With all the necessary changes that have come from COVID-19, one notable one involves the contents of our well-disinfected grocery carts.
And no, this isn’t a reference to toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or the once-elusive baking flour.
In our pandemic-ridden era, food consumption and shopping habits have changed. This means a trend toward more packaged, grab-and-go products, and – after the hoarding effect we saw at the beginning of the pandemic – grocery retailers are sticking to tried and true products that consumers love. When it comes to options, we have plenty on our local grocer’s shelves – both from within Canada and from snacks brought in from the U.S. That abundance that we’re used to is, in part, because of food brokers
At a time of perpetual pivots and financial uncertainty, two Toronto-based brothers – who are among the youngest food brokers in North America – are switching up the grocery game. Louis (26) and Simon (23) More created MORE Corp. in 2019 to bring desired U.S. food into Canada and vice versa.
And with COVID-19, business is booming.
“One reason people loved going to the U.S. (in better times) is all the great snacks they could pick up, and the variety of products in grocery stores that aren’t available in Canada,” said Louis. “We make it easier to enjoy these coveted snacks by bringing them from the U.S. into Canadian grocery stores and other outlets. We scour North America for emerging, exciting new brands and generate awareness by getting them into the right grocery retailer – like Sobeys or Loblaws – and into the hands of a consumer who finds a new product they can enjoy and love.” — then once they’re there, they work with the grocery store to continue stocking their shelves with that food.
MORE Corp. sources its products based on three criteria. First, the product needs to fit a trend that’s emerging in the market they wish to enter. “For example, vegan and keto products in Canada are super hot right now, as are discounted, individually wrapped snacks across the Midwest U.S.,” says Louis. Secondly, the product already needs to have legs in certain regions across Canada or the U.S. “The focus isn’t on pioneering products with no sales, rather, bringing products into geographic regions it hasn’t yet entered,” he adds.
Finally – and something not to be overlooked – the ownership needs to be passionate about the product. “If the owners of a business are very passionate about the product, they will do whatever it takes to help us make it a success – whether that’s working through logistical details, or figuring out best practices for in-store marketing campaigns,” says Louis.
The company’s current clients include everything from a waffle company and pastries, to gum and gluten-free offerings.
This isn’t the More brothers’ first foray into the entrepreneurial world – and their passion for food definitely isn’t a newfound one. Louis started his first company at age 17 by manufacturing athletic candies. He began this endeavour by cold calling jelly manufacturers as well as active nutrient ingredient suppliers across the U.S., trying to create his prototype product. After launching a protein and electrolyte filled candy, the product quickly gained traction – but not without its challenges.
“Due to the USD/CAD exchange rate, and not yet having great economies of scale, the U.S.-made product was ultimately too expensive for the Canadian market,” says Louis. “We then changed the formulation accordingly and created a Canadian-made natural jelly and shifted the focus on the U.S. market.” After finding success in that market, he sold his first company.
This valuable experience, as well as a role with global food company Fiera Foods/Upper Crust, set a strong groundwork for Louis to follow his entrepreneurial instincts and begin his own food brokerage firm at 23-years-old. Making it a family affair, Simon joined Louis in 2019, and the pair grew the company into MORE Corp.
It didn’t take long for MORE Corp to have products in more than 37,000 stores, and sales and consulting deals of over $40-million USD annually. This is especially impressive in an industry that is dominated with previous generations of families with decades of experience.
While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the economy, MORE Corp. offers solutions.
“MORE Corp. has cultivated amazing relationships with some of the largest retailers across North America. At a time when face-to-face interactions are impossible, retailers only want to deal with people they know and trust,” says Simon. “Being able to pick up the phone and call the head bakery buyer at a top 10 largest chain in North America goes a long way when driving sales during these tough times are extremely important.”
In recognizing and curating great products, MORE Corp. also gives local businesses a chance on the other side of the border, or other side of the country. at a time when they need all the help they can get. With More Corp, the emerging food companies have strong financial and sales support.
Of course, this is just the beginning for the rapidly growing company. What’s next? “We’re continuing to bring great products to people from coast to coast and nation to nation,” said Simon. “If there’s a snack that keeps up with modern consumer trends, and is a product we’re excited about that fits a food trend for consumers, then everyone should be able to purchase it at their local grocery store – whether you are in Santa Fe, New Mexico or Fredericton, New Brunswick.”