For the average, health-conscious consumer, making healthy choices while shopping at the market can become a head-scratcher. This is specifically true in supermarket aisles, where shelves are lined with bright and shiny packaging yet packed with ingredients we can barely pronounce. Finding a healthy snack or a late-night indulgence seems impossible without getting cross-eyed from comparing a handful of nutritional labels.
Maju Perez Epagna was in these similar shoes. Her greatest guilty pleasure was no other than a decadent, smooth, dark chocolate bar which she could break off a chunk after meals, eat for breakfast with her coffee, or as a sweet finish to a heavy dinner.
This magnificent creation, she thought, was sadly impossible to find a healthy, natural and genuinely guiltless version of. The "healthy" versions at the grocery stores were laced with odd ingredients and artificial sugars to give it that prestigious "keto" or zero sugar designation—or had enough sugar in it for an entire daily recommendation.
That's why she decided to create a healthy chocolate she could enjoy. Paying homage to her abode in Peru, all the cocoa beans used in Green Sun chocolates are sourced ethically on Peruvian cocoa farms. Today, her mission has transpired into something far greater than her desire. Green Sun Food's vision is to enable the average, head-scratching consumer to pick up a product they can rely on to deliver delicious satisfaction that is good for their bodies.
What inspired the founding of your brand?
I am a person who loves indulging in chocolate, but as with many chocolate lovers, I struggled to find healthy chocolates on the market that could be enjoyed without guilt.
This is how Green Sun Foods was born in Peru in 2019, a brand that introduces a different concept to the market; the proposal to enjoy good chocolate in a delicious and healthy way. It was also important to me to create a 100% natural product made of Peruvian chocolate in combination with different delicious fruits and nuts.
In 2020, I decided to move to Canada with my family in hopes of giving my children an excellent environment to grow up in. I found the opportunity to introduce Peruvian products to the Canadian market. It took years to get our visas ready to move to Canada, and we sold everything we had to move and start over here, believing in the country, the products, and our company.
The name of our company, "GREEN SUN FOODS," was inspired by my kids playing one day at the beach. GREEN resembles healthy, natural, pure, organic, and eco-friendly, and SUN represents happiness, life, joy, and family.
I have an amazing family, and they are the ones that motivate and inspire me to be a better professional, mum, friend, wife, and entrepreneur.
What are your brand's core values?
What defines us as a company is providing our customers with a high-quality, rich, healthy natural product. That is why the phrase that defines us is: "Helping people enjoy a sweet and healthy life."
The values that define us are:
RESPECT for our workers, customers, and suppliers.
COURAGE to move forward despite difficult circumstances.
INNOVATION in our products trying to satisfy more and more consumers.
FAMILY because we understand that the pillar inspires and guides our company.
GRATITUDE with Canada and all the people who support us on this path of moving Green Sun Foods forward.
Describe one way you try to keep innovating with your brand.
We try to innovate and disrupt the market with delicious and creative ideas and flavours. Every year, we look for new options, certifications, and healthier benefits. This year, we added Fair Trade and Kosher certifications to our products and aspire to launch new flavours and sugar-free options soon.
We also listen to our customers and plan to launch a smaller size and a mixed box with different flavours.
Talk about a roadblock or a challenge you faced as a business owner; have you overcome this? If so, please tell us how you did or how you're working on it.
Having your own business has a lot of highs and lows. It can get overwhelming when everyone around relies on you. I think it's very challenging to start a business, working 24/7, making decisions all the time, looking for funding and ideas, and hoping that everything goes according to plan. The journey is long, but you get to enjoy every part of the trip.
One of the most important and rewarding things about having a business is the feeling of getting things done and the satisfaction you receive from seeing your work finally paying off in terms of positive feedback and growth.
As a business owner, you must learn that this journey is not always easy, and you must keep pushing and moving forward to achieve your goals.
What inspires you to keep going every day?
My family keeps me going every day. I want to be an inspiration for them and contribute to the world, even in a small way; to help make the world a healthier place by enjoying one of the best pleasures, CHOCOLATE!!.
I want to keep developing new options and combinations to create a community that enjoys healthier snacks and chocolates without strange ingredients.
How did you know you had a good product-market fit?
I studied the market for two years before launching in Canada. At first, we started looking at healthy snacks, organic snacks, and healthy organic chocolate snacks, and we found out that the Canadian market was growing in these trends. Now everyone is looking for a healthier snack for the family, themselves, and their kids.
People are starting to understand the flavour difference between authentic dark chocolate and the average chocolate product. So, this was an excellent opportunity to introduce our unique products with real dark Peruvian chocolate and 70% dark cacao.
What are your aspirations for your brand 10 years from now?
We want to be known as an exceptional healthy chocolate snack company, and the first option someone thinks of when it comes to chocolate or a healthy snack. Our goal is to reach every target customer.