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Soylutions: Here's Looking at YÉ?

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Quebec-based soybean exporter Luc Labbé had long dreamed about getting into the soy food manufacturing business, but he wanted to wait until the time was right.

Quebec-based soybean exporter Luc Labb?ad long dreamed about getting into the soy food manufacturing business, but he wanted to wait until the time was right.

That time came in 2003, when the trademark to the Y?line of organic soy and rice-based beverages became available. Labb?napped up the rights to the Y?line, bought a state-of-the-art grain beverage processing plant located just north of Quebec City, and made his dream a reality.

In the following months, Labb? company, Soylutions, worked on the formula and packaging of the Y?beverages. Then, in August 2004, he re-launched the Y?line, and sales have been skyrocketing ever since.

"We've improved the taste and texture of the drink," explains Caroline Dorval, marketing director for Soylutions. "It's much more uniform in texture." Dorval says that consumers have responded positively to the changes Soylutions has made to the original Y?line.

In March 2005 the company came out with two new "soy latte" products: Soy Latte Chai Tea and Soy Latte Green Tea. Both are infused with real tea and natural spices. It also recently introduced its new "Earth Shake" line of drinks, available in original, vanilla, and chocolate flavours. "The Earth Shake drinks are aimed at the entire family, including kids," says Dorval.

Not Only for Vegetarians

According to Dorval, soy products in the past were mainly aimed at vegetarians as most non-vegetarians weren't interested in buying products such as soy drinks or soy-based veggie burgers. However, in recent years mainstream shoppers have become more interested in buying soy products for health-related reasons, and therefore Soylutions is introducing their products to a now much larger mainstream market.

Y?is the only soy drink in Canada that's certified organic for all its flavours. The Y?basmati rice beverages are certified "Healthy Grain" by Quebec's agricultural board, meaning that the grains are non-GMO and grown without chemicals.

"Basically, the difference between certified organic and certified 'Healthy Grain' is that organic farmers have to wait five years for their certification, while Healthy Grain farmers have to be chemical-free for only one year to be certified," Dorval explains.

Healthy Product, Great Taste

Soylutions is the only company in Canada that has the capacity to use the same equipment to make beverages from soy as well as from grains such as rice, oats, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth.

Dorval says the company is determined to provide the best taste possible, but refuses to compromise on nutrition. "We manufacture the healthiest products and don't add extra sugar or any artificial ingredients," Dorval claims. "We believe that when you consume healthy products and get enough exercise, then you will be healthy and won't need extra supplements in your diet."

And where does Soylutions see itself in the future?

"We want to continue making products for the whole family," Dorval states. "We aim to become one of the most important health food manufacturers in Canada."

In fact, the company has plans to introduce new products to its Earth Shake line in the near future.

"You'll find them in the dessert section," Dorval hints.

Soylutions products are available in natural health stores as well as major supermarket chains throughout Canada.

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