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Eating up healthy profits

By Roger Pierce

No longer just a niche market, organic food is becoming a larger part of the mainstream food business.

"Consumers want healthier food choices," comments Salma Fotovat, co-owner of Viva Organics. "The benefits of organic food products are better understood by the public, so people are buying more."
Entrepreneurs Salma Fotovat (left) and Nooshin Sarlati are serving up healthy organic snacks through their distribution company called Viva Organics.

Fotovat and her business partner Nooshin Sarlati started

Viva Organics ( just last year using their personal savings. The company distributes organic and natural snack bars to fine food stores, spas, hospitals, and yoga and wellness centres.

Sarlati says people are buying organic food for three reasons: the health of their children, to avoid food allergies and to pursue a healthier lifestyle. The company has recently added organic aromatherapy products and other organic food items to their lineup.

Healthier eating is a growing trend, with the market for organic and natural food products in Canada increasing at an estimated 20% each year.

"We target the snack food portion of that market," Sarlati says, "which accounts for 5% of all natural and organic foods sold in this country."

Social conscience

Fotovat and Sarlati are proving it is possible to create a company with a social conscience. "We got into this business because we believe in healthy lifestyles and ecologically friendly products," Fotovat explains. "It's a great feeling to know we're earning a living by helping other people to enjoy healthier lives," she adds.

Like any new entrepreneurs, the partners have learned to develop patience and persistence. "You may not always get a 'yes' the first time you approach a new customer," Sarlati says. "We approached a store owner to carry our organic snack bars last August and they're just now placing an order."

Future plans for the duo include launching their own brand of organic food and aromatherapy products as well as expanding distribution across Canada and into the United States.

-- Entrepreneurship expert Roger Pierce trains people on how to start a small business in the Up & Running Biz Launch Program.

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