As a nearly century-old company with a ground-breaking new product, Sunny Boy Foods Ltd. is straddling a fascinating line between past and future. “The company basically started out as a flour mill in Camrose, Alberta, 96 years ago,” says Dean De Benedetto, Sunny Boy’s Sales and Marketing Manager. “But Nutrastat is the direction of where we’re going in the future.”
What is Nutrastat? It’s a new fibre supplement made from premium barley beta-glucan that promotes gut health, heart health, and stabilizes blood sugar. And Sunny Boy is the only company that offers it because they’re the only ones who have figured out how to extract it in a natural, cost-effective manner.
“When you think of this kind of supplement, you think of a product like Metamucil, which is made from psyllium. Now, psyllium is tough to get; you need all these chemicals to process it. It also tastes quite bitter, so psyllium-based fibres are full of additives, sugars, and colourants. And it doesn’t dissolve in water, so it’s like drinking a glass of sand.”
Beta-glucan, on the other hand, has all the health benefits of psyllium, but it’s neutral tasting and water-soluble, so it is incredibly versatile in its usage. Best of all? Sunny Boy can extract it from the barley grain without the use of chemicals or solvents.
“Our biggest challenge was figuring out how to get the beta-glucan from the barley in a way that wasn’t unhealthy or too expensive. A few years ago, a food scientist at the University of Alberta cracked the code and found a way to dry-extract it using only air. You put the grain in a special kind of hopper, spin it, and it breaks apart the grain in such a way that we’re able to take away the beta-glucan.”
With such a valuable and exciting new product to share, Sunny Boy’s team wanted the rollout to make a real impact. That’s part of why they recruited Dean; he had a background in product launches gained from years at juggernaut companies like Kraft. Dean knew that the launch needed one asset in particular: a POP display for each of their retail partners. To create this, he reached out to Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC).
“We needed something eye-catching that would get our product into stores without taking shelf space from them. So far, we’re in 100 stores in the Alberta market and we’ll double that in a few months. It’s gotten us in front of consumers in a big way. Plus, the corrugated digital display units are easy to put together and we haven’t heard one complaint from any of the stores about anything needing to be fixed or replaced. And in all my years working with companies like GLBC, this was the smoothest, easiest experience. We needed to make lots of changes and that was never an issue.”
While Nutrastat represents Sunny Boy’s future, the company’s entire product line—among which their Original Hot Cereal is a top seller—makes the team proud. The through-line for all of them is a healthy, clean, high-quality approach to the local Alberta foods any parent would feel glad to feed their family.
“This is a really locally-focused Alberta company. Whenever possible we source everything from this province. It’s all the highest-quality inputs, with no GMOs, and it’s been that way from the start, 96 years ago. It’s also affordable because we think about those families who feel pressure to buy that product that’s full of GMOs and preservatives because it’s inexpensive. We don’t want those families to have to compromise quality for the sake of price.”
We’re proud to have had a hand in creating the POP displays that are sharing Nutrastat with the world. As Sunny Boy Foods paves the way for the future of fibre, we’re in their corner all the way.