Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey! I am Suzie Yorke, a mom, a CPG marketing executive, and 11X time Ironman Finisher. I launched Love Good Fats from my dining room table in Toronto, at age 50, as a single mom. I took a big chance and invested my life savings. Love Good Fats is a family of food products that are all very low sugar (1-2g of sugar), keto, high fat, and all clean healthy ingredients.
Our Mission is to bring back good fats and say goodbye to sugar. Our ridiculously delicious products have a very clean label with 1-2 grams of sugar and just 4-5 grams of net carbs. They are gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO project verified, contain no artificial preservatives, no sugar alcohols, and are also keto-friendly and responsibly sourced and kosher and made in Canada.
I am thrilled to be the founder of Love Good Fats’ expansion as it quickly becomes one of the fastest-growing bar brands in North America. Love Good Fats is just over four years old, and we’ve already exceeded $120 million in cumulative sales! The brand has had an incredibly fast start, especially here in Canada. Our growth has been unheard of. We are currently listed in over ten thousand stores in Canada and the US in Grocery, Mass, and specialty natural health food stores
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I spent years adhering to a low-fat diet only to hit a wall in my mid-40s. After reading Nina Teicholz’s bestseller, The Big Fat Surprise, I immediately shifted my diet away from low-fat to high-fat, low-carb low-sugar diet, and felt better right away. While I loved the benefits of my new lifestyle, I found it challenging to find convenient, good-fat snacks. Seeing a gap in the marketplace and a huge opportunity to help others through food, I developed Love Good Fats.
Just start – there is never going to be the perfect time to take such a big leap.
The concept for our brand came about in 2016 and officially launched at Whole Foods Canada in September 2017. I spent hundreds of hours researching nutrition and understanding the science of a low-carb, high-fat diet. After educating myself on the process, I understood what nutritional value I wanted my bars to have.
The most challenging part about developing a bar recipe was to make sure that it could be made consistently, was shelf-stable, and also ridiculously delicious. We went through over a hundred recipes and production methods to finally perfect the formula.
We also spent a great amount of time researching the potential market for our bars. What drove us was knowing how many people out there were unhealthy and were looking for better choices for their diet. As most people live busy lifestyles, including Suzie, it can be challenging to find time to prepare healthy meals and snacks at home.
We knew that offering the convenience of an "on the go" bar that was healthy and tasted great would be a big hit. Month after month our sales have exceeded our greatest expectations.
Originally, I set out to make a very clean, healthy bar, but as I progressed in my research, I felt strongly about creating a product that was high in fat, low-carb, and low in sugar. The research on the ketogenic diet is astonishing.
As a 30-year veteran of the CPG industry, I have worked at high-profile companies such as Proctor & Gamble, PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz, Weight Watchers, and Zag. Utilizing my accomplished marketing background, personal journey, and deep devotion and passion for health, I am on a mission to spread the word that fat is back, and sugar is out!
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
I first started with an idea to have snack brands loaded with good fats and very little to no sugar. So I researched and found recipes online for homemade “fat bombs” which are great desserts/ treats with a few simple ingredients and very low sugar. However, they need to be refrigerated, so I set upon finding a way to get shelf-stable “fat bombs”.
I had the Brand positioning drafted already (it all starts with your Brand Positioning) so then I wrote a Product Brief: laying out the guidelines for the product ie, the macronutrient targets, the ingredients, the claims, and certifications needed.
The first step was to find a kitchen food lab to take this Brief and develop prototypes - in an “industrial kitchen” versus my kitchen that could scale commercially.
So I went to Linked in and asked for recommendations and did an RFP. I found one in Ontario and met them weekly for 10 weeks. In parallel, I was looking for a co-manufacturer who wanted to try to make the recipes once they were finalized.
Working these 2 in parallel and with 100 recipes/bars prototypes later, we proceeded to a small pilot run. Then more and more and more until we scaled to a first full production (of 50k bars) per flavor.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I was very lucky to get picked up by Whole Foods right at the start of my journey. I presented it to the buyer and he agreed this was a great idea and agree to carry him our bars in their stores.
