2022 Corporate – Food Winners

Photo submitted by Chelsie Hodge, Blender Bites Organic Smoothie Product

Blender Bites Organic Smoothie Product, Vancouver, BC

Founder Chelsie Hodge create Blender Bites in 2016 to provide customers with an organic, highly nutritious and convenient solution for their daily smoothie routine, all while eliminating waste.

For Blender Bites, the pandemic provided an unexpected boost to the business. With people looking for a quick snack between Zoom meetings and a guaranteed meal if they couldn’t get to the store, Blender Bites proved to be exactly what people needed.

For many customers, Blender Bites was an easy solution to their routines that offered an organic meal with functional ingredients, allowing them to maintain their health regime.

Blender Bites began as a solo venture for Chelsie Hodge but grew during the pandemic to a place where she needed to hire more help. It wasn’t easy to hire during a pandemic, however, since the interview process and onboarding were done virtually, all while Chelsie was busy keeping up with the demand of her product.

Despite these challenges, Hodge and her team are continuing to spearhead innovation in the “easy smoothie” category, which Hodge helped create back in 2016 when Blender Bites was launched.

Blender Bites is available in thousands of stores across Canada and Chelsie and the team plan to expand the product lines to include more unexplored options in the frozen function smoothie category.

“Resiliency to me means that regardless of my circumstances, I stay true to my core purpose, my mission, and the vision I have for my life and business. We have all been overcome with fear and doubts the past two years during one of the most difficult economic times we’ve seen, but the desire to carry on with compassion for oneself and others, despite these challenging times is what resiliency means to me.” 

Chelsie Hodge, founder

Nupo Restaurant, Calgary, AB

While the décor is quintessential Alberta, with highlights of birch, shale, and burnt woods, this Japanese-style restaurant celebrates plant-forward, vegan cuisine paired with incredible sushi.

Nupo opened in January 2019 serving vegan, vegetarian, fish and sushi dishes and was just hitting stride when COVID-19 knocked tourism and hospitality to the ground.

Owner Chef Darren MacLean and his team took to that ground running and turned an organic garden experiment into a full-fledged, staff-run organic farm and weekend community farmers market in the city’s East Village.

They adopted the Fukuoka approach to their planting and tending. The harvests are now their own restaurant supply, contributing to dishes that comprise a 20-course vegan omakase sushi dining experience.

Nupo pivoted during COVID-19 to fuelling their greenfish takeout (North America’s first sustainable sushi takeaway) and partnering with other local businesses to offer DIY dining experiences.


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