10 to Watch Winner 2022 – Justo’s Plant-Based Dips – Douglas Magazine
Sector: Food, Retail, Consumer Goods
Year Launched: 2019
Founders: (left to right) Tyler Hosie, Justin Kopetzki, Adam Conlin and Eric Taccogna
Unique Selling Proposition: Plant-based dips with enhanced sustainability by using returnable glass jar packaging.
Strategy: Looking for partners to leverage their expertise and scalability, so that they can expand nationally.
Combining degrees in engineering and marketing, an MBA and some practical kitchen skills — plus a lot of surfing experience — four Victoria twentysomethings have dipped their creative talents into a line of plant-based, all-about-sustainability and environmental impact, dips.
In the past couple of years, Justo’s Plant-Based Dips, including several flavours of hummus, moved, from farmers’ markets to grocery store shelves all over the Island and, recently, to Vancouver, available now at more than 100 outlets.
Apart from tantalizing taste buds, Justo’s is satisfying an appetite for environmental health.
One per cent of their sales go to fund environmentally focused nonprofits (like the Plastic Credit Exchange). Another one per cent is donated to aid the community’s most vulnerable residents. And the four founders focus on a plant-based diet as a massive way to reduce environmental impact.
The dips are packaged in glass jars, 13,000 of them returned and reused since the quartet began selling them over Instagram those first few months.
Finalists for two Small Business BC Awards last year, Justo’s is poised for a crucial pivot. In order to expand nationally, they need to leverage the expertise and scalability of new partners, without letting go of the core values of sustainability.
“There’s a lot of people out there that do these things better and on a larger scale than us, and just because they don’t facilitate and have the same impact dreams that we do, from a value-added proposition, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means we have to be the voice of change,” notes Hosie. “We’re on the precipice of this growth. I think the next six months for us is the real key.”
Asked why they’ve gone the entrepreneurial route at such a young age, Conlin answers for the group.
“I want to be able to do things in my work that are fulfilling and have a purpose and an impact beyond a transaction … and I also want to have a road map to being independent, financially free and have time.”