Outcast Foods: Transforming Imperfections into Sustainable Delights

Originally Published: Monday, October 18, 2021

In 2017, the founders of Outcast Foods, Darren Burke and TJ Galiardi, embarked on a mission to combat food waste by upcycling visually imperfect or unsellable produce. Their venture involves partnering with grocers, farmers, food producers, and manufacturers across Canada to repurpose unwanted produce into protein powders, dietary supplements, and other plant-based ingredients for wholesale, retail, and consumer use.

Recognized as pioneers in the upcycled food category, Outcast Foods currently operates from its Dartmouth facility and is in the process of constructing a 46,000-square-foot facility in Burlington, Ontario.

CEO Darren Burke, holding a PhD in Exercise Physiology and specializing in supplement development for human clinical trials, was named a finalist in the EY “Entrepreneur of the Year” Atlantic program in June 2021. TJ Galiardi, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and a former NHL forward, shares the founders’ commitment to promoting sustainable and healthy lifestyles.

The genesis of Outcast Foods emerged from the duo’s observation of significant food waste and their desire to provide a solution. Their innovative approach involves dehydrating fruits and vegetables, giving them a two- to three-year shelf life. This unique proposition presented a substantial opportunity, considering no one else was pursuing a similar path at the time.

The pandemic unexpectedly catalyzed positive changes in the business landscape, leading companies to reevaluate their supply chains and seek local suppliers. Galiardi notes that consumers are also becoming more conscious of their purchasing decisions and their environmental impact.

In a landmark development for Outcast Foods, the company recently closed a $10 million financing round, with District Ventures Capital leading the investment with $5 million, matched by a $5 million contribution from BDC. The company’s growth trajectory includes a planned entry into the US market and further expansion across Canada.

Galiardi acknowledges the significant support received from NSBI (Nova Scotia Business Inc.), highlighting the invaluable assistance provided through programs such as Trade Market Intelligence, Scotians Global Advisors, and the Business Development Program. The Small Medium Enterprise Innovation Rebate Program, offering a $500,000 rebate, has played a pivotal role in facilitