July 21, 2020
FAUX GETS REAL
At a recent Food Propel trip to San Francisco's Fancy Food Show, Julain Molnar was not surprised to learn the top three growth sectors in the North American food industry are plant based -- and that vegan cheese is #1. Founder of Fresh Start Fauxmage, an artisanal vegan cheese company, Molnar is making her mark in Atlantic Canada. “It's an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the P.E.I. Food Cluster,” she says. “And P.E.I. is an innovative place to start a business”.
Molnar launched a small one-woman operation in 2016, aware that most vegan cheese at the time was highly processed. She vowed to create the luxury and flavour of a premium cheese without fillers, and at a price that remains competitive in its niche. “I knew I could do better. My customers are my #1 priority. I only use the best raw, high-quality ingredients.”
Her company is experiencing rapid growth. Already featured in 40 niche shops in Atlantic Canada, she recently began providing fauxmage to 30 regional Sobeys stores, accessing a whole new market. "The transition is huge for us,” she says. “We're introducing a plant-based cheese alternative to more mainstream shoppers, as well as those who are vegetarian or following vegan diets." Her goal is to expand her distribution across North America within the next five years.
An early participant in Food Island Partnership's Food Xcel program, she was recently accepted into its Food Propel program with $30,000 in funding. That is helping her develop new marketing and packaging, as her fauxmage is produced at BioFoodTech's Charlottetown facility. She employs a full-time marketing/social media associate and four part-time production assistants. “BioFoodTech provides crucial production support, and I can’t quantify the value the Food Xcel and Food Propel programs have offered me as an entrepreneur. Together, the P.E.I. Food Cluster has contributed tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of advice.”
“Food Propel is like Food Excel on hyper drive,” Molnar explains. “The program is skillful at matching us with mentors tailored to our needs. Competitors are emerging in my niche, and I need to differentiate myself. My mentors help me utilize new opportunities to maximize my growth.”
By Magner Ink (www.magnerink.com). This is one in a series of articles on the P.E.I. Food Cluster.