Kelowna company raising the bar in the food industry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna company raising the bar in the food industry

Image Credit: SoLo Energy Bar
October 19, 2016 - 1:39 PM

Saul Katz, founder of SoLo GI Energy Bars, has one goal: to make a real difference in people's health.

SoLo GI Nutrition is a small business based in Kelowna that is helping athletes and regular people all over Canada with its innovative energy bars manufactured specifically to deliver sustained energy and satiety, while keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Katz did not start with dreams of entrepreneurship or owning a small business. After practising law for many years, he wanted to do more and leave a lasting positive legacy. When he heard about the work the University of Toronto was doing around the glycemic index - a way of measuring a food's impact on a person's blood glucose level - he decided to switch careers. He thought that making food products that addressed how people fuel their bodies between meals was an important endeavour, particularly considering the rising interlinked epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

Katz's company started out researching energy bar development for large pharmaceutical companies. Even though he was helping create energy bars, the quality of ingredients and the recipes of products on the market needed improvement. Most energy bar companies mill grains and nuts into a paste to create their bars, meaning the digestive system does not have to break down the food. The result is that the energy in the bar ends up being absorbed by the body too quickly.

SoLo GI Energy bars are designed to negate the "spike, crash and crave" often caused by other energy bars, providing the user with sustained energy, something that is needed by endurance athletes, weekend warriors, and people requiring a between-meal snack. Word of SoLo's functional benefits and great taste spread quickly.

Since its launch in 2013 at the Canadian Health Food Show in Vancouver, SoLo Bar has attracted accolades and gained broad distribution. Today, SoLo is the bar of choice for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Kelowna Rockets, Olympians such as B.C.'s Kelsey Serwa and endurance athletes like ultra marathoner Dennene Huntly.

The product has uses beyond the athletic arena. SoLo has found its way into the Canadian military's survival training kits and into a NASA-funded project that saw six scientists inhabit a space dome for one year while simulating Mars-like living experiences on a barren part of Hawaii's Mauna Loa.

Recently, SoLo GI secured funding from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, a fund created by the Province that helps SoLo GI, and companies like it, expand their operations, while promoting jobs and economic diversification in the Interior. SoLo GI was also approved for B.C.'s provincial Venture Capital Program, allowing investors to receive a 30% refundable tax credit on their investment. Being a part of the Venture Capital Program enables SoLo GI to bring on more investors to grow its business, while continuing to contribute to B.C.'s strong economy and workforce.

"B.C. is an amazing province in which to do business, in part because of government programs like the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and Venture Capital programs," Katz said. "SoLo GI is focused on improving people's lives, and with the help of provincial programs to grow the business, we are able to provide a quality product for people in British Columbia, across Canada and soon in the United States as well."

SoLo GI wants both its customers and their local communities to thrive. The company gives back to the Okanagan by sponsoring health-promoting activities including amateur sports such as hockey, baseball and cycling.

"Small businesses like SoLo GI are incredibly important to B.C.'s growing economy because they help create jobs, build industries and bolster communities throughout the province," said Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. "B.C.'s manufacturing sector and innovative companies, like SoLo GI, invest many years of research and development before getting their industry leading products to market. This dedication often results in products that are unique and revolutionize industries."

Katz's company is an excellent example of a small business that shows the strength of this sector in B.C. - recognized by the government having proclaimed Oct. 9-15, 2016, as Manufacturing Week in B.C., and October as B.C. Small Business Month.

SoLo GI Nutrition is continuing to expand due to the success of its product and assistance offered by the Province.

Click here to learn more about SoLo GI Nutrition.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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