As a well-recognized player in the health food market, being on WF’s shelves allowed me to gain brand recognition quickly. Once listed, I made the very wise decision to expand our flavor selection right away. I started with two and within six months had added two more flavors to our lineup and was delighted that Whole Foods listed these as well.
Whole Foods continued to support us by listing Love Good Fats in all of their locations across the US. This is unheard of. Often retailers start you in one or two stores, or, if you are really lucky, in one area (like Southern California). Very few brands hit the shelves in all of their stores to start, especially a Canadian start-up! This qualifies as one of our most significant accomplishments.
Since our soft launch with Whole Foods, growth in the US has been a lot slower than we did our official launch in January 2020, which means our timing couldn’t have been worse. However, despite the devastating effects of the pandemic on our category, LGF continued to expand our footprint in the US and managed to get picked up by several additional premium retailers including Sprouts and HyVee.
One of the biggest achievements Love Good Fats did was to secure additional capital in 2020 to ensure we could ride out the changes in the market caused by the Covid pandemic. We closed a $10.7 million equity financing led by InvestEco Capital Corp. and Export Development Canada.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We have had to pivot to ride out the downturn in our market segment, but we’ve also had to adjust to the different ways consumers are now shopping. Consumers are currently sticking with products and brands that are known to them - no more browsing the aisles (whether in person or virtually). This makes it hard for a new brand to gain awareness.
Previously we were doing a lot of sampling in-store and at consumer shows. To continue getting our product into new consumers' hands, we joined Walmart’s Freeosk program, which allows consumers access to a full sample of our product to take home.
In addition, we pivoted on how to spend our marketing budget and have put most of it into social media campaigns to try to connect with people who are spending more time on their devices. We increased advertising on Facebook and Instagram, the two social platforms that house our target market. There are many videos on Facebook and Instagram if you scroll through the history! Enjoy
We’ve also raised awareness of our ecomm platform as more and more people to turn online within six months, opping. Many of our campaigns are now about buying from our website versus finding us in stores.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Right now, we are working on ways to get through Covid impact as the On-the-Go brands and categories have been impacted by the pandemic and stay at home. We’re also expanding the Love Good Fats line and will be introducing innovation in 2022 and 2023.
In addition, we will continue to work with our retail partners to increase the number of flavors they carry until all of our retailers are carrying our entire lineup.
Finally, we are continuing to push our distribution. We are adding new retailers to our lineup and making this a big focus in the US.
By engaging in all of these tactics, LGFs is on a strong growth path.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
We’ve learned tons and tons and tons - we’re a hyper-growth startup and our gross sales year 2 were $8.2mil and year 3, $47mil - that is an incredible growth curve in just 12 months.
We’ve learned a lot about fast/hyper-growth - knowing what we know now, we would have slowed down and said “no” to more retailers.
It’s also really hard to hire and hire the “right” time for the size and growth curve when you’re growing this quickly. So slowing down a bit has advantages.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We have 3 main platform tools currently still all on excel worksheets that work well with each other: our S&OP, our Financial forecast, and our Sales planning tools.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Nina Teicholz and the leading scientist and physicians that promote low carb have inspired us the most - the results of clinical and research shows us that a diet lower in sugar and carbs can have tremendous benefits on the health of people - that’s inspiring daily (I have my own story were shifting to a low carb, very low sugar diet has allowed me to FINALLY get off my 2 prescription meds (for IBS and High BP).
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Just start – there is never going to be the perfect time to take such a big leap. If you want to, you will always have an excuse not to start. Trust yourself to choose the right time and then go for it without looking back.
Use the resources available – there are so many more resources available now than there were when I started up. There are more loans and grants and companies interested in investing in new brands. Take the time to look around and figure out where you may be able to get some financial help from. In addition, there are also a lot more support options for entrepreneurs. Seminars, fireside chats, podcasts, etc. I would highly recommend investing some time listening to existing founders who are willing to share their journeys.
Take care of yourself – no matter how successful the company is, there is a lot of stress in being an entrepreneur. It’s, therefore, very important that you take care of your physical and mental health. For instance, make sure you use your vacation time and let your team handle things in your absence. As well, try to get lots of sleep and exercise. People need to remember that an investment in yourself is also an investment in the company.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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