Cannibble Foodtech Ltd. (CSE:PLCN) Joins the CSE for a Virtual Market Open

The CSE warmly welcomed Cannibble Food-Tech Ltd. (CSE:PLCN) for a virtual Market Open on March 31, 2022.  

Cannibble is a food tech company that develops and manufactures food mix products that are enhanced with hemp seeds, hemp protein, CBD, and THC, where legal to do so. Cannibble has developed proprietary formulas for powder-based edibles that are subsequently enhanced with active cannabinoids, which are marketed under their brand name “The Pelicann.” 

CSE CEO Richard Carleton remarked, “We’ve been doing a lot of work in Israel over the past five years and have been extraordinarily impressed by the innovation in the cannabis space. We are excited and honoured that Cannibble brought their company to the public markets on the CSE.” 

Yoav Bar Joseph, CEO of Cannibble Food-Tech, added, “We are very honoured – this is a significant milestone for Cannibble, both as a company and as a team. We would like to thank our advisors, families, and friends who have been patient with us as we’ve been working on this listing over the past year!”

For more details about the CSE, including information on other Market Opens, please visit the CSE website or follow us on social media.

Blender Bites takes its delicious blend of nutrition and convenience across North America

As with many a budding food-focused entrepreneur before her, it all began in the kitchen for Chelsie Hodge.

Incorporating three smoothies into her daily diet had Hodge feeling sharp and energized. But on the flip side, preparing the healthy drinks with fresh ingredients took no small amount of time each day, and what did not get used ended up taking significant space in her refrigerator or being discarded.

Leveraging her experience as a business development officer at plant-based protein and sport nutrition powerhouse Vega, Hodge made it her mission to reformulate what it means to make a smoothie.

Her invention was a frozen “puck” containing everything required for a tasty, nutritious smoothie, save for a splash of water, soy milk or other dairy alternative. No fuss, no food waste, just a few seconds in the blender and the drink is ready to enjoy. 

Some four years later, Hodge’s clever creation is available in more than 850 grocery stores across Canada. And in September of last year, Blender Bites (CSE:BITE) became a publicly traded company, with founder Hodge at the helm as Chief Executive Officer. 

In Blender Bites’ first year, Hodge’s kitchen was the centre of production, her mother and aunts by her side to help make enough product to meet demand. 

While many makers of healthy foods look to specialty stores for distribution, Hodge saw the potential to go mainstream right out of the gate. 

Whole Foods Market and Fresh St. Market/IGA, two of Western Canada’s largest grocery store chains, were the first major retailers to embrace the pre-portioned smoothie. Safeway, Sobeys, Save-On-Foods and other leading grocery brands weren’t far behind.

“The freezer category was just dying for innovation,” Hodge explains. There’s this mindset amongst consumers that frozen is unhealthy and fresh is so much better. Education is needed to change people’s minds, as frozen actually has more nutrition most of the time because it is flash frozen.”

Blender Bites is innovative when it comes to packaging as well, by being minimal rather than fancy. This commitment to respecting the environment complements the nutritional profile of the product, which is certified organic, vegan and non-GMO. With gluten, dairy, soy and added sugars absent from the ingredient list, Blender Bites are perfect for consumers with food intolerances, too.

Today, Hodge says Blender Bites is growing “very rapidly” after launching into Costco in Eastern Canada with reformulated and rebranded products in three lines: green dtox, power berry and vita smoothie. The products are currently available at Costco locations in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. 

Just how rapidly the business is expanding became clear recently when the company announced a 990% year-on-year increase in purchase order volume for December 2021, to $495,000. Demand was strong all around, with orders also coming in from existing and new club stores carrying the brand, plus many of the Canadian retailers with Blender Bites already on their shelves. 

With a well-established, and growing, presence in Canada, Blender Bites has its sights set on the US market. It announced its first order from “the world’s leading club store chain” in December and expects more US club stores to begin carrying Blender Bites soon. Costco Wholesale warehouses in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma are the first of the chain’s US locations to carry the products. 

A direct-to-consumer platform for the US market is also in the works.

Hodge notes that another big opportunity for Blender Bites is in the food service industry, which includes restaurants, cafes and hotels where smoothie drinks are popular but time-consuming to prepare.

“They just don’t have the people to sit there and chop up the fruits and vegetables or take ingredients and make a recipe for a smoothie,” says Hodge. “Blender Bites is a solution that could be extremely lucrative.”

