Queen Street Bakery, a Toronto-based business specializing in gluten-free products, today announced it has secured a new strategic equity partner in District Ventures Capital (“District Ventures”) – a consumer goods venture capital fund led by Canadian investor and entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson.
Established in 2018, Queen Street Bakery focuses on creating gluten-free products from functional ingredients like chia flour and bean flour. In the last six months alone, Queen Street Bakery has grown their distribution by over 1,000%, from just 50 stores in the GTA to over 1,000 stores Canada-wide. Their customers include leading Canadian retailers such as Loblaws, Sobeys, Whole Foods, Farm Boy and Choices Markets.
“While the love of bread is universal, the ability to consume it isn’t. Queen St. Bakery has created innovative products that consumers with gluten intolerance and personal preferences are interested in and have uniquely positioned themselves in the market” said Arlene Dickinson, General Partner of District Ventures Capital. “We are delighted to partner with a company that doesn’t only create high quality products for those who already eat gluten-free, but an alternative for anyone who has an on-again/off-again relationship with bread.”
Historically thought of as a niche product for those with allergies or intolerance, gluten-free products are starting to become adopted by the mainstream. Since 2011, the gluten-free market has rapidly grown from $1.7 billion USD to $3.5 billion USD in 2016 and is forecasted to grow to $4.7 billion USD by the end of 2020 (SOURCE).
Giovanni Angelucci, founder and CEO of Queen St Bakery, believes the gluten-free market has been a sleepy industry, ripe for innovation.
“We’ve replaced inflammatory ingredients like wheat, rice and corn, the base for both traditional and gluten-free bread, with ingredients like chia and beans. Canadians now have an option that is full of plant-based nutrients, has four times the fibre of whole wheat bread and that promotes gut health. And with the help of District Ventures, we will now be able to get our message and product to even more people across the country”.
Public interest in bread and baking has reached an all-time high in recent months. Since March 2020, yeast products have consistently sold out across the country (SOURCE), breadmaking machines have become the most in demand product on Amazon (SOURCE) and focaccia flower art has taken social media by storm (SOURCE). This coupled with fact that the Canadian Celiac Association estimates that 80-90% of Canadians living with celiac disease haven’t being diagnosed creates an opportunity for continued and exponential growth for Queen Street Bakery.
“I am not gluten intolerant, I just wanted to eat bread again without feeling terrible” said Angelucci. “I quickly realized there were others out there who felt the same way. Making feel good food that changes how these people think about bread is what keeps us motivated.”