Everland Natural Foods Inc.
Everland Natural Foods Inc. believes in a handful of principles that drive business — and profit isn’t first on the list. The company focuses on doing good first, by way of making healthy, organic and all-natural products — everything from super foods to nuts, dried fruits, grains, beans, cooking oils natural sweeteners, vinegar, juice, snacks and much more — available to the everyday consumer. “We’re a second-generation, family-owned business and we’ve all worked in retail before so we know what the consumer wants,” says Rajinder Bagga, CEO of Everland. “Some companies try to spin organic as a novelty, but the fact is, it’s not—it’s for everyone and families should be able to afford, healthy, organic food without paying an arm and a leg for it. That’s the difference in Everland’s mission.”
Based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Everland formed in 2005 and Rajinder says the company has always seen the bigger picture; profit has never been the driving force. “The No. 1 thing for us is that a product should be good for you and good for the planet,” he says.
Earning a spot on Profit 500’s Fastest-Growing Companies list in 2015, the 100 percent Canadian owned-and -operated business has been upholding its promise to do good since it began to expand its product line from nut butters to other natural foods, made in Canada as well as imported from around the globe.
Rajinder says Everland’s success starts with a family ownership team that deeply cares about the company’s mission. The story starts back in India in 1960; at 11 years old, Kulwant Bagga, Rajinder’s brother and now president, worked at his family’s confectionary manufacturing business along with his father. At 23, he moved to Canada. Although it was tough to leave his family, Kulwant knew he would find major opportunities in continuing his family’s food industry legacy.
At the time, locally sourced, plant-based foods were not so popular in Canada, but in India it was a way of life. Kulwant took a bit of a risk in starting this niche business before the market desired it. “I knew I was doing the right thing and on the right path,” he says. “In 1982, Rajinder joined me and we had a small flourmill, grinder and oven. We began to produce our own brand of affordable, organic foods.”
Eventually the rest of the Bagga family was able to join Kulwant and Rajinder, including their brother, Jawahar Bagga, now operations director of Everland. Together, the brothers began to expand the manufacturing business. “In 1998 we started as a small-scale food manufacturing and distribution company; this company still stands, but we took the manufacturing portion out and transitioned Everland into its own separate entity in 2005,” recounts Rajinder.
Everland’s executive leadership is comprised of other key team members, including: Vinod Walia, vice president/production, Chetan Bagga and Tulsi Dhir. “Every person who works at Everland is family and it’s our job to support, encourage and elevate each other, because we believe a positive work environment naturally lends itself to the care and consideration that goes into marketing our food products,” says Rajinder.
Love what you eat
Today the company sells more than 400 products and produces many of its own from a 34,000-square-foot facility in Burnaby. In addition to producing nut butters, granola and candies under many private labels such as New World Foods, Everland has its own line of branded products, including: organic quinoa, oats, raspberry vinegar, sunflower oil, black chia seeds, coconut palm sugar, coconut water, coconut oil, also virgin coconut oil, shredded coconut, coconut milk, maple syrup and more. “We sell these items and more across Canada to retailers and food-service customers,” says Rajinder.
For added convenience, Canadian customers can now find Everland’s products on Amazon as well. “Canadians love our products also because they are made in Canada and provide jobs to Canadians. The majority of our customer base is in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. We have recently started to expand our sales into the U.S., selling to customers in Florida, California and other states,” says Rajinder.
Beyond its mission to sell organic, all-natural and healthier food products, Everland is also committed to products and processes that reduce its carbon footprint and keep quality manufacturing jobs at home in Canada. “Our earth-friendly practices include minimal packaging, BPA-free cans and glass jars and bottles,” says Rajinder. “Most of our packaging is 100 percent recyclable and it’s our ongoing mission to increase this and find new and innovative ways to protect the planet.”
The goal is to produce items with a smaller carbon footprint in the safest way possible. Food safety is always on Everland’s mind. “We’re currently in the process of becoming Safe Quality Food [SQF] certified and we hope to have this project complete by the end of December 2016,” notes Rajinder.
Another new development for Everland is the company’s purchase of a super-fast packaging machine in 2015. “This machine has enabled us to quadruple our production,” says Rajinder. “We also have a number of fair-trade products on the rise and some of our peanut butters are now available in more than 2,000 stores across Canada and the U.S. We’re also looking at foreign export markets in Europe and China.”
Although Everland has experienced more than 200 percent growth in the last five years, Rajinder says the company maintains its close-knit feel and family ownership. “Family is something we don’t ever take for granted at Everland,” he says. “Young family members Rattan Bagga and Chetan Bagga are helping to lead the company in new markets and bring in new technology. Our mission remains the same: to provide value to our consumers and stakeholders, while growing sustainably and responsibly with our people to better serve our community.”
Holding family ties close and the mission to produce quality, organic and clean food while promoting a healthy, happy and mindful lifestyle for all remain the driving forces behind rapidly growing Everland Natural Foods Inc.