Feeding Growth: How to Scale Your Progressive Food Business

Posted on 12/05/2018 by Left Coast

Our Director of Operations, Ali Samei, recently spoke at UBC’s Feeding Growth 5-part workshop series, called Scale Your Progressive Food Business. (Can you get more progressive than hearing from someone from a brand called Hippie Snacks? :))

Speaking on the Sourcing & Manufacturing panel, Ali had the opportunity to speak alongside Scott Diguistini from Tree Island Yogurt and Mauricio Lozano from Faculty Brewing. This was his first time at at Feeding Growth, though Ali’s also spoken at events such as Food Safety Summit (Toronto) and events at the American Society for Quality’s Vancouver chapter. Left Coast has actually hosted Feeding Growth events in 2015 and 2016!

We talk to Ali about his thoughts for helping progressive change-makers starting out in the food businesses.

What was your experience like speaking at Feeding Growth and meeting new business owners?

Good to meet all these enthusiastic entrepreneurs doing their best to move their companies forward. Having worked with many entrepreneurs in my career, it was like déjà vu for me when they were talking about their challenges.

For businesses starting out, what are some operational things entrepreneurs should consider?

There can be many but two of the important ones are:

    1. Know the true, accurate, and fully loaded cost of products (profit vs no profit)
    2. Figure out the process capability to meet customer demand


Ali Samei, Director of Operations at Left Coast Naturals


The series is called “Scale Your Progressive Food Business.” What’s the best way to scale while bootstrapping?

There are so many resources available to the entrepreneurs, financial grants as well as technical advisory. They really need to engage and utilize those resources as much as possible. Professional associations (BC Food Processors Association), Educational institutes (UBC, BCIT), Government websites (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) can provide good information on available resources to help entrepreneurs learn about what is available to them.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about being in operations?

Accept Murphy’s law and have a plan C ready—because plans A & B could likely be gone!

If you could create any progressive food product and take it to market without having to worry about scaling operations, what would it be?

Well, If I am not going to worry about scaling up the operations, meaning the product can be available anytime and at any requested volume and quantity… I’d use 3D printing to make burgers!

For more information, check out UBC’s Feeding Growth series.

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