For Raveen and Shane Kullar, unique needs deserve unique solutions – and fortunately for their Burnaby-based business, finding unique solutions is what IAF is all about!

So when the dynamic duo decided to create an innovative meal replacement drink that diabetic and pre-diabetic consumers can confidently enjoy, we were only too happy to offer project support to pilot, demonstrate and commercialize Zuun Nutrition.

Now after two years and two innovation projects, the Whole Food Meal Replacement is headed for stores this July! For the first time ever, diabetic British Columbians can access a convenient, local, all-natural, whole-food based alternative that can optimize blood sugar and sustain energy when combined with a well-balanced healthy meal plan.

“We’ve managed to utilize a blend of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber and omega acids to provide the equivalent of a full meal’s worth of calories and nutrients, including a full serving of fruits and vegetables,” explains Raveen Kullar, adding that the project was deeply personal to him and his family given their own struggle with diabetes.

With their ongoing frustration with carb counting and meal replacement, the Kullars wanted to be the first to develop an effective, all-natural product to help people thrive within the diabetic community.

“We were desperate to find a convenient option that met our nutritional requirements, but the only options we could find were either full of preservatives and fillers or lacking in crucial carbohydrate energy,” Raveen recalls.

Their new power shakes will fill a sizable gap in the market for diabetic consumers, which according to the Canadian Diabetes Association has more than doubled since 2000 (and is expected to increase by another 1.5 million people by 2020).

Soon to be available in chocolate or vanilla at local retailers like Choices Markets (as well as at myzuun.com), Zuun is the only available whole food sourced blend that contains slow and steady releasing complex carbohydrates and a complete protein blend, with healthy fats and high fiber to boot.

“Zuun Nutrition has an optimal glycemic response in the human body,” says Raveen. “It provides rich nutrition and steady carbohydrate energy without hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic effects on blood sugar levels.”

As they approach their launch date, the Kullars credit a number of project activities for enhancing their market prospects, including pilot trials at key retailers and farmers markets, a new website, product packaging and a digital marketing campaign, all of which enabled them to connect with hundreds of retailers interested in listing their product.

Raveen and Shane are especially pleased they were able to secure a contract with a 100 percent BC operated manufacturer that employs well over 150 local residents. If all continues to go well, Raveen is optimistic that this single new product will help support the local economies and small retail business owners throughout BC, as it allows them to carry a product unique from what is currently available in the mass market.

“We are confident that the commercialization of this product will help build BC’s reputation as a leader in health and lifestyle oriented products,” he declares, noting that they are anticipating company expansion and job creation, with potentially new and similarly healthy product lines in the future.

For more information about innovation funding visit iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/innovation/

Funding: $52,245 provided by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through Growing Forward 2, a former federal-provincial-territorial initiative. (INN255/INN328)