Homegrown Business: Dana VanVeller of Brightside Foods

Brightside Foods is a Vancouver-based, women-owned, food brand intent on stocking your freezers with handy and delicious meals that will make your life easier. They offer high-quality, locally-made, meals that bring the dine-out experience into your home kitchen. We had a great talk with Dana VanVeller, Owner and Manager of Brightside Foods to learn more about their business.

Brightside Foods

What is your business called and what does it do?

We are Brightside Foods, a Vancouver-based frozen food brand. We bring sunshine to your freezer by making handy and delicious meals to make your life easier.

What made you want to do this work?

We’re a team of three from the restaurant industry (The Burrow Restaurant), and we wanted to bring high-quality, restaurant-style burritos to the home freezer. We saw a need arise during the pandemic for easy at-home meal solutions. The next step was obvious.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Frozen food is often assumed to be of low quality or poor flavour, but freezing food is actually a great way to preserve the quality and nutrition of food and reduce food waste. Our products are perfectly preserved for you until the exact moment you need them. We want to revolutionize the frozen aisle, by offering high-quality, locally-made, meals that bring the dine-out experience into your home kitchen.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our products are perfect for busy people! We have families who feed Brightside to their kids or teenagers, we’ve got career-focused people who need easy fuel, and we’ve got active people who need to replenish after a day on the trails. Cooking and eating is a daily task. We’re for the people who want to offload that task every so often but still want to eat well and enjoy their meal.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We sell food! Mostly, we sell food to grocery stores, and then those grocery stores sell that food to consumers. But we also attend markets and festivals where we get to sample and sell directly to consumers. A few cafes and breweries heat and serve our products as well.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

You can find us at 60+ locations across the province. Check out our map!

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

A prospective customer might first see us on the shelf and note that our product is at a higher price than the other frozen burritos they see. We’d point out that gram for gram, we are likely to have a very similar price. Our products are about 2.5x the size of a typical frozen burrito–meant to be a full, complete meal. You can also easily cut ours in half and serve it with a side to feed two people. Really, it’s a great deal for a handmade, nutrient-rich meal that will fill you up.

Brightside Foods

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part is watching people’s faces when they try our food for the first time. The worst part is managing all the supply chain and inflation issues of the last year. On that note, the other best part is owning a business with two other people who I love and enjoy working with. Moving through the various problems that arise is extra satisfying when we come through as a solid team.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

What’s another name for a frozen burrito? A Burrrrrrito.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram and visit our website and sign up for the newsletter.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Dageraad Brewing in Burnaby makes some of the best beer in the Lower Mainland (proof: they were Canadian Brewery of the Year in 2018). They just started serving our Pinto Pockets and Vegan Pinto Pockets on their tasting room menu. I can’t think of a better combo than a couple of their Belgian-style brews and our crispy, cheesy Pinto Pocket dipped in our Habanero Hot Sauce. Take a little field trip to Dageraad–it’s super close to the Production Way Skytrain station.