Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 44
Giraffe Foods Inc.
"We use real ingredients and often times it's better than
home cooked food," Alari says. "For example, we have a
very big kettle that we use to cook our delicious caramel dip
used at a nationwide quick service chain. It's so delicious
because it sits in the kettle and cooks for hours, allowing all
the buttery cooked notes to develop, whereas at home or a
restaurant, who has the time to stand over a stove stirring
To keep consumers aware of the ingredients used in
its products, the company lists every component on the
packaging of its prepared foods. "We know that people
are scared to look at ingredient lists because they may not
know what some of the ingredients are," Alari says. "However, we use real ingredients that are safe and that people
use all the time."
A Family of 'Foodies'
Giraffe Foods is family-owned and operated. When Ellen
Powell married her husband and joined the company, she
brought more than 10 years of food industry experience as a
product developer and certified food scientist.
"It made sense that I join the family business," she says.
"By that point, I had worked in product development in
small, medium and multi-national food companies, so I had
enough under my belt to be solely responsible for the R & D
department, then only myself at the time.
"As we grew, I added team members and now we have a
large team of food scientists and chefs creating our products," she continues. "I transitioned into technical sales &
marketing, working alongside my husband and calling on
customers together. My in-laws retired in 2005 and they are
now enjoying the fruits of their labor."
She notes that Giraffe Food is a "great family success story," adding that her mother-in-law is Persian and father-inlaw is British.
"After they married, they moved to Canada, entered the
restaurant business and then distribution and manufacturing," she explains. "They could have been content with having a small restaurant, but they saw an opportunity to grow
Growth through Innovation
It is Giraffe Foods's founders' entrepreneurship that differentiates the company further from the competition. "We are
innovative and flexible," Ellen Powell says. "If we see an
opportunity for growth that our customers can benefit from
and can grow our business, we'll take it. Our introduction
of a new, flexible, eco-friendly packaging for a large retail
customer proved to be exactly what they needed to boost
stagnant sales of an existing item that had previously been
sold in a traditional glass bottle.
"Their existing packaging proved difficult for the customer to remove all of the product completely and this was
frustrating," she continues. "We switched them into our new
stand-up, flexible spouted pouch, and the product flew off
the shelves as sales exceeded all expectations."
Ari Powell describes how this solution has worked for
many retail customers seeking a more eco-friendly package with an eye on reducing consumer waste for a smaller carbon footprint. "The trend towards reducing landfill
waste continues as companies are more socially and ecologically conscious," he explains. "The pouch option is becoming more popular because when empty, it compresses
into a very thin film that doesn't take up much space in a
landfill at all.
"It also has a very low carbon footprint in transport as one
truckload of flattened, empty pouches is equivalent to shipping up to 25 truckloads of rigid, air-filled bottles or jars,"
Powell concludes. "As we look ahead, we will continue to be
innovative and keep our customers first."
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com