Vineet Jain, a food technologist with nearly 30 years of R&D, technical and operations experience in the baking industry, had his eureka moment when one of his kids challenged him to create a vegan muffin .
After much testing, mostly in his home kitchen, Jain, a vegetarian, found the right mix of ingredients to create the Nature’s Flair Foods line of muffins and cupcakes.
âWe are a vegetarian / vegan family and we saw the opportunity for our muffins and cupcakes when we couldn’t find nutrient-dense plant-based baked goods with superfoods on the shelves of traditional bakeries,â said Jain, President and CEO of Vision Foods Innovations, Inc., the maker of Nature’s Flair Foods. âWhen the 2020 pandemic began to affect families around the world, the importance of nourishing our bodies with naturally occurring ingredients that are good for the planet sparked the launch of Nature’s Flair. “
Nature’s Flair offers a variety of plant-based, vegan and school-friendly muffins and cupcakes made with superfood ingredients, such as broad beans and matpe beans, oats and turmeric. They are also free from artificial flavors and colors.
In May 2020, Jain and trusted friends / partners in the food business founded Vision Food Innovations. The team was determined to deliver healthy baked goods, but what types and ingredients?
To make sure they were meeting the needs of Canadians, a market study was done. The main conclusions were that the product should contain a health element, be readily available and affordable, as well as multiple flavors. The research convinced the Vision team to develop plant-based muffins and cupcakes with superfood ingredients.
At that time, Vision did not have any facilities or equipment. Jain ended up converting his basement in Brampton, Ontario, into an R&D facility for six months and working on the product line. He then hired an R&D technician to help him develop the product (s).
The Vision team was simultaneously looking for premises. Most of the options were either “expensive” or far away from team members’ residences.
âGetting a facility is always a challenge for the food industry because it has to be clean and the neighborhood has to be suitable for food manufacturing,â Jain explained.
While the search for a facility was underway, the factory’s equipment was stored in trailers near Jain’s house. In September 2020, the team finally found a 20,000 square foot facility in Georgetown, Ontario.
âIt was a warehouse that we transformed into offices. The plant has been designed in accordance with the requirements of the food industry, in particular to ensure compliance with food safety standards, âJain explained.
Installation was ready by January 2021. Equipment installation took another month, and by the end of March 2021, Vision was able to ship its first batch of commercial products. The facility has the capacity to deploy 600,000 units of clamshell muffins per month. It is free from the nine allergens of dairy products, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, sesame, sulphites and mustard. The facility has received BRC food safety certification. The products are also certified vegan and kosher.
Nature’s Flair products are available across Ontario and Quebec at Farm Boy, Vince’s Market, Commisso’s Fresh Foods, Greco’s, Coppa’s Fresh Market, Pusateri’s Fine Foods, Apple Factory, Galati and Loblaws. They will soon be available from Sobeys.
Nature’s Flair muffins come in six flavors: Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Carrot, Double Chocolate, Lemon Cranberry, and Spicy Pumpkin. Cupcake flavors include Golden Lemon, Chocolate Cocoa, Spiced Carrot, Very Berry, and Pumpkin Spice.
Vision Food clearly fills a gap in the market. It was named “Best Plant-Based Muffin & Cupcake Bakery in Canada” according to the 2021 Global Vegan Awards, organized by LUXlife. The awards showcase global companies and professionals who have made positive changes through a plant-based lifestyle.