Sol Cuisine was born in 1980. It started life as a manufacturer of high quality tofu for Toronto vegetarian restaurants and expanded from there. Today, Sol Cuisine is a trusted Canadian brand catering to a growing community of retail and restaurant consumers in search of Non-GMO, Wheat and Gluten-Free, Kosher, Halal and Organic vegan products.
With a focus on natural vegan foods that are delicious and healthy, Sol Cuisine offers a wide selection of veggie burgers, veggie breakfast patties, tofu and other frozen and fresh meat alternatives.
My fondest memories of my childhood are of my grandfather’s dairy. I would go along with him on his delivery runs, meeting all the shop owners and customers. I loved it and it gave me an early grounding in farming and food manufacturing.
Before I started Sol Cuisine, I was a vegetarian and had a hard time finding great tasting, protein rich meat-free foods. I loved cooking and began experimenting. That’s how it all began. I saw an opportunity to follow my passion and went for it.
Soy is such a versatile food with health benefits so superior to animal protein. I can’t think of anything more exciting than making soy foods that sustain and satisfy people. Our health is the most precious thing we have, so why not preserve it by eating good food!
Every day we hear from customers telling us how much they appreciate our products. When we hear from a mom or dad who has finally found our delicious Organic Veggie Crumbles or Organic BBQ Tofu Ribs to feed a daughter or son who refuses to eat meat or is gluten intolerant, or when we hear from people who can’t get enough of our veggie burgers. We share in their delight and feel the greater purpose of the work that we do. We’re grateful for our emotional attachment to our customers because food is emotional. Our work gives us hope for our planet and makes us all feel as though we’re making a difference.
Dror Balshine and the Sol Cuisine Team
The company – originally called Soy City Foods – rapidly expanded its clientele in the foodservice industry and soon began selling to retail. How did the company come to be called Sol Cuisine? In another part of Toronto, two friends started a veggie burger company serving innovative vegetarian foods to high school cafeterias. That company, Second Nature joined forces with Soy City Foods in 2002, under the banner of Sol Cuisine.
“SOL” – standing for Sustainable, Organic and Local – is a representation and constant reminder of the company’s purpose.
With rapid growth in consumer health consciousness trending towards flexitarianism, vegan/vegetarian lifestyles and buying local, our company is experiencing growth every year. We are always at work creating new and innovative vegan food concepts to provide our loyal customers with high-quality, delicious meatless meals. We have four channels; retail (Sol Cuisine Brand), private label, foodservice and ingredient sales and in 2016, we are doubling our manufacturing capacities, moving to a larger facility but remaining in Mississauga, Ontario. A privately owned company with under 50-employees, we proudly carry certifications that our customers are looking for; Certified SQF Facility (a globally recognized food safety certification); Kosher; Halal; Organic; Non GMO Project Verified; Gluten Free. In Ontario, we also hold the Organic Foodland Ontario and Greenbelt accreditations.
Sol Cuisine uses Open Book Finance, a unique management technology that involves sharing financial and other key data with all members of the staff. This empowers team members as leaders in their areas of expertise, encourages meeting regularly to assess progress towards the identified objective and playing “games” to reframe problems as opportunities and create energy around accomplishing goals. In short, we believe that every team member has to have a sense of the ‘big picture’ in order to do their job well and it benefits everybody to share information, celebrate achievements and solve problems together. Sol Cuisine employees also benefit from a “gain-sharing” program, where profit above a certain level is split between the company and its team.
As the first manufacturers of organic tofu in Canada, we’ve been using organic, local, Non-GMO soybeans since 1986. Our partnership with Ripley, Ontario farmer, Harro Wehrmann, ensures our access to these precious beans, farmed sustainably and bought at a fair price. Ontario-grown soybeans are considered among the best in the world as our colder climate results in higher protein content. Our focus on local and organic suppliers means we enjoy long-standing relationships with many Ontario and Canadian growers/farmers and ingredient suppliers. Sol Cuisine maintains relationships with local vendors and growers to assist in the development of the regional economy, a hallmark of our company’s philosophy. As a leading Canadian vegetarian foods manufacturer, Sol Cuisine is committed to providing healthy, great-tasting vegan food and our line-up of Non-GMO, Wheat and Gluten-Free, Kosher, Halal and Organic vegan products includes tofu, veggie burgers, falafel, veggie crumbles and more.
Yes. All of our retail products are verified by The Non-GMO Project. Though we’ve been committed to sourcing Non-GMO ingredients for many years, in 2010, we proudly joined the Non-GMO Project. Participation in this independent, third party verification program is designed to assess compliance with specific standards like requiring traceability, segregation and testing at critical control points to offer consumers a Non-GMO choice for products made without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies. To date, we have achieved Non-GMO Project verification for the majority of our retail products.
In 2011, we began the process of certifying our wheat and gluten-free products through the Celiac Support Association and have achieved certification for all of our retail products. Our gluten-free items have tested externally at less than 5 PPM of gluten (the highest testing standard) and we test each batch internally using ELISA test strips, in addition to following segregation and equipment wash-down procedures that prevent gluten contamination.
Yes, many of our foodservice products are gluten-free, like the Meatless Burger, Portobello Mushroom Burger, Spicy Black Bean Burger and Meatless Chicken Strips. As well as being gluten-free, we offer soy-free options like our Chickpea Sweet Potato Burger and Quinoa Chia Burger.
Using a process we’ve perfected over 30-years, our tofu masters cook and grind Harro Wehrmann’s soybeans, separating the soymilk from the soy fibre (okara). The soy milk is hand-stirred and Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride are added to curd the soy milk, turning it into hand-cut blocks of tofu in a process similar to cheese-making. Harro’s Ontario Certified Organic soybeans are used to make all of our tofu products in both retail, foodservice and private label!
Cellulose Gum or Modified Vegetable Gum is a gluten-free ingredient made from plant fibre that we use to hold several of our products together. Most vegetarian and vegan burgers are bound by and based on wheat gluten and therefore, are not gluten-free. Cellulose Gum (sometimes called Modified Vegetable Gum) gives our products their famous “bite”, that chewy, resistant mouth-feel you get when you bite into one of our patties.
Our product development team is always looking for and testing alternative ingredients that will also meet all of our high standards, i.e. Non-GMO Project verification, gluten-free, kosher, halal, vegan etc.
The caramel colour we use in only two or our products is a Non-GMO Project Verified ingredient made from cane sugar. Our development team is experimenting with blackstrap molasses as a possible colouring for these two items, our Original Griller and our Mongolian BBQ Meatless Beef.
Sol Cuisine products do not contain any hexane. Hexane is a solvent commonly used to extract oil; for example, to separate the protein from the oil in soybeans. There is no hexane in the soy protein concentrate or in our products.
No, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is its own flowing salt form of the isolated glutamic acid compound. Yeast Extract is a full protein made up of many organic compounds and has a full amino acid profile. Why does the general public have a misconception that YE is not acceptable on a food label? Yeast extract, in part, utilizes the amino acid of glutamic acid to enhance flavour along with many other essential and non-essential amino acids that carry nutritional benefits. MSG is an isolated form of the singular, non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. The misconception has been in relating the two and believing that an AYE will impart similar concentration levels and isolated forms of this compound.
It’s about offering a wide variety of vegan food choices that people love. It’s also about time; we’ve been at this for a good long time - over three decades - and our commitment shows in each and every one of our products. We’re dedicated to providing you with mouth-watering choices developed with uncompromising texture and flavor. We started out in 1980 with a passion for providing healthy, great tasting vegan foods and today that passion is just as strong.