Behind the scenes at the granola factory or why I finally raised my prices after 11 years
Posted by Jessica Duncan on
It started with the honey earlier this year. After four years of having Peace River Honey delivered in re-usable containers (zero waste!) from their facility a mere 3 blocks from SBG HQ (ridiculously low carbon!), the good folk from PRH decided to retire and for about a month I was desperately scrambling to find a viable replacement with no success. At literally the eleventh hour, a local brother and sister team who’d worked for Peace River Honey as teens, bought the company and my honey security was miraculously restored. My ingredient angels were looking out for me. Understandably, my honey costs went up 25% with the new ownership, but I was so relieved to not lose my honey supply, I was more than happy to pay this.
Then it was the canola oil. I recalled hearing a canola farmer on the CBC sometime last summer saying that a wildly high percentage of their crops had failed in the unprecedented heatwaves that hit the prairies and thinking to myself at the time that this was going to be a problem for production of Morning Chorus and Maple-Pecan Duet. Sure enough, this spring there wasn’t a drop of organic canola oil to be found. Fine. My wholesaler had plenty of organic sunflower oil in stock, so I ordered up new labels and I stockpiled the sunflower oil.
Then Putin decided to invade Ukraine, source of all things sunflower. I fully understand that Singing Bowl’s sunflower shortages are nothing compared to the tragedies befalling Ukraine, but all the same, I was like a mad woman trying to source sunflower seeds for my granola. As if by miracle, my sunflower seed prayers were answered just as we hit the very end of our supply, and I am now the proud owner of 500lb of sunflower seeds. I probably don’t need to tell you that these bad boys cost nearly double what they did in the before times.
In the meantime, somehow my wholesaler has got a hold of organic canola oil again just as the organic sunflower oil disappears.
Somewhere in all of this, sesame seeds were as hard to find as the proverbial hen’s teeth. For now, however, we seem to have a secure supply of those tasty little morsels.
Perhaps my scariest moment hit last month when I placed my usual order for 500kg of oats, but my guy at True Grain only had 100kg available. We go through an insane amount of oats at the granola factory, and suddenly I’m looking at the prospect of NO OATS! As with the canola, our oat farmers were hit hard in last summer’s heat waves, and now we were awaiting a shipment of oats from Europe. Those precious oats arrived this week, at, you guessed it, double the cost of our Canadian oats.
My precious, precious oats!
Finally, let’s talk gas prices. Every single item involved in producing everything we make is now painfully more expensive due to the drastic hike in gas prices. Every online order I ship is now 30% more expensive thanks to the added ‘fuel charge’ (head’s up if you’re ordering online – it costs approximately $15 to ship 2 boxes of granola to Ontario, and maybe $17 to ship 3 kilograms, so be sure to order big for a better deal). Rising gas prices affect every aspect of our lives, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
I’ve been holding out trying not to raise my prices, but, as with all of us, my amazing employees – the folk who make it all happen – are facing higher living expenses every day, and I need to increase their wages. The only way to make this possible is to finally raise my prices. So, after maintaining the same prices since I started Singing Bowl Granola 11 years ago, I, unfortunately, need to charge you a little bit more to help cover the ever-increasing costs of production.
I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you who has helped keep my business afloat during these turbulent times. Now, more than ever, it is important to find those small businesses you love and show them all the support you can.
With deep gratitude,
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- Tags: buy local, BuyBC, Community, Conscious Consumers, Female Entrepreneur, Food production, Food security, independent businesses, Local Food, Small Business, Small scale food processors, Supply chain issues
Thanks Jessica for sharing your knowledge and insight onto the global/local food shortages scene. You are a gift to Vancouver Island and well…the world. You are a good news story in this world of bad news. xoxo-D