North Vancouver resident Stephanie Jackson started making vegan yogurt for herself three years ago. Now her almond yogurt and other food products are sold in several stores across Metro Vancouver.
“I have big, big goals,” Jackson, the owner of Crave Conscious, told the Georgia Straight by phone from her home. “I’d love to have this yogurt available to more and more people, and I’d love for people to see it as an alternative for them—even non-vegan people.”
Last summer, Crave Conscious entered the market with its plain Almond Yoga yogurt. Since then, the business has added yogurt flavoured with real vanilla, fruit-flavoured yogurt drinks (lime, blueberry, and pear), and granola, cookies, and cookie bake mixes based on quinoa flakes to its product line.
Jackson is vegan and comes from a family with a lot of allergies, so all Crave Conscious products are vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, and soy-free. They are also made with organic ingredients. With one employee, the business is run out of a warehouse in North Vancouver, which also rents space to local vegan company Zimt Artisan Chocolates.
According to Jackson, her Almond Yoga is different than many of the other vegan yogurts out there, because it’s also well-suited for cooking. The entrepreneur notes the plain yogurt contains just five ingredients—filtered water, organic almonds, organic brown rice, organic sugar, and bacterial cultures.
“I think there are some dessert yogurts available as vegan products in the store,” Jackson said. “But there isn’t really one that I would use for cooking or to make a tzatziki sauce. They’re still missing that strong yogurt flavour. So, aside from just having quality, simple ingredients and having a good taste—I would say a better taste—those are the reasons why I think there is space for our company.”
Crave Conscious products are available at Karmavore Vegan Shop in New Westminster, Organic Acres Market in Vancouver, MarketPlace IGA in Vancouver and Burnaby, and Fresh St. Market in West Vancouver. They can also be ordered online via the Crave Conscious website.
“All those places, we’re only there because people have requested us at the store,” Jackson said. “I always thought that the consumer had the power, and that’s why I make a lot of my choices in my lifestyle. But it is so true.”
Looking to the future, Jackson hopes to broaden distribution in the Lower Mainland and expand sales across the border into the United States. She would also like to donate a portion of yogurt sales to the Water Project, a nonprofit organization working to improve access to clean water in Africa.
Crave Conscious has new products in the works too, according to Jackson.
“The main things that we’re working on is recipes for people, so they can use the yogurt at home to create stuff,” Jackson said. “We’re working on some cheeses, and we’re going to see what we can create with that.”