Financially, the company is getting stronger as well. It raised just under $3.9 million as part of its go-public transaction last September. The shares are also listed on the Frankfurt exchange and the company is eyeing a listing on the OTC market in the US.

For 2022, Blender Bites is targeting between $6 million and $7.5 million in annual revenue as big name retailers embrace its products. 

“We’ve got accounts like Kroger and Albertsons and Wegmans and Walmart and Target on our list for retail for the US and we are focusing on the bigger accounts,” Hodge says. 

“Public companies like to acquire other brands and as soon as I’ve built up the team a little more, I think we’d have the capacity to look at that down the road. It is in the plans for the company, for sure.”

For the current year, though, the Blender Bites CEO plans to remain focused on further market penetration and expansion into food service, retail and club stores. 

“We’ve come a long way in a short time and when I think about our products being enjoyed by people right across North America, I’m really proud of our team,” says Hodge. “But there is so much opportunity to expand market share and penetrate huge new sales channels that I feel we’re really only just getting started.”

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Blender Bites at https://blenderbites.com/.

Plant Veda Foods: With its plant-based dairy products flying off shelves, this conscientious company’s business outlook is soaring too

Armed with a master’s degree in computer science from California’s Northwestern Polytechnic University, Sunny Gurnani was working for tech giants like eBay. He was poised for a career in technology in Silicon Valley, but keen business sense and a kind heart led him to co-found a plant-based dairy company instead.

Since its launch in 2019, Vancouver-based Plant Veda (CSE:MILK) has developed award-winning plant-based dairy alternatives. The firm’s cashew milk, dairy-free coffee creamers, lassi (drinkable yogurts) and PlantGurt cashew yogurts have landed on shelves in more than 200 stores, with demand outstripping supply.

The engineer-turned-entrepreneur reveals that he and his wife committed to the vegan lifestyle epitomized by Plant Veda a decade ago.

“My wife was expecting our first child and we had gone to a vegan restaurant in California. It had flashcards that described the way cows in the dairy industry were treated,” says Gurnani, Plant Veda’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“For cows to produce milk, they have to give birth, so the cows are constantly impregnated. When the calves are born, they are taken away from their mothers. Male calves are often killed straight after being born. My wife and I were expecting our first child – it was horrifying to see the animal cruelty.”

Unsettled, Gurnani drilled deep into articles and documentaries on the dairy industry. Haunted by footage of animal cruelty, Gurnani, who was vegetarian in India, turned vegan and has since abstained from animal products like dairy and eggs.

“I studied vegan diets and their nutritional value, and around a year before this information my father had died due to his heart condition. I felt such regret as my father could have reversed his heart disease by shifting to a whole food, plant-based diet,” says Gurnani.

In 2012, Gurnani wanted to start his own company in the US, but his H-1B visa immigrant status had him tied in the knots. Legally, the couple couldn’t launch a start-up in the US, so they built a certified organic plant-based dairy company called Go-Vegan, and later Nutriva, in India, while holding down jobs in California. Go Vegan preceded Plant Veda and made soy milk, ice cream and tofu.

“By day I was an engineer in Silicon Valley and at night I was running a plant-based dairy in India. My wife got a permit and was running a vegan food truck in California, where she started selling her plant-based lassis and yogurts.”

Tired of waiting for US Green Cards, the enterprising couple immigrated to Canada with their business blueprint for Plant Veda.

“We wanted to do well by doing good. A plant-based business is ethical, good for the planet and has several health benefits,” says Gurnani.

“We decided to move to Vancouver and registered for Canada’s largest vegan and vegetarian show, the Veg Expo, even before reaching Canada. At Veg Expo on May 5, 2019, we launched Plant Veda’s drinkable yogurt cashew lassi in five different flavours.”

Plant Veda’s breakthrough creamy lassi, a traditional yogurt drink cherished in South Asia, was the right product at the right place. It won the Veg Expo Product of the Year award in 2019 and the Clean Choice Award from Clean Eating Magazine in 2021.

To be a heavy hitter in the $900 million specialty beverage market, Plant Veda has positioned itself as a “healthier, wholesome and sustainable” plant-based dairy company.

“We don’t use artificial flavours. Our mango lassi is made with cashew yogurt and chunks of whole alphonso mango. Our lassi contains a special blend of 10 billion probiotics,” says Gurnani.

