Soul Bite Food Inc.

Soul Bite Food Inc. is a social enterprise that produces delicious vegan dishes from traditional recipes based out of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Their line of award-winning vegan comfort food is designed for retail and service. Why vegan comfort food? We wanted to enrich British Columbia’s tastes with our recipes. Our cabbage roll recipe is over a hundred years old. We couldn’t afford meat in the Balkans, where I’m from, so we learned everything you need to create tasty food doesn’t need meat. That’s why we call it ‘originally vegan’. There are 4 products now – cabbage rolls, stuffed eggplant, mushroom in phyllo pastry, and smoked eggplant with walnut in phyllo pastry.

In 2016, six volunteers joined together to take action on hunger and food waste around the world. The initiative’s goal was to give families an opportunity to take their minds off food insecurity and help protect the environment. Immigrating from Serbia, we were so moved by the gracious welcome we received arriving in B.C. that we wanted to find a way to give back to the community. In Serbia, we had minimal food, and so when we came to B.C, we were shocked by the scale of food waste we saw. It began in a single school, once a week. We began using our own cars and gas, financing it all ourselves. It became too expensive, so our group started to look for ways to fund the effort, which led us to develop Soul Bite Food Inc. as a social enterprise, donating 50% of revenue to charities fighting hunger, including Immigrant Link Centre Society (ILCS). Since then, ILCS has grown to 25 locations with nutritious food delivered seven days a week to more than 3500 people per month. We also prevent 1600 tons of CO2 emissions. ILCS collects and re-distributes over $5 million worth of food annually. 

After becoming a social enterprise, we went to Vancity to receive support in creating a business plan. Vancity generously paid for us to receive help from Good to Grow to learn how to grow their business, which led us to pivot from selling pickles and jam to the deli and frozen foods we now sell.

Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?

Answer: Our ingredients and packaging are mostly local and are BuyBC certified. We try to source locally wherever we can. Our produce is all locally grown unless the supply is running low. Our rice comes from India since it’s not grown here, but we purchase from a local supplier. We get our soy from Vegan Supply, and the ingredients in our products range from 80-90% local ingredients – mushrooms, eggplant, cabbage, etc.

We support local service providers whenever we can. For legal, we work with Cadman Law, our accounting company is local, we use a Surrey-based insurance broker, and we now use Horizon Distributors in Burnaby to do sales for us to grocery stores.

You can find us in several small, locally-owned grocery stores, such as Choices MarketsStong’s MarketPomme Natural MarketFresh St., and more! We have our full list of vendors listed on our website.

Question: What social and environmental practices are you proud of?

Answer: We work hard to minimize and avoid food waste. For instance, when we make cabbage rolls, we use the big leaves, and then the small leaves we can donate through our charity, so there is no food waste. Any excess food we have, we donate to other local charities. We are also creating a cartoon to teach kids about food waste reduction! Our box packaging is biodegradable. With vegan, plant-based foods, we are also lowering our carbon footprint that way. Vegan food is 10 times less impactful on the environment than meat.

Being a social enterprise, we are committed to donating 50% of our profit to charity. Soul Bite Food won the 2021 Community Impact Award from B.C. Food and Beverage and was a finalist for the Small Business BC 2021 Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award. We’re very proud of this because these are people’s choice awards.

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