We spoke with Michelle Kopman, co-owner of RawFoodz Inc. She makes raw, vegan, organic, nut-free, gluten free dressings, dips and spreads for everyone to enjoy. We found out how she makes a salad taste delicious without adding any junk, why kids are in love with these healthy foods, and why she can’t give up.
When did you realize you could turn your homemade recipes into a healthy business?
To be completely honest, I never made even one of these recipes before starting RawFoodz. My salad dressings consisted of olive oil, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. When my sister in law said everyone loves my salads, and we should bottle my salad dressings, I said “we can’t put 3 ingredients together and call it a dressing”. However, she planted the seed about there being no healthy dressings out there, and just coming out of holistic nutrition school and learning all about superfoods and healthy oils, I came up with the idea of reinventing the salad dressing. That’s when it officially all came together. Knowing there was nothing out there of its kind, and feeling as though there needed to be!
How do your salad dressings compare to the others on the store shelves?
The difference that sets RawFoodz apart from other dressings is our clean ingredients. We use real ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, refined oils or sugars. However, over the last five years, there have been some new “vegan” dressings hit the market that are a lot cleaner than previous years, but not raw like ours. The reason we are raw is because heating oil changes the properties, and we blend with olive oil and seeds and want our products to retain as many nutritional benefits as possible. We strive for health in a bottle. Not just a vegan, organic product.
Was there ever a moment you considered quitting?
No, not once. And that’s not to say it’s been smooth sailing, because it’s been like a life boat on a stormy night for some of it. It’s been my passion though, and quitting on your passion is giving up. I don’t measure my success by money or accolades (although both feel good to receive), the true measure of success is believing in something to the point that you only keep moving forward and however it turns out, you won in strength of character, determination and perseverance. The food industry is corrupt. There’s no doubt about it. There’s layers of deep pockets and giant corporations that have run this industry for years, but I’m part of a revolution trying to take that back. We’re fed up. Literally and figuratively, so if I give up, I’m not only giving up on me, I’m giving up on the truth. Not gonna happen. There’s very few food companies I trust and I love being one of them, where I can sleep at night knowing I’m feeding people exactly how I would feed myself and my children. Organic, clean and legitimate.
Do kids enjoy RawFoodz too?
There’s nothing that makes me happier than hearing that kids love RawFoodz. The last show I did I had this dad tell me that he has so many dressings in his fridge and his 9 year old daughter will only eat our poppy dressing. That made my weekend. My kids love it. They eat the dressings every day and my daughter said she’d be lost if we ever stopped making the budda. She puts it on everything. So I’d say kids like it for sure. Most of the products have a very similar taste profile to conventional products without the harmful ingredients, so it’s very kid friendly.
We’re obsessed with your new dips. Are they recipes you’ve been enjoying for years, or a new creation?
Thank you!! So happy you’re enjoying them.
I don’t think I ever made a dip before we came up with this. It was always in the back of our minds as it felt like a natural evolution to dressings. We tried and failed a few times with ingredients and ratios (it’s amazing how a little too much or less of this and that can change a taste profile) but we eventually got it right. (Considering we buy them buy the case, we would agree, you certainly did!)
Where do you find inspiration for new products?
Truthfully, it’s really been a matter of “hmm.. what do I want to be healthy but can’t find”. A big example of that is our budda. As a vegan, I won’t go near the butter substitutes out there so I thought it would really cool to come up with a really natural, clean buttery style spread. We’ve pretty much done that with all of our products.
Have your daily business tasks evolved since you first started RawFoodz?
Most definitely. They went from production and sales, to that and a whole lot more. I used to run production and do demos every weekend, and now I have the most amazing production team, brokers and demo help so that helps out in insurmountable ways. I value everyone whose been a part of growing this business.
What’s your favourite recipe to make and/or enjoy with RawFoodz?
Well, I literally use the dressings every day. I can’t eat a salad without them, and I’m not just saying that ;). I love salads and I think I’d be lost without my dressings. They make me eat so many vegetables.
I also love the chipotle cheesauce on rice. There’s something about that combo that tastes so good, but I love spice so that helps.
I do an Indian dish with the garlic budda and original cheesauce (cauliflower and potatoes double baked in them both) and it’s so tasty. Also mixing the dips & cheesauce on wraps is delicious. I could go on, lol…
Hmmm… Well… Here’s what I’d like to see for the line before completion.. A hot sauce, international sauces, a mayo, a gravy and a chocolate icing. What’s actually next changes so I’ll be as surprised as you are but it will most likely be one of the things off this list : ) (We can’t wait to try them all!)