Life Food

Canadian Cool Foods website puts focus on homemade, homegrown products

Emily Stobbe-Wiebe

Canadian Cool Foods creator Marnie Scott shows off some of the Canadian-made groceries she hopes to bring attention to through her website. She asks that people contact her if they have other products to add to the list.(SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Canadian Cool Foods creator Marnie Scott shows off some of the Canadian-made groceries she hopes to bring attention to through her website. She asks that people contact her if they have other products to add to the list.(SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Have you ever wondered how you can eat more locally? The new website created by Marnie Scott called www.canadiancoolfoods.com can help you do just that by linking you to products and companies that create food which is classified as 98 per cent or higher Canadian ingredients and labour.

Scott’s family was originally from the Roland area and has agricultural roots. Although she now works in the aerospace sector, agriculture is close to Scott’s heart since she knows how integral it is to the Canadian economy.

The idea to build a website featuring all-Canadian food dawned on Scott slowly, beginning first with the realization that grocery store shelves were slowly being emptied of Canadian content.

“I saw more and more products coming in replacing Canadian products on the shelves, and more of our products not being processed but rather being exported and then being processed and coming back as a finished good,” she said. “I started to think about things that maybe we need to know a little more about what is Canadian and try to support value added in Canada.”

Her travels around the world made Scott consider once again what was in her food.

“When I came home, it made me really appreciate Canada and make me think a lot more about the origins of the food I was eating,” she said.

Building a database

Soon, Scott was calling companies across Canada, building her database of all-Canadian food.

“I went through the grocery stores and found some Products of Canada on the shelf, and from that I started calling companies,” she said. “I just got so much support from so many people I sort of knew I was on the right track.”

After over two years of work, the website is now online and free for anyone to use with no advertisements.

“It was much better to make everything free,” Scott said. “That way, small companies are treated exactly the same as the big companies. They have the same amount of space, the same amount of exposure, and that was really what I was trying to achieve.”

In order to make the website free, Scott donates much of her time to the project as well as paying a web designer to make sure the website is running smoothly.

Scott hopes that her website will be helpful for everyone in Canada, whether for academic research, personal shopping, or for companies looking to find Canadian ingredients to help keep their own products Canadian.

“I am finding a lot of companies are thankful that it is up and running because they want to add new ingredients and they want to find Canadian ingredients and they have had a really hard time finding them because there are so many different places they can look,” she said. “Now they can go to this site.”

A household goal

Scott’s goals are to make her website a household name.

“My plan is to do anything I can and everything I can to make Canadian Cool Foods a go-to website.”

Her plan to do this is by increasing exposure through the local media.

“I think by using local media, the local media can also be asking the public ‘Do you know of any other companies that we should have on the site?”’ said Scott.

Scott hopes that people will get in touch with her and tell her about more companies and products that are making all-Canadian foods to add to her website.

“It’s not easy finding the companies,” she said. “So, if people can tell me, that’s fantastic.”

The website currently has 2255 products from 320 companies in 818 separate grocery categories.

Two local examples of companies listed on the Canadian Cool Foods website are the Notre Dame Creamery and Rede-Made Noodles in Winkler.

Notre Dame butter

The Notre Dame Creamery has been a family business since 1964 and recently sold to Bothwell Cheese in October 2016.

Guy Roch, President and board member at the company, said it is because the butter made at the Notre Dame Creamery is locally made that they get a lot of their business.

“Most places we sell butter to they like to buy and push for local products,” he said. “So basically, they like our product because it’s local.”

Abe Fehr, co-owner of Rede-Made Noodles, also said that local food is important to his business.

“We are thankful for people supporting our locally made products,” he said. “The more aware people are about what is made, it makes you realize how many different products there are made right in Southern Manitoba, even in Alberta and Saskatchewan, you know, close to home. Not everything is just imported from China or overseas. There’s a lot of great products . . . that are made right here.”

Fehr is proud of his company, which makes handmade noodles and perogies ‘just like grandma used to make.’

“What we are trying to do is make noodles and perogies and make them as close to if you or grandma would be making it at home, like that kind of quality taste and texture . . . unlike other perogies that are just pumped out of a machine by the millions and they don’t really have a lot of good flavour and quality,” he said. “Ours are still handmade. The perogies are hand-pinched with quality locally sourced ingredients wherever we can.”

Fehr thinks websites like canadiancoolfoods.com are great initiatives.

“They are a great way to promote locally made products and locally produced items,” he said.

For more information about Canadian Cool Foods visit www.canadiancoolfoods.com or email her at contact@canadiancoolfoods.com.

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ewiebe@postmedia.com