Lannie Rae Gourmet offers artisan baking mixes for waffles, pancakes, scones and beer bread. Learn more about this awesome Alberta business in our interview below.
Business Name: Lannie Rae Gourmet
Based In: Cochrane, Alberta
Lannie Rae Gourmet Baking Mixes
How would you describe your business?
I would describe our business as homespun and artisan, even though we have grown significantly! We do now have our base mix manufactured in bulk for us and we still flavour blend by hand and do all of our packaging in our kitchen space. We are a very small team and intend to remain a small, cohesive team and grow / work smarter. Machinery would be nice sooner than later though and is on our list to obtain this year! So yep – there you have it, we still do the majority of this by hand and while this builds character, we have more of the human error element to contend with every now and then.
When it comes to our supplies and materials, we strive to maintain a clean, no preservative mandate and as best as we can, keep it local as well. When we moved to manufacturing our base mix, we set parameters for our products such as non GMO, Canadian grown and milled wheat flour and sugar for example – we always try first for the beet sugar out of Taber, Alberta. Occasionally supply chain issues dictate minor shifts, however we always endeavour to stay the course. We also love to collaborate on a local level and create products with small farmers and foragers (I am a forager myself). Our flavourings are carefully chosen and curated. They are plant based and allergen free and are true to taste. It is our flavouring combinations that help us stand out. We are incredibly creative and while we can’t launch everything as quickly as we would like to, the list is sky high when it comes to the amount of ideas we have for flavours and products!
We also strive to be dietary inclusive as much as possible. We chose to go nut free just over a year ago. We are also soy and sulphate free. Our original products started on a more instant path with ingredients like buttermilk powder and egg powder already inside. We decided to remove those and we shifted towards semi-instant a long time ago so that those with egg or dairy allergies or vegan diets could create and enjoy our products with their own suitable alternative ingredients. We thought about competing in other lanes, such as a protein based product line – it just doesn’t make sense to us to do that when our products are already capable of allowances for consumers to add whatever preferred protein powder they love. We also think there is room for a variety of products and we don’t have to be in every lane! We are indeed gluten based so we can’t accommodate gluten free diets right now. When we were much smaller we used to do gluten free mixes on special request and it is still in our future plans to revisit a gluten free collection.
I like to think that we are not just another product trying to compete for grand sales. This is also for my own mindset benefit as I am more introverted and not a very good product pusher per se. That said, I do love to inspire creativity and special moments and I am looking to share much more from my heart and kitchen more often. If our products help lend a time out for someone or add to a special occasion – that is all we are really hoping for. I prefer to have a gentle, mindful approach towards sales and marketing. I align more with a social enterprise structure as well and love to give back to our community. I think when it comes to making sales I am always hopeful that if feedback comes in that there is a beautiful shared story or photo too – I love seeing what people create and how they integrate our products into their occasions and traditions. It is a bit of a catch 22 as the more sales we do, the more we can position ourselves to give back and grow our community spirit campaigns, like Brighten Up Breakfast. Probably time to push myself out there more!
Artisan Baking Mixes Alberta
What inspired you to open your shop?
This portion of my business was birthed through the 2008 recession. When sales dropped for finished cakes, catering and so forth, we lined our shelves with all kinds of ready to take home make and bake options. We had everything you could imagine. We knew we were “competing” with Betty Crocker, however we really believed we could get by offering our customers more affordable take home options that tasted like the homestyle products we sold. These options included cake mixes, ready to use icings and fillings, cookie dough and mixes, muffin batter and mix, hot chocolate mixes, scone mixes, granola bar mix, brownie and cookie decorating kits and so on. We even did jams, jellies, infused honeys and bbq sauces, salts, sugars and rubs! It kept us really busy and we did quite well with it. The pivot got us through that recession nicely. Some day we would like to bring back a few more of those products. Time will tell!
When we sold the bakery business in 2010, we did an asset sale only and managed to retain all of our ideas, recipes and creative! Which was perfect for me as I wasn’t ready to fully let go. If I didn’t get so sick I really believe we’d still have our bakeries in Banff and would have even expanded our little “cave” concept to several outlets. I had a cookbook in the making as well! I really loved being a part of our customer’s every day lives and celebrations. Memory making and traditions inspire me to keep going. It is an incredible honour to be a part of so many of those celebrations and to be able to continue to offer all of that in the form of these mindful, tasty mixes is an incredible way to make a living!
What’s your best selling product and why do you think it’s popular?
Our best selling product in the Canadian Flapjack Maple Pancake and Waffle Mix!
While all our products seem to have their season in the sun so to speak, nation wide for gifting companies that we service, the Canadian Flapjack Maple is often chosen for its Canadian essence of maple and for it’s red Buffalo plaid package! We think the addition of oats and nutmeg make this appear like a more full bodied, hearty “stick to the ribs” breakfast and adds to the Canadiana aspect of it! It pairs well with everything and is simple enough for those afraid to try flavours! Hot on it’s heels is the Jensen’s Homestead Beer Bread Mix! Jensen’s Homestead is a sub brand of Lannie Rae Gourmet and the Beer Bread Mix is so easy to make and really delicious. It allows for all kinds of creative expression as well.
What’s your favourite product from your shop?
My personal favourite pancake and waffle mix flavour it not a big seller unfortunately! And I think it is the absolute best flavour – the Pear Frangipane Pancake and Waffle Mix. It is also my husband’s favourite! I tend to like the more gourmet, off the wall flavours – Pistachio Fig Pancake and Waffle Mix is up there and so is Cherry Amaretto! I am also really loving our scone mixes and beer bread mix. I love getting creative with those and they are regularly used by our family!
What’s your favourite local Cochrane business?
My favourite local business is a place called Spirit and Soul Healing. Kim, the woman who offers treatments is hands down the most authentic and real energy practitioner I have ever encountered. She has written several books and is just a go getter! She holds an incredible amount of wisdom and is a true inspiration. I really admire and look up to her.
I also love our local book store – Found! It is cozy and cute and such a great addition to our community.