Homegrown Business: Mother Raw Wants You To Eat More Vegetables!

With the rise of processed food and takeout, it is sometimes hard to make sure we’re eating our vegetables. Thankfully, businesses like Mother Raw exist to make sure that when you are eating your vegetables, you can enjoy them! This week we spoke to their CEO Kristi Knowles about how she’s making vegetables taste better than ever!

Mother Raw CEO Kristi Knowles
Mother Raw CEO Kristi Knowles

What is your business called and what does it do?

Mother Raw is on a mission to encourage everyone, everywhere to eat more plants by creating delicious, versatile and plant-based dressings, marinades, dips, quesos, and condiments. Our philosophy is Put Good on Good™ because we believe what goes on your plants and veggies should be as healthy as your plants and veggies. All of our products are non-GMO, plant-powered and free of the top 8 common allergens. They’re proudly made in small batches in our facility in Toronto.

What made you want to do this work?

After spending more than 20 years as a senior executive at Fortune 500 giants in the consumer packaged goods and alcohol beverage spaces, I wanted to move on to a smaller, high-growth, entrepreneurial business where I would have the shortest distance to directly impacting consumers, my team, and the overall future of the business. I wanted to find an opportunity that would fulfill me as a leader and as a human being, and I found that with Mother Raw. I believed strongly in the brand proposition and was in the process of reviewing their full-time job offer when in February 2018 MotherRaw (then RawFoodz) Founder Michelle Kopman passed away. She was only 45 years old and had started the brand in her kitchen. When she passed, time stopped. As I ruminated on the path ahead, I saw an opportunity to honor Michelle’s legacy by bringing her vision to life on a scale she would have dreamed of. She would be so proud of where Mother Raw is today. My current role unites my lifelong passion for health and wellness while allowing me to lead with heart and to help forge the future for the better.

What problem does this solve?

Mother Raw aims to make plants crave-able with our lineup of plant-based dressings and marinades that solve the need for clean options that also taste amazing. We believe that over-processed is over-rated which is why our products are cold-blended, never heated, depleted or mistreated™, and made in small batches. Most store-bought salad dressings and marinades are filled with artificial ingredients, refined sugar, highly processed oils (most common being canola), fillers, gums and preservatives. We created our line to provide health conscious consumers with clean-ingredient options for store bought dressings, that are also easy, versatile alternatives to homemade dressings. Using similar ingredients you would use in your homemade creations, Mother Raw refrigerated dressings and marinades are made with the goodness of organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (just like homemade), unfiltered apple cider vinegar and nutrient powerhouses like chia seeds and hemp seeds.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Mother Raw is for anyone looking for delicious and healthier options for themselves and their families whether they’re vegan, plant-based, flexitarians, those with allergies or food sensitivities, diet-specific folks, those who care about sustainability, and more. Regardless of lifestyle, diet, or allergen concerns, Mother Raw strives to offer good food for all.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We sell, in-store and on-line, an impressive variety of over 20 delicious refrigerated dressings and marinades, dips, quesos, and condiments at retail. Our offerings are not only available across Canada, but we have also expanded to the US. We’re currently sold in over 3,500 locations across North America and online.

Mother Raw Vegan Queso
Mother Raw’s Vegan Queso

Where in Toronto can we find your profession?

Mother Raw products are available for purchase on our website and in the refrigerated section of the produce department in select grocery and specialty stores across Toronto including Metro, Sobeys, Longo’s, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods and a variety of smaller chains such as Organic Garage, Ambrosia and The Big Carrot!

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? 

What makes Mother Raw stand out in a category full of healthier options?

Mother Raw products are made with only the best premium ingredients. Unlike most products in the market, our offerings are thoughtfully made without artificial ingredients, refined sugar, processed oils (most common being canola), fillers, gums and preservatives. We’re homemade amped up without having to make it yourself! Like homemade, we only use the best, most premium and delicious ingredients in our products like cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced onion and garlic, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part about what I do is being able to wake up every day knowing that our products are enjoyed by so many people who want to lead healther lives! Whether they encourage kids to eat their veggies, make salad haters into believers, or simply spark joy in someone’s day. We love hearing feedback from our consumers, and this is what fuels us to keep going.

As far as the worst part, there really are no bad parts – only challenges to overcome and lessons to learn. And if I’ve learned anything over my time working on a small start-up business, it’s to always be nimble, continuously learn, and take every piece of feedback as an opportunity to evolve.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

It’s kind of an ongoing joke that some people say they would never eat plant-based foods or try vegan foods, while most people are actually eating these foods every day in one way or another!

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?

We love FoodShare Toronto for their focus on bringing healthy produce to the people of this beautiful city – especially the city’s most vulnerable. We are amazed and impressed and humbled by how quickly they launched into action amidst the COVID-19 crisis to get produce boxes to those facing food insecurity. We are proud to be donating a part of the proceeds from May and June online sales to this worthy cause.