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Foodie Family: Carving out a space for yourself abroad

Entrepreneur’s corner | January 18 2022

A young family business located in the Sud-Ouest borough of Montréal has already put in place the processes to export its products. In response to interest received from certain markets, Foodie Family plans to sell their spice crayons in the United States and Asia, among other markets, as early as this year.

Approximately half of Foodie Family’s sales come from their website (the rest come from specialty grocers), which is why the discovery of their products and brand, Food Crayon, has quickly spread around the globe. According to the founder Nadia Lahrichi: “Without any solicitation on our part, people from Singapore have contacted us to offer to sell our spices there. This led to the opening of a warehouse to stock our products, which we produce in Montréal, and a partner on site to sell them locally.’’

Orders have even come in from as far away as India, Thailand and Hong Kong, after discovering the products from articles and features on Foodie Family.

Adjusting to specific markets

These products consist of spice crayons that produce shavings (120 per crayon) through sharpening, and that add flavor to dishes. They offer a selection roughly dozen flavours: Raspberry & Balsamic, Carrot Orange Ginger, Honey & Mustard, Spicy Mango, Balsamic & Figs, Tangerine & Cinnamon, Miso, Banana Rum, Ghost Pepper, and more.

We are here to help them find a balance between the needs of the business and its ability to meet those needs.

However, Foodie Family is not planning to simply export its current assortment of spices to other countries. It is already working to develop specific flavours and products adapted to each of its territories. “A cultural specificity of some Asian countries is that people rarely eat at home. They go to restaurants, eat lunch in the park, etc. In order to adapt to these markets, our partner has created small boxes that they can bring along to spice up meals that are eaten outside of the home.”

Collateral effects of exporting

The experts at PME MTL provide assistance to the entrepreneur in her exporting endeavours from both an administrative perspective (forms to fill out, legal authorizations, etc.) and in finding potential collaborators.

According to Anne-Laure Boutouiller, Business Advisor at PME MTL Grand Sud-Ouest: “Exporting requires a solid plan that covers all aspects. In light of this, our role is to conduct exploratory discussions and encourage strategic reflection to ensure that the Foodie Family team knows where they are going. We don’t give them the answers, and we never force them to make any changes, but rather, we help them to focus on the real issues.”

Without this crucial call, we would have missed out on that support because we had not filled out the required paperwork.

For example, developing foreign markets requires additional human and material resources. PME MTL is there to provide support for this eight-person business through this phase. Anne-Laure Boutouiller explains: “We have been working with Foodie Family from the beginning. In fact, we helped them find their current location and their first employees. This time around, we are here to help them find a balance between the needs of the business and its ability to meet those needs.”

It is thanks to this type of 360º support that PME MTL quickly became the go-to resource for Nadia Lahrichi in terms of making business decisions. She admits that she has developed a habit of calling her Advisor quite frequently for advice, or simply for validation. This is a testament to the trust and the solid relationship that has been forged over time.

Tangible support to help the business progress

She goes on: “PME MTL is by far the organization that has helped us the most since we first opened. Their experts are constantly encouraging us to take the next step in our plans. Their contribution is tangible, because it enables us to deploy specific projects. In addition, PME MTL has experts in all aspects of business, from intellectual property to logistics. Their door is always open, they are always accessible, and I never hesitate to seek their advice.”

With no advertising on our part, people in Singapore have contacted us to sell our spices.

She adds that the relationship is reciprocal, giving a recent example. “A few months ago, an Advisor called to remind us of an upcoming deadline for government funding. Without this crucial call, we would have missed out on that support because we had not filled out the required paperwork on time.”


Foodie Family is supported by PME MTL Grand Sud-Ouest

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