We don’t use it in our own personal kitchen so it seems disingenuous to use it in our commercial product.
We really want to be a part of the movement that is attempting to close the gap between the food we buy and the food we make in our homes. They don’t have to be so different.
Societal pressures to earn have stretched us so thin that we’re left with barely any bandwidth to put into creating healthy meals for ourselves and our families. Big companies see this and use their good business acumen to try and fill this gap. Create food products that save time, money and are convenient, oh and let’s not forget are filled with a plethora of artificial and “natural flavours,” that fool our sensory system and get us hooked. The true cost, however, is in health. Both physically, from consuming heavily processed and modified food products and mentally, from a degeneration of the rich social fabric that comes from having community citizens that are active and passionate about the food they create and consume.
As parents, we are constantly trying to provide the best, most healthy option for our children without completely going financially backwards. Also, as small food manufacturers we want our kids to understand and know that behind every wrapper, bottle, box there is a story, and that story should be looked at closely, and with a critical lens. Balancing this can be a tricky act. It can start with something as simple as reading the ingredients list.By dropping xanthan gum, it feels like our product can be a more true, all natural version of itself. It may seem like a very small notion, and it probably is; but before and underneath every huge wave is a series of ripples and small waves that set the tone. We don’t have all of the answers on how to navigate the food industry and what’s set in front of us, but perhaps there is more significance to our simple daily consumer choices. In the meantime, we can always invite our friends and family over to cook something together outside and drizzle a bit of hot sauce on it. After all, it is a series of these participatory moments accompanied by fresh air that create a rich and meaningful existence. It’s also how we begin to stir some shit up in a world where so many of the food products sold to us have very little resemblance or connection to real food whatsoever. Complacency is the alternative. No thank you.