In the 90s, Tatiana Bossy and her husband, Bernard Le Grand, founded a company offering high quality foods out of a desire to promote the pleasure (and benefits) of eating well amongst a wider public. Today the couple have launched a new phase in their company’s growth thanks to the new vegan foods niche.
The leading edge of green
Bernard Le Grand was a musician as a young man, specifically a rock and jazz drummer. Other than his passion for music, he was also very interested in the benefits of healthy food. In order to earn a bit of money, he launched a small company in the 90s providing ready-made sandwiches and fresh salads, all organic, featuring healthy ingredients (Bernard was offering sprouted quinoa well before it was cool) and delivered by bicycle to natural food stores in the Greater Montreal region.
Bernard met Tatiana Bossy a little while later. The couple started a family and continued their interest in the close relationship between diet and health. At the time Bernard had started making pesto and Tatiana supported him in sales. Motivated by their mission to help people get into better shape and by the public’s enthusiasm for their product, the couple founded a company in 1998, which was artisanal at the time, called Maison Le Grand.
Developing a range of products
Since its beginnings, Maison Le Grand has always offered fresh products, which is a particular challenge in the food sector. Because it’s hard to find subcontractors to produce recipes and maintain quality control, the company has always been its own manufacturer, which enables the supervision of all aspects of product production every week, all year long.
In 2005, Maison Le Grand started selling its products in the U.S., establishing the more major production infrastructure that was needed along the way. This was what led the entrepreneurs to build a production facility in Blainville to tackle the next phase of their growth.
Faced with notably higher fixed costs, as well as consumers’ growing interest in healthy food, the entrepreneurs decided to diversify and offer a wider range of products. As a chef specializing in vegetarian foods, Bernard went back to the drawing table. “Bernard has always developed the products we offer,” explains Tatiana. “He isn’t a professional musician anymore, instead he channels his creativity into food.” He created soups, hummus and sauces, some of which were only available for a certain period, others having withstood the test of time. Recently the company also launched two new pestos and completely revamped its recipe for sundried tomato pesto in order to make it lower calorie and include the benefits of fermented vegetables (housemade, naturally).
Tatiana Bossy places a lot of importance on the fact that every product created by Maison Le Grand comes from a desire to offer healthy, accessible alternative foods to the public that are also delicious.
Vegetarian dairy products
In the same vein, Maison Le Grand launched a completely new range of “dairy” products in 2019 that are vegetable based. Cheeses, yogurts and, soon, butters will be added to their catalogue of products distributed throughout the country and in the U.S.
In order to differentiate themselves and fulfill the strict criteria they have established in terms of the health benefits of their products, all their recipes are free of thickeners and added flavourings. Tatiana firmly believes that sticking with plant-based foods will enable Maison Le Grand to differentiate itself in the market and successfully convince more people of the benefits of eating well.
“To counteract the harmful effects of stress and pesticides, for example, it’s important to eat well and as organically as possible. That’s why we want to make organic foods as affordable as possible. We create these products first for ourselves, but we want to also help people become healthier.”
Becoming a leader in the sector
In addition to being distributed in many grocery stores and other points of sale specializing in natural foods, Maison Le Grand’s products are all available in IGA stores in Quebec and in Sobeys in Canada, as well as through a number of American chains.
In the next few years, the founders intend to increase their market share on the East and West Coasts of Canada and the United States. In Western Canada, for example, where people love healthy foods, there’s no lack of enthusiasm. To accomplish this goal, Maison Le Grand will continue to increase its range of “dairy” products while working on becoming a leader in the sector. “We want to become a trusted brand that is known for caring about its products and its customers,” explains Tatiana.
To help them get there, Tatiana is focusing on content and education. Whether through Instagram, partnerships with other brands or its new website, Maison Le Grand intends to break through the sea of content.
“There are so many websites and influencers today… How can you differentiate yourself? By sharing. We believe that by putting vegetables at the centre of everything we do and by extolling the virtues of how easy it is to eat mainly plant foods, we’ll have an interesting voice.”
Maison Le Grand in Numbers
30: Approximate number of people working at the Maison Le Grand production facility
19: Number of products distributed
9: Number of products in their new “dairy” line
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