i.d.e.a. Fund Impact Story – Isabelle Lam, Remix Snacks

Mar 6, 2024

By: Meredith Davis, Good Roots Consulting

Isabelle Lam and her business partner Jamie Lee decided to throw their hat into the ring in a start-up competition right before graduating from McGill University in Dietetics and Nutrition. In their program, they had been learning about lots of different ingredients and were drawn to the nutritional benefits of pulses and beans. They also understood that the average eater was likely unsure about using beans in their everyday cooking, so they wanted to find a fun way to showcase them in snack form and make them accessible.

That start-up competition was just the beginning of Remix Snacks. While preparing for that competition, Isabelle and Jamie found themselves on Dragon’s Den where they were successful in securing investment from Arlene Dickinson and another investor for $25,000 in exchange for 35 percent of their new-found company.

Fast forward five years and Remix Snacks is going strong. The Toronto-based company’s goal for the short-term is to sell more product in Quebec and Canada’s west coast. In the next five years, Lam sees Remix Snacks expanding across Canada and into the U.S. pacific northwest.

Remix’s signature product is a dark chocolate bark that combines black beans with upcycled local fruit—such as apples that have imperfections. Other products include a savory snack called Beanies, which is like a guilt-free cheezie made with mung bean flour and upcycled carrots that come in flavours like Vegan Chedd’r and Smoked Paprika.

Remix received funding from the i.d.e.a. Fund program to raise its brand awareness. The i.d.e.a. Fund is supported by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to provide high-potential businesses with seed funding and business advisory supports.

With inflation, the cost of food ingredients has made it very hard to be in the food retail business and people are not as adventurous now with their limited food dollars. Companies are needing to be smarter to optimize their marketing budget. Remix is using the funding to run more targeted campaigns such as attending consumer tradeshows like the vegan festival, VegTO Fest. Lam knows that to convert a new customer you need multiple touch points. The goal is that if people have seen Remix’s brand at a trade show and tasted the product that they will be more likely to buy it when they come across it in the grocery store aisle.

Through the i.d.e.a Fund, Remix Snacks partnered with a mentor who Lam had been previously paired with as a mentor in Boundless Accelerator’s COIL program for circular businesses, which she found to be very valuable. As such, she was able to continue to build upon that relationship and plans to keep in touch.

 Lam provides the following advice for other young food entrepreneurs.

“I find that it’s often easy to get stuck in your own ideas and thoughts, and so I think it’s a great idea to talk to other people who have been in the same shoes— whether that’s other brands or companies or mentors—and try to get advice because they’ve probably been through something similar. And being able to adapt and change is important, especially because now the whole industry is changing. Everything is not necessarily what it was like last year or the year before. I think it’s really important to stay open minded.”




Innovation Guelph has become Boundless Accelerator