It’s so important to buy local and support local businesses. That includes buying food products made in Metro Vancouver and elsewhere in BC.
In this article we’ll tell you about some great BC-produced food items you can buy locally. We’ll also tell you about LOCO BC which is an organization that supports local businesses and educates the public about the importance of buying local and supporting local.
To see a list of exceptional and independently-owned BC-based food producers, click Featured Businesses. For the entire article, including sections about why buying local is so important and what LOCO BC is, continue reading.
To learn more about this topic click BC-Made Food Products for the BCBuyLocal.com website.
Why Buy Local?
Local businesses buy from other local businesses. They also employ local people, pay local taxes, and support local organizations and their communities. And they do all of this far more than major national and multinational corporations do. Studies prove this!
If we did 100% of our shopping through Amazon or other online retailers, we wouldn’t have corner stores, local bakeries or independent bookstores. And if we did 100% of our shopping at Walmart and other multinational big box stores, we wouldn’t have unique boutiques and small independently-owned shops in our neighbourhoods.
If we did all our shopping with giant multinational corporations, we also wouldn’t have local business people employing local folk, supporting local charities and buying from other local businesses.
There will always be Amazons, Walmarts and Costcos, and they can be good to shop at sometimes. The more we shop from local businesses though, and the more we buy locally-produced food and other products, the healthier our communities will be! In addition to this, the environment also benefits when we buy locally-made products as opposed to importing them from across the globe.
The above are all reasons why buying local and supporting local is so important and beneficial. And there are many ways to do that. One is by shopping at small, independent and locally-owned stores. Another is to buy locally-made products.
A lot of food is made right here in and around Vancouver. Go to a local farmers market and you’ll see all kinds of produce that’s grown in Delta, Richmond, the Fraser Valley and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. More than just fruits and vegetables, however, a lot of gourmet food products are manufactured here too.
Spending money with local businesses helps keep money in the local economy, and it helps keep communities healthy!
LOCO BC and its Buy BC-Made Food Products Campaign
LOCO BC is a network of BC-based locally-owned and operated businesses. It’s also an advocacy organization that encourages people to buy local and support local. It’s a tremendous organization behind a most important and beneficial cause!
The Buy BC-Made Food Products campaign was launched in early February 2022 with the goal of promoting local food producers. The province of British Columbia is home to many talented food producers, many of which deserve a spotlight of their own. LOCO BC started an initiative to make a difference, and they plan to showcase over 40 food producer stories on their website and social media channels this year.
To learn more about LOCO BC see the section at the bottom of this article or visit locobc.ca for the organization’s official website. To learn more about locally-based food producers click BC-Made Food Products for details on the BCBuyLocal.com website.
The various businesses listed below have already shared their stories with LOCO BC. Click on each link to learn more about each company’s history and products. Better yet, look out for these products in your local grocery store or specialty food shop and try them yourself!
Businesses in the Lower Mainland
Below are food producers based in the City of Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Richmond, North Vancouver and Squamish.
- Brightside Foods – based in Vancouver, this brand of frozen food offers a range of vegetarian and vegan meals. Using as many local ingredients as possible, Brightside Foods makes different types of burritos and pinto pockets, as well as soups, hot sauces and more. Their products can be found at local grocery and specialty stores throughout the Lower Mainland and other nearby regions.
Callister Brewing Company
- Callister Brewing Company – known as Canada’s first collaborative brewery, this independently-owned company provides other local breweries with various equipment and facilities. They also offer their own craft sodas that they make at 1338 Franklin Street in East Vancouver.
Cloud 9 Gluten Free
- Cloud 9 Gluten Free – based in Port Coquitlam, this company produces high quality gluten-free and allergen-free products. Popular items include an all-purpose baking mix (an alternative to flour) and pancake and waffle mix (which makes for a delicious dairy-free breakfast). Cloud 9 has become one of Canada’s biggest suppliers of specialized food products.
- EMKAO Foods – this business brings cocoa beans from a farm in Cameroon all the way to Mission in BC. The company then turns the beans into premium and sustainable chocolate ingredients which the company then supplies to local businesses.
- Kindred Cultures – probiotic-rich water kefir products made in Richmond, with many fermented and organic ingredients from local suppliers. Their vegan drinks come in multiple flavours such as mango ginger, cranberry turmeric, strawberry rose and more. The beverages on offer are healthy, tasty and appreciated by all ages.
