Good Food For Good

I am thrilled to introduce a social enterprise whose approach to nutrition and sharing totally needs a space here.

The origins of a social entreprise

Having worked for the conventional food industry for many years, Richa Gupta started to feel increasingly frustrated by the poor quality of food sold in the market. Food that is very high in calories and poor in nutrients. Food that is “made of ingredients” instead of being the ingredient. In fact, westerners have never had so much food in terms of calories intake and paradoxically, so less nutrients.

Richa questioned the status quo, only to find out that selling better, qualitative food wasn’t at all a priority for decision-makers in the food industry. Tired of working for products she didn’t believe in, she left and created her own company, GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD in 2013.

A reminder of what food is

She lived through again as she started making fresh, locally-sourced, organic, vegan, and gluten-free sauces inspired by Indian and Mexican cuisine. These sauces can turn any preparation into a sophisticated and delicious meal. Her “ketchup” sweetened with dates is also an astute alternative to sugar-bombs regular ketchup.

Richa also blends delicious turmeric teas. They nicely provide a daily intake of this highly beneficial root in our diet. Turmeric is a great anti-oxidant, thus helping cancer survivors heal. But, as Richa explained to me, people are also increasingly interested in turmeric as a preventive approach to diseases. For more information on its benefits, you can read this interesting post Turmeric, the golden root.

As her own CEO, she regularly had to make tough decisions that implied choosing between quality or easier profits. She never compromised on the quality of her products, regardless of people’s advice. For instance, she fiercely resisted adding preservatives to her sauces, and tests revealed that they actually didn’t need them.

Good news! We can now buy Richa’s products in many stores in Toronto. You can find the list here . Even my Longos sells her Ketchup.  Good job, the Bro’s.

 

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Richa (2nd from left) and her team at Toronto Vegan Fest (08/13/2016)

Food that fights hunger

Feeding Canadians with real, nutritive food, was not enough for the entrepreneur. Fascinated by the One for One example of TOMS’ shoes, she decided that a percentage of each purchase would be donated to charities in India. This amount offers a meal to a child in need in India. For these kids, the perspective of being fed a meal is an incentive to go to school. And because hunger is not a reality in India only, GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD also partners with Food Banks Canada. I read on their website that a daunting 13% of Canadians live in a state of food insecurity, meaning they have no access to safe and nutritious food in sufficient quantities.

Lastly, if Richa is so inspiring to me, it is because like too many of my friends today, she used to be dissatisfied and unhappy with her job but decided that things could be different. It takes a lot of courage. And, as she humbly recalls, a lot of support too. But where there is passion, there is a way. That’s what she told me over a big batch of turmeric tea one day.

b.good

Does fast food have to be synonymous with poor-quality raw materials, health issues and high environmental costs?

For best friends Anthony and Jon, the answer to that question is a clear No, the No that led to the creation of b.good in 2004. They tell the story of how Anthony’s uncle used to feed them excellent meals when they were kids and how later they combined a love for fast food and qualitative food in… b.good!

How is it better than traditional fast-food chains?

-First, their ingredients are all sourced locally. Concretely, it means your beef hasn’t traveled in a private jet from Argentina or the US just because it is cheaper to source it from there.

All the raw materials used in the menu, from the potatoes to the bread, come from Ontario’s producers. Cheddar cheese? From Bright Cheese and Butter, in Bright. Turkey? From Hayter’s farm, in Oashwood. All their restaurants have a big map where they show the exact locations of their partners / producers.

Now, there is another thing I like about the idea of local, apart from the benefits in terms of CO2 emissions. I like that it reconnects us with the farmers who feed us. When I went to b.good on Queen West, I spent some time reading the book where they introduce all their providers, showing their pictures, the pictures of their farms…It was a healthy reminder that supermarkets don’t feed us! These people do.

-b.good also serves seasonal food. Quite logically, their menu adapts to the seasons and to what nature has to offer during each season. We got used to fast-food chains serving the same invariable food all year round and it became normal to us.

-Last thing I like about them is that they communicate openly about nutrition facts. Their website displays a very clear and visible tab of nutrition facts for all their meals.

You may also wonder at this point: is their food actually good and tasty? It definitely is. From all the times I have been there, I have never been disappointed.

But I’ll be totally frank. When I go to a fast food, I want fat. I want to feel the fat in my mouth and enjoy a ten-minute little death that will leave a more lasting print in  my body.  There, the fat lovers in us will be less satisfied for sure. What it means is we need to work on our addiction to fat, salt and sugar and to reeducate ourselves.

Where in TO?

For now, b.goo has 3 locations in Toronto:

-100 Front Street East (just behind St Lawrence market

-573 Queen Street West

-10 King Street East