Homegrown Business: Summer Fresh – Real Food, Made Fresh!

Summer Fresh is a family owned Canadian company producing dips, dressings and salads. It began almost thirty years ago with a batch of hummus, created in the family kitchen.  We spoke with Founder Susan Niczowski to find out more about what they do and what their goal is.

Susan Niczowski
Suzan Niczowski – Founder of Summer Fresh


What is your business called and what does it do?

Summer Fresh. Our goal is to provide North Americans with real food, made with fresh, simple ingredients that they are familiar with and can feel good about eating

What made you want to do this work?

Before I started the company, the fresh gourmet specialty food available in grocery stores and food service did not offer a lot of variety. There was always coleslaw and potato salad, but with limited variety. I wanted the convenience of prepackaged foods but made with fresh, simple ingredients, with a variety of options and flavours to choose from. I really felt there was a need in the marketplace that I could fill, and here we are today, 30 years later!

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Summer Fresh knows that North Americans are busy but that shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice taste or quality. All of our products are made in small batches, focusing on locally sourced ingredients. Summer Fresh’s Hummus, Dips and Salads can be enjoyed on their own, as a quick snack, a side dish or can be easily transformed to create delicious weeknight recipes, cutting down prep time while delivering incredible flavour.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our clientele are those looking for freshly made, easy-to-use products that can be incorporated into mindful snacking or simple yet delicious meals. While our clientele is not age-specific, there is a focus on time-pressed families who are still looking to incorporate good-for-you choices into all of their meals and snacks as well.

Summer Fresh

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

We are in the business of making food you can feel good about eating. You can find our salads, dips and hummus’ in most grocery retailers across Canada and the United States.

Where in Toronto can we find your profession?

In Toronto, Summer Fresh products can be found in the refrigerated counters at most grocery stores including: Walmart, Costco, Metro, Sobeys, Loblaws, FreshCo, Food Basics, specialty food stores and more. Additional information can be found at SummerFresh.com

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

What is the benefit of buying Summer Fresh compared to other hummus and dip brands available on the market?

The short answer is taste, quality and ingredient selection. We make all of our products locally and in small batches to ensure they are well made, taste great and are just the right consistency, staying true to the same way we created them 30 years ago. We are also proud to use Canadian chickpeas in all of our hummus varieties.

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

The best part of what I do, of course, is I get to have fun with food. I also have the opportunity to combine my love of food with my passion for fashion. With that, I lead Summer Fresh with the belief that “Food is Fashion,” driving us to always innovate, set trends and highlight the most exciting flavour combinations, in our product offerings, from season to season.
When you love what you do, there really are no bad days. I always try to lead our team from the heart and with positivity. I truly pride myself on being a “glass half full” type of person.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

People always joke that working in the food industry, my job must be a lot of “quality control,” or more so, snacking all day. While there is a whole lot to snack on at our offices, there’s so much more that goes into making great-tasting food. Since I started Summer Fresh 30 years ago, I have always been involved in all elements of the company, from recipe development to manufacturing and retail distribution and beyond.

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

D-drops, which most people don’t know is a Canadian company! It’s a great product for new parents to provide important nutrients for infants and children.