In Ottawa there is a very limited number of vegan restaurants, but what’s even more limited are the number of vegan bakeries.
Amanda Lunan wanted to change that.
A 2007 graduate from Algonquin’s entrepreneurship program was fed up with the lack of choices for local vegan baked goods and decided she would open her own vegan bakery.
“I have been obsessed with food my entire life,” said Lunan. “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t – when I wake up in the morning the first thing I think of is what I’m cooking for dinner.”
Lunan became vegetarian at a very young age and then transitioned to vegan. She has always been infatuated by food and her passion for baking stemmed from the days she used to spend making baked goods with her nana.
While she was in school, she and four other students did a project that involved developing a business plan for one of their courses. That project became the business plan for Lunan’s bakery, Auntie Loo’s Treats.
“It was portions of that plan that landed me my first loan,” said Lunan.
Auntie Loo’s Treats has been in operation since Lunan’s graduation in 2007 and the demand for vegan baked goods has grown significantly since then.
The demand has even spread to Algonquin’s campus.
“Someone from the college tweeted that there weren’t enough vegan options on campus and that they should start selling Auntie Loo’s Treats,” said Lunan. “I commented on it because I was tagged and I said that I’d be interested. Not even an hour later I had an email from the college inviting me for a meeting the next day.”
Rebecca Leblanc agrees.
Leblanc is a business marketing student who is gluten intolerant and also has a severe allergy to dairy. She said up until she discovered Auntie Loo’s Treats she always had a hard time finding baked goods that were safe for her to eat.
“I’m thrilled (her treats) are being sold at Algonquin now because I am hooked,” said Leblanc.
Lunan said the feedback from students at the college has been tremendous so far. The demographic on campus is right for the brand and the response has been positive.
Auntie Loo’s Treats are being sold at various locations on campus. Alicia Willmott is an employee at The Tea Shoppe and a second-year business administration student. She said there has been a demand for Auntie Loo’s Treats since they arrived on campus.
“People love the chocolate peanut butter bars especially,” said Willmott. “We usually have to restock those every day.”
Willmott says that her favorite treat is the chocolate chip cookies. She’s surprised at how a vegan cookie can be so moist.
When Lunan isn’t working she is usually looking at food blogs for new vegan recipes or recipes that she can potentially veganize. She and her team at the bakery are always coming up with new ideas for products to launch.
“It’s amazing to me how quickly this deal went down and I can’t think of a bigger honour than to go back and sell at Algonquin College,” said Lunan.
“The profs and the school were very good to me and they really helped me become the business person that I am now.”