Celebrating Another Year at Sol Cuisine: Sol Through the Years
Happy summer SOLstice 2012, Sol-mates!
Each year around June 21st, we take the time to celebrate and reflect upon how much we’ve grown during the past 12 months. This year, we’ve decided to crack open the Sol Cuisine vault to show all of you the branding and ads that brought us to where we are today. So, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to visit Sol Cuisine’s early beginnings so we can celebrate our successes (and laugh at our blunders). Get ready for some veggie nostalgia!
Back in 1997, our president, Dror Balshine, was looking for a name for his burgeoning vegetarian foods company. The first iteration was ‘Second Nature’ and the very first logo created was inspired by… (go ahead and take a not-so-wild guess). Yes, of course, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (Dror’s a huge fan, clearly).
Dror is featured on the right!
If you couldn’t tell, Dror and his past business partner wanted to be the Ben & Jerry of the veggie burger world, “no bones about it”!
Below is yet another Ben & Jerry’s inspired logo; Dror is on the right, trying to pass off his grey hairs as blonde. We’re no fools! We joke, he’s got a full head of BROWN hair.
In the late 1990′s when cows seemed to be “in style” we incorporated happy cows into our packaging. Not being turned into a burger would make us happy, too!
Later, we scaled back on the cows (phew!) but kept the shining sun logo. Radiant, no?
By the way, we think a movement needs to be started to bring back this delicious looking Wheatberry Mexican Pilaf shown above! Yum!
Dror eventually merged Second Nature with Soy City Foods, creating the need for another company name that could be trademarked in the US, as well as Canada. Unfortunately (at least it seemed so at the time), Second Nature was already trademarked in the US and our team was put to the task of renaming. This set-back was ultimately a blessing in disguise and after a few vetoed names (like Nature’s Ultimate, for example) the team decided on Sol Cuisine:
S – for sustainability
O – for organic
and L – for local
We finally had a name that encompassed all the values our company continues to uphold, and luckily, the trademark was available!
You can see the inspiration for our current logo in the swirling sun design of the Second Nature logo.
The Sol Cuisine logo lit up a farm-inspired landscape on our packaging (minus the cows), and under this brand name we gained a place on the shelves of Canada’s top retailers (Loblaws, Sobey’s, Metro, Superstore, Safeway, Overwaitea, etc.) and Canada’s best independent natural health stores (Planet Organic, Choices, The Big Carrot, etc.). Most importantly, we gained a place on the tables and in the hearts of Sol Cuisine’s many fans.
When we decided to bring our nutritious and delicious vegan protein products across the border into the US, we knew we had some work to do. Our products had to stand out on shelf to an audience that often had a wider selection of veggie options to choose from. We were competing against big, established brands owned by multinational corporations so we knew our package had to tell our story. It was a David vs. Goliath scenario but we were up for the challenge.
We brainstormed and sketched – what were we to emphasize? how were we to look? – then we brainstormed and sketched some more. Finally, with the help of theadlibgroup (who actually won a Silver Summit International Award for their work on our packaging), we developed a vision for our new look. We used fun, bright colours to make our logo pop, our brand stand out and highlight the nutritional benefits and health attributes of each product. Our packaging, while colourful, still helped our consumers recognize and differentiate between our products. We rolled out with 6 of our frozen products and within 6 months we brought in another two at Whole Foods Market’s request.
The new look was a success! Whole Foods Market stores across the US told us how well the public was responding, especially since we were new to the US market. Having tested out our new packaging with our American friends, we brought it home to Canada. Our Canadian retailers and distributors loved the look and we’ve launched 9 of our Canadian products with the new packaging so far.
Looking back at where our company started makes us that much more appreciative of how far we’ve come. We couldn’t be more excited about the growth we’ve experienced this year, both in Canada and the US. Thanks for being a part of that growth and for sharing the Sol love!
May this summer season (and the whole next year) bring you happiness, health and prosperity – we look forward to sharing the next 12 months with all of you!