Plant Veda’s lassi line of drinkable yogurts has five flavours: mango, blueberry, strawberry, saffron cardamom and turmeric ginger.

Plant Veda Co-Founder Vanita Gurnani, Director of Product Innovation, says that working out how to emulate the texture, taste and appearance of the plant-based products took patience and good ingredients.

“I was born and raised in Anand in Gujarat, which is the dairy capital of India. I grew up loving dairy products so after becoming vegan I was missing all these things. When we started Plant Veda it was very important to get the right taste and texture,” says Vanita.

“We also wanted our products to be healthy and that’s why we always use wholesome ingredients such as Canadian maple and agave to lightly sweeten our products. There are no artificial sugars, high-fructose corn syrup or oils in our products. They are wholesome, tasty and healthy.”

The Plant Veda Innovation Centre is a 25,000 square foot facility on Annacis Island in Delta, British Columbia. It’s a springboard for new product development and large-scale production. The ongoing Phase 1 upgrade will bring annual yogurt production to 2.5 million litres, up from 100,000 litres.

In a nutshell, the Delta facility will propel the production of  $10 million worth of products a year, according to the company. By 2022, Plant Veda says that with “minimal additional upgrades” the facility will be churning out 15 million litres of product. The expansion could catapult Plant Veda’s annual revenue to $60 million in a few years, according to the company’s growth blueprint.

In addition, the Delta facility will be a plant-based go-to-market hub for innovation, production and distribution.

“We’ve invested considerable capital and effort to convert the facility to a fully plant-based innovation centre with designs, upgrades, equipment and processes best suited for plant-based beverage R&D and production,” says Plant Veda President Michael Yang.

Yang says Plant Veda is developing “strategic partnerships with technology vendors” that could also make the Innovation Centre a co-manufacturing facility in Canada.

Dairy is a $490 billion dollar market globally, and the alternative dairy sector is tipped to grow to over $52 billion by 2028 – a 156% leap from $22 billion today, according to Grand View Research.

Ultimately, the popularity of Plant Veda’s lassi catapulted the firm’s products into Whole Foods.

“We are growing our store presence and are in over 200 stores with more chains stocking Plant Veda products in Western Canada with UNFI, Pro Organics and Sysco as our distribution partners,” says Plant Veda Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer Mayur Sajnani.

“We will expand our presence and expect strong growth in revenue in 2022 as we list our PlantGurt probiotic yogurt line in stores,” Sajnani adds.

The PlantGurt product line was launched in November 2021 in three flavours: plain unsweetened, mango and blueberry.

One tub of PlantGurt yogurt contains billions of probiotics. The recent boom in probiotic products reflects an effort to re-introduce bacteria believed to promote good health. The global probiotics market size is expected to reach $95.25 billion by 2028, according to Grand View Research.

After establishing itself in Canada, it is coming time for Plant Veda to go full-circle and move into the US market. “As we expand geographically to the US from Canada, we are going to see explosive growth and are working on setting up a distribution centre with a third party in the US,” says Sajnani. 

This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.

Learn more about Plant Veda Foods at https://www.plantveda.com/

Colin Lynch on the Black Opportunity Fund | The CSE Podcast Ep17-S2

CSE’s Barrington Miller is joined by Colin Lynch, Managing Director at TD Asset Management, to discuss the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF), a registered charity that provides access to capital and capacity to Black entrepreneurs. The conversation addresses barriers to accessing capital in Canada, COVID-19’s impact, and steps to obtaining a grant or loan through BOF.

Here’s an overview of what Barrington and Colin discuss in this edition of the “Exchange for Entrepreneurs” podcast:

00:00 – Introduction and background
02:05 – What is the Black Opportunity Fund?
05:10 – How to apply for funding
09:00 – Requirements and repayment process
13:16 – Social media links and website information

About Colin Lynch
In 2020, Colin was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, an annual recognition of the exceptional achievements of 40 outstanding Canadians under the age of 40. Top 40 has recognized more than 800 outstanding Canadians and is the country’s most coveted award for young business leaders. He is also a recipient of the Queen’s University Toronto Branch Award, which is presented to Toronto-area alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers, in their volunteer work, in the arts, or in other ways they have contributed to society. In 2021, Colin was named a Trustee Emeritus of Queen’s University in recognition of his exemplary service to Queen’s University and its Board of Trustees.

