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SME Innovation | A sweet tooth for vegetables

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Every Monday, we present to you a company that innovates.

What ?

We are no longer at the time when it was completely suspect to use vegetables in a dessert – thanks to beets, pumpkins and carrots, which taught us that surprising pairings of tastes at first glance are also delicious in a sweet version. Especially since many vegetables are very sweet in taste.

Bela Peko has made it his starting point and wants to make life easier for people who like to cook, but don’t always have time to start from raw ingredients.

The dessert boxes contain the dry ingredients and the mash. All that remains is to add the eggs and the oil for the magic to work!

Who ?

Danielle Paquet is behind this company in the Quebec region. She was also founding president of Femmes en affaires de la Capitale-Nationale, a network in which she is still involved.

In 2018, she founded Bela Peko, and the first cakes arrived the following year.

Others had already made vegetable-based dessert recipes, but we wanted it to be just as delicious.

Danielle Paquet, President of Bela Peko

No wonder, then, that she chose this name, Bela Peko meaning cute sin in the Esperanto language.

The company worked with illustrators to make the products look pretty and appealing.

innovation

This idea of ​​putting vegetables at the heart of a range of desserts ensures a distinct personality for Bela Peko, which offers real mashed potatoes that can be kept at room temperature in the mixing box.

“I wanted it to taste good, but also to have nutritional values,” explains Danielle Paquet.

The butternut squash and chocolate mixture is made to be cooked for breakfast, in waffles or pancakes. It’s still a sweet lunch, but the squash purée gives it a little extra, nutritionally (and tastefully!) speaking.


PHOTO EDOUARD PLANTE-FRÉCHETTE, THE PRESS

Bela Peko products

Do people buy the mixes to have a serving of vegetables?

It’s part of the motivation. It is sure that at the beginning, they are curious. Parents who want their children to eat their servings of vegetables are winners!

Danielle Paquet, President of Bela Peko

The purees are made by a partner company, the bagging too. Danielle Paquet orchestrates all of this and works on business development.

“Bela Peko is the food of tomorrow,” she says. I decide the vegetable and have worked with nutritionists and chefs. »

The product

Magnificent mixes of brownies with beet puree and chocolate, spiced caramel and parsnip puree muffins, an oatmeal, almond and sweet potato cake. Each preparation gives a choice of cake, muffins or pancakes.

The slogan is also: rediscover the pleasure of cooking without cooking! Because the reassuring scents of a spice cake on a cold late fall evening are hard to beat.

And as it’s almost Christmas, Bela Peko has made little combos of its favorite products. Because, we’re going to be quite honest, we don’t always have time to make our own fruit cake to bring to whoever is receiving this year.

Challenges

With food prices rising, the trend is to cut costs by going back to basics and cooking your vegetables and then working them through to the final product.

We can calculate that a $12.50 box gives a dozen standard muffins, rather nine extra large.

A price of $1.40 for a gigantic muffin filled with macadamia nuts is not expensive, but with the current context, it could slow down the greedy momentum.

“It is certain that inflation can have an impact,” admits the founder, who is partly relying on fundraising campaigns to cushion this troubled period.

The purchasing philosophy is different when you buy for a cause or for the school project of the little neighbor who knocks on the door with boxes of cakes for sale.

The future

“I want to be closer to consumers,” says Danielle Paquet. Which means breaking into mass distribution.

The mixes will hit the Metro network at a price of $9.99 for a base box, starting early next year.

“I would also like to go into institutions, daycare centers, with an allergen-free version,” continues Danielle Paquet, who even dreams of her cakes ending up on shelves abroad.



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