Canadian Packaging

Alternative Meat Products Pioneer Serves Up A Hearty Feast For The Eyes With Bold Packaging Update

Sol Cuisine manufactured the first certified organic tofu in Canada and expanded to the United States in 2004.

August 20, 2019   Canadian Packaging

While it may seem like the onslaught of plant-based meat alternatives has arrived and exploded out of the blue just a little while back earlier this year, companies like Sol Cuisine Inc. have been patiently waiting for their proverbial moment in the sun far longer than today’s fast-growing ranks of plant-based protein converts may realize.

Founded by Dror Balshine in his home kitchen in 1996, the company started out by selling tofu and other vegetarian dishes to local Ontario restaurants and foodservice operators—quickly realizing the future potential of tapping into a unique and mostly untouched market at that time.

“Sol Cuisine was born out of my passion for both food and business,” explains Balshine.

“The business fit my personality and, as a vegetarian, it spoke to my mission to impact health, animal welfare and environmental issues at the same time.”.

Driven by a goal to produce delicious food options that were not only nutritionally dense, but also had great taste and gourmet quality, Sol Cuisine manufactured the first certified organic tofu in Canada and expanded to the United States in 2004.

While the product portfolio has changed over the years and now features a full range of plant-based burgers and plant-based entrées such as meatballs, falafel and chicken tenders, the goal has always been to provide choices for
consumers looking to reduce the amount of meat they consume, according to Balshine, with minimal processing and a clean ingredient panel.

With the fast–growing meat-free market attracting plenty of serious competition both in Canada and the U.S. lately, Sol Cuisine recently embarked on a comprehensive packaging upgrade for many of its key product lines to differentiate itself as a true industry pioneer.

Created by Toronto-based retail branding specialists Slingshot Inc., the new packaging features an updated company logo and exquisite food photography to showcase strong appetite appeal.

Designed to catch consumers’ attention amidst a sea of options in the frozen entrée space, the packaging truly reflects the quality and texture of the plant-based protein foods within, according to Balshine.

“The category is growing by leaps and bounds,” he says, “but at the end of the day it is our taste buds and our ability to read labels and seek out powerful ingredients that nourish our bodies that will be key to a brand’s survival, as Canadians continue to strive for healthier choices.”

Produced at a 35,000-square-foot production facility certified to the international SQF (Safe Quality Food) foood safety standards of the Global Food Safety initiative (GFSI), Sol Cuisine’s extensive line of plant-based burgers—packaged inside colorful, visually dazzling folding cartons supplied by Ontario-based paperboard producers Boehmer Box LP and Astro Box Corporation—are all 100-percent plant-based, Non-GMO Project-verified,
and Kosher– and Halal-certified.

Made with locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible, Sol Cuisine’s current plant-based burger line-up includes innovative blends and recipes that can be readily at major grocery chains, mass retailers and healthfood stores across Canada:

  • Sunflower Beet;
  • Extreme Griller;
  • Mushroom and Wild Rice;
  • Portobello Mushroom and Quinoa;
  • Lemon Dill Salm’n;
  • Spicy Black Bean;
  • Chickpea Sweet Potato;
  • Sprouted Quinoa Chia.

In addition to the frozen burger patties, Sol Cuisine also applied the new packaging design to the 300-gram resealable flexible stand-up pouches—manufactured by Poly Nova Corporation in Guelph, Ont.—to other innovative plant-based products such as meatballs, chicken fingers and fish fillets.

Timing-wise, Balshine says it was important to update the brand in time for the summer grilling season to highlight what was inside the packaging.

“We now have studies that say more than half of Canadians (53 per cent) are choosing to eat plant-based foods,” says Balshine, citing last year’s study on meat alternatives conducted by global market researchers Mintel Group.

“That’s an incredible number that far exceeds demand when we started out,” Balshine extols, also citing the recently-launched new Canada’s Food Guide as inspiration for the company’s continued product innovation aimed at the country’s vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian consumers.

As Balshine concludes, “We’ll continue to evolve and map out our mission to make nutrient-dense food that is accessible, available and delivers on taste for all Canadians.”

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