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Homemade: An inside look at six Canadian food manufacturers

This article by Karon Liu appeared in the Globe and Mail on September 25, 2014 Holy Crap mention in Globe and Mail Holy Crap Cereal EMPLOYEES: 17 full-time

SHIPS TO: 21 countries SALES: $25-million to date

LOCATION: Gibsons, B.C.

"Holy crap, that’s good,” a customer exclaimed after tasting a breakfast cereal concocted by Corin Mullins.

Four years ago, Mullins and her husband, Brian, were selling their crunchy blend at a farmers’ market in Sechelt, B.C. Now, they are posting nearly $25-million in sales and are in talks to create custom blends for luxury hotels. The eye-catching moniker helped the company stand out in crowded supermarket aisles, but so did Corin’s cereal mix, with its limited list of ingredients: chia seeds, buckwheat, hemp seeds, raisins, dried cranberries and apples, and cinnamon. Corin designed the recipe to address her husband’s dietary restrictions but ended up tapping into the current multibillion-dollar obsession with all things gluten-free.

Bolstered by the Vancouver Olympics—where thousands of international visitors tried the cereal at their Granville Island market stall—an appearance on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and a nod from Chris Hadfield (he had the cereal with him on the International Space Station),

Holy Crap quickly became a serious contender on the breakfast table. “When people ask who our competitors are, I’d say McDonald’s,” says Brian. “What we’re talking about is getting people switching from a meat-based breakfast to a plant-based breakfast.”

While business is growing (they’re coming out with new blends like blueberry-vanilla and dark chocolate, as well as cereal bars), the couple intends to keep everything in Canada—from production, in the town of Gibsons, on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, to the sourcing of grains.

“Everything is done here at home,” says Corin. “Everyone in the company eats it, their families eat it, they’re proud of what they make.”

 

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