Celebrating Our Female Vendors

Meet the women behind your favourite products

Katie Rudell – Kokomo Foods

Kokomo is a plant-forward cafe based in Vancouver, that focuses on nourishing, vibrant food. They serve everything from delicious plant-powered bowls to decadent veggie burgers. During the pandemic, they were able to make the switch to selling their most sought-after products as grocery items. Spud was able to help them pivot their business to enter the CPG world and sell their new products. Since then they have been able to enter grocery chains across the province!

We asked Katie about the barriers she faced as an entrepreneur in the food industry:

Not having enough visibility of women in positions of power feels like a barrier in itself. The food industry is male-dominant, that’s just how it is, which is surprising because food is so nurturing, and nurturing is such a feminine quality and has such a feminine energy to it, but for whatever reason it’s been handed over to men to dominate. This reality makes finding opportunities more challenging and sometimes feels intimidating. When I initially launched my business, there was skepticism directed towards me because I didn’t have a formal culinary background. I don’t believe the same level of doubt would be directed toward males entering the industry. Additionally, there’s a noticeable lack of access to funding, another arena dominated by men. Currently, I’m exploring this industry for potential future investors, and it’s astonishing to me that I’ve never encountered a female investor.

Karelene Karst – Verily Kitchen

Karlene is a nutritionist, cookbook author and mom of 3. Her experience and knowledge as a nutritionist and mom inspired her to create ready-to-eat sauces that are as delicious as they are wholesome. Their products focus on high-quality, sustainably sourced, and local ingredients, making it easy to bring wholesome dinners to the table.

We asked Karlene why she thinks it’s important to stock more female-led products:

This movement will greatly impact female-founded and led businesses. Visibility is crucial, especially for female founders. Every opportunity to share their story brings more attention and visibility, which is exactly what we need. Women often face additional biases and hurdles to be taken seriously, secure shelf space, find the right brokers, and establish distribution channels necessary for success. Therefore, every bit of exposure matters and can significantly impact a business.

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