Lita’s Mexican Foods
- Lita’s Mexican Foods – produces plant-based versions of traditional Mexican foods that are easy for customers to prepare at home. The company began in Vancouver but now manufactures food in Richmond with products available in various regions of Western Canada. Lita’s packaging is Certified Plastic Negative. The company also sources many of its ingredients from local suppliers.
- Panela Lemon – based in Vancouver, this company offers delicious vegan treats made from natural ingredients. Their plant-based cookies are both creative and healthy. Panela Lemon is proud to source many ingredients and packaging materials from local companies. Delivery of their products also results in minimal waste.
Soul Bite Food
- Soul Bite Food – operating in Vancouver, this social enterprise produces Eastern European and Middle Eastern dishes. Their products are in various BC delis, as well as in frozen sections of grocery stores. Soul Bite Food offers four vegan products including cabbage rolls and stuffed eggplants. Their ingredients are locally sourced and there is no food waste in their production process either.
Squamish Water Kefir Co.
- Squamish Water Kefir Co. – this small food producer in Squamish specializes in fermented living probiotics. Their products include smoothie bases, sparkling water and probiotic popsicles.
- Susgrainable – a social enterprise that began at UBC in Vancouver, this company saves barley from breweries and transforms the grain into tasty baking mixes. Their plant-based products are nutritious and help reduce food waste in the beer industry. Ingredients are locally sourced by nearby breweries and Susgrainable’s business model revolves around sustainability.
Workshop Vegetarian Cafe
- The Workshop Vegetarian Cafe – a family-run restaurant at 296 Pemberton Avenue in North Vancouver. The place offers healthy plant-based dishes inspired by Japanese cuisine. Most of their ingredients come from local sources, which is good to know. You can buy many of their products in-store at local retailers as well as from the restaurant directly online.
Other Businesses in BC
The following are other BC-based food producers located elsewhere in the province.
- Justo’s Plant-Based Dips – founded in Victoria, this company offers tasty plant-based dips made from Canadian ingredients. One percent of sales helps the less fortunate. The company also donates another one percent to an environmental organization.
- Kettle & Hive – an Indigenous-owned company that offers Citron Tea products. Located in Victoria, over half of the company’s ingredients are from local companies in the province.
- UMAMI Crave the Fifth – based in Kelowna, this company produces a small variety of vegan and gluten-free dressings, along with some ready-to-cook kits. Their ingredients are proudly sourced from Canadian companies.
Note: The lists above were last updated on February 4th, 2022, and it represents just a sample of BC’s many locally-based food producers. For the full list of small businesses highlighted during the Food Producer Campaign, visit the BC Food Products page on the BC Buy Local website.
About LOCO BC
The organization behind the Food Producer Campaign is LOCO BC which is the same organization behind the annual BC Buy Local Week in December each year. Both campaigns strive to promote independently-owned businesses in similar ways.
The Food Producer Campaign is specifically intended to help spread awareness about local food-related products and businesses. The goal of BC Buy Local Week, on the other hand, is to help all types of locally-owned businesses.
In a nutshell, LOCO BC wants everyone to try buying more products from local stores that need the business more than online powerhouses like Amazon and big box stores. They also want to encourage people to buy more locally-made food instead of products made by national and multinational companies elsewhere in Canada and abroad.
With their Buy BC-Made Food Products campaign, LOCO BC wants everyone to have more local food on their tables and to support local producers more than ever before! If we all do this, we will all benefit (except maybe for shareholders of companies like Amazon, Walmart and other large multinational corporations).
A number of socially-responsible and locally-based organizations are sponsors and founders of LOCO BC. These include Vancity Credit Union, Salt Spring Coffee, Mills Office Productivity and the Recycling Alternative to name a few. These too are great local companies to support and do business with!
Note: LOCO BC is a proud sponsor of this article and a proud supporter of local businesses of all kinds! Also, this current Buy BC-Made Food Products campaign is in partnership with BCLocalRoot.ca and funded by the Government of Canada through the BC Chamber of Commerce.
was funded by the Government of Canada’s Shop Local Initiative with funding dispersed through the BC Chamber.
For more details about the current Food Producer Campaign, click BC-Made Food Products.
To learn more about the organization behind the campaign, see the LOCO BC website.
For information about another important annual campaign led by LOCO BC, see our article about BC Buy Local Week.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Lower Mainland Farmers Markets
- Best Restaurants and Bars in Metro Vancouver
- Vancouver’s Events Calendar