Learn more about the Black Opportunity Fund at https://blackopportunityfund.ca/ 

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SWMBRD Sports Inc. (CSE:SWIM) Joins the CSE for a Virtual Market Open

The CSE warmly welcomed SWMBRD Sports Inc. (CSE:SWIM) for a virtual Market Open on March 16, 2022. 

SWMBRD Sports is a British Columbia-based sporting goods company focused on developing, manufacturing, marketing, and selling aquatic sports products in the sporting goods and outdoor recreation industries. Their main asset is the 100% ownership of the SWMBRD aquatic sports board and multiple variants thereof, along with designs covering numerous related accessories.

CEO Justin Schroenn and other members of the amazing SWMBRD Sports team kicked off the day’s trading at the virtual Market Open. 

CSE CEO Richard Carleton remarked, “We are pleased to welcome SWMBRD Sports to the Canadian Securities Exchange as they introduce the world – and capital markets – to the SWMBRD product and the sport of swimboarding.”

Schroenn noted, “The product and the brand that we’re launching is an entirely new thing. We started to realize that there was a market for a small board that anyone could own that really empowered you in the water.” Schroenn continues, “We are privileged to be among the companies listed on the CSE – the process has been great, and the whole team has been so welcoming.”

For more details about the CSE, including information on other Market Opens, please visit the CSE website or follow us on social media.

Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine: The Future of Food Issue – Now Live!

Welcome to the latest issue of Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine, your source for in-depth stories of entrepreneurs from a wealth of different industries.

Plant proteins and meat alternatives have enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over the last few years. In this issue of Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine, we’re thrilled to share stories of visionary entrepreneurs in this sector.

We highlight six CSE-listed plant-based food companies who are not only having a significant impact on the answer to that age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” they’re also pioneering new solutions in a marketplace that’s hungry for innovation and helping tackle climate change through environmentally-conscious products and technology.

The CSE-listed companies featured in this issue include:

Check out The Future of Food Issue of Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine here:

Albert Labs International Corp. (CSE:ABRT) Joins the CSE for a Virtual Market Open

The CSE warmly welcomed Albert Labs International Corp. (CSE:ABRT) for a virtual Market Open on March 10, 2022.

Albert Labs is a research and drug development company addressing mental health care needs. Through a succinct clinical pathway, focusing on Real World Evidence (RWE), Albert Labs looks to commercialize its psychedelic-based treatments, and in doing so, deliver psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to patients sooner.

CEO Dr. Michael Raymont and other members of the Albert Labs team kicked off the day’s trading at the virtual Market Open. 

CSE CEO Richard Carleton noted, “Albert Labs represents another addition to the CSE’s growing stable of companies participating in the psychedelic market space. We look forward to working with the company as they pursue their research for psychedelic treatments that address critical mental health conditions.”

Dr. Raymont added, “We felt it was appropriate to get in front of the public to explain to investors and to the general public that this [work] is a real solution to an extremely serious problem. We really look forward to being a part of the CSE.”

For more details about the CSE, including information on other Market Opens, please visit the CSE website or follow us on social media.

Chelsie Hodge & Arinn Ryan on Entrepreneurial Spirit | The CSE Podcast Ep16-S2 (IWD 2022)

CSE’s Barrington Miller is joined by Chelsie Hodge, Founder and CEO, and Arinn Ryan, Director of Marketing at Blender Bites (CSE:BITE), for a special International Women’s Day episode. The group discusses nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, and the journey they took to bring their business to market. The conversation also addresses overcoming challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs in the capital markets.

Here’s an overview of what Barrington, Chelsie, and Arinn discuss in this edition of the “Exchange for Entrepreneurs” podcast:

00:00 – Background and introduction
02:35 – Arinn Ryan’s journey
04:10 – Chelsie Hodge’s journey
06:40 – Arinn’s decision to join Blender Bites
09:00 – Overcoming CEO hurdles
11:30 – Blender Bites’ special announcement
12:40 – The pros and cons of social media
17:00 – Where to find Blender Bites on social media
18:45 – Supporting other women entrepreneurs
20:05 – Advice to Chelsie’s and Arinn’s younger selves

About Chelsie Hodge
Chelsie brings a unique skill set to the table with over a decade of working experience in the high-growth plant-based consumer packaged goods sector along with over fifteen years in capital market. Chelsie has held Sales and Business Development positions with industry disruptors such as VEGA along with Investor Relations roles for a variety of public company sectors.

About Arinn Ryan
Arinn is an experienced marketing and communications professional with a strong background in retail-focused marketing activations and influencer relations. A people connector by nature, Arinn strives to cultivate meaningful networks and relations and aspire to do work that moves people.

About Blender Bites Ltd.
Blender Bites is a Canadian company involved in the development and marketing of a line of premium frozen food products with a focus on functionality. Blender Bites was founded in 2016 and sell a pre-portioned “easy smoothie” product that is free of any unnecessary inner plastic packaging. Blender Bites products are organic, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. They contain no added sugars and are made in Canada. Blender Bites products are distributed nationally across Canada and are currently sold in over 800 stores, including Sobeys, Safeway, Save on Foods, Whole Foods Market, Buy-Low/Nesters, IGA, and Fresh Street, with a launch planned into the United States marketplace. Blender Bites anticipates expanding its plant-based footprint in North America through organic growth of the existing brand and through new acquisitions.

Learn more about Blender Bites Ltd. at https://thecse.com/en/listings/diversified-industries/blender-bites-limited

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Erica Williams on Overcoming CEO Hurdles | The CSE Podcast Ep15-S2 (IWD 2022)

CSE’s Barrington Miller is joined by Erica Williams, Founder and CEO of The Yumy Candy Company (CSE:TYUM), for a special International Women’s Day episode to discuss being a woman entrepreneur in the capital markets, including seeking opportunities, overcoming hurdles, and finding and providing support. The conversation also addresses brand marketing via social media.

Here’s an overview of what Barrington and Erica discuss in this edition of the “Exchange for Entrepreneurs” podcast:

00:00 – Background and introduction
02:30 – The creation of The Yumy Candy Company
06:30 – Marketing your brand with social media
09:30 – Dealing with social media negativity
12:20 – What advice would you give to your younger self?
13:30 – Tackling hurdles related to your position
16:05 – Team and culture
18:20 – Supporting other women entrepreneurs
19:20 – Childhood role models
21:55 – Social media links and other information

About Erica Williams
Erica is a serial entrepreneur and has a longstanding passion for health and wellness. She has always been a candy lover but couldn’t find a healthier option that was also affordable. Her health journey began years ago when she developed an unhealthy relationship with food and realized to live a healthier lifestyle, education was key. Erica undertook studies in Kinesiology at the University of Fraser Valley and even furthered her knowledge with personal training and nutritional certification. During her studies, Erica competed in fitness competitions across Canada and created a consistent, healthier lifestyle and positive attitude towards foods. The Yumy Candy Company Inc. is founded on the “Feel Good” philosophy Erica now follows in her day-to-day. From her experience with coaching clients, the number one thing on everyone’s agenda was searching for low-sugar, plant-based snack options.

About The Yumy Candy Company Inc.
The Yumy Candy Company is an affordable health-conscious low-sugar plant-based confectionery company based in Vancouver, British Columbia and it has developed a portfolio of healthier gelatine-free candies made from Non-GMO ingredients with proprietary recipes. All of its products are free of gelatin, soy, gluten, nuts, dairy, eggs, sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, and genetically modified organisms.

Learn more about The Yumy Candy Company Inc. at https://thecse.com/en/listings/diversified-industries/the-yumy-candy-company-inc

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Labrador Uranium Inc. (CSE:LUR) Joins the CSE for a Virtual Market Open

The CSE warmly welcomed Labrador Uranium Inc. (CSE:LUR) for a virtual Market Open on March 3, 2022.  

Labrador Uranium is engaged in the exploration and development of uranium projects in Labrador, Canada. They have acquired the Moran Lake and CMB Projects covering over 139,000 ha in the prolific Central Mineral Belt (CMB) in central Labrador and the Notakwanon Project in northern Labrador. 

Remarked CSE CEO Richard Carleton, “mining is solidly in the lead this year at the CSE on account of tremendous investor interest. It is fantastic seeing opportunities like Labrador Uranium who are pursuing the minerals necessary for the generation of clean energy in the near future.”

Added Stephen Keith, CEO of Labrador Uranium, “I’m really pleased to be working with the CSE who have been a great group to work with. We do have something exciting here and are thrilled to take it to the next level!”

For more details about the CSE, including information on other Market Opens, please visit the CSE website or follow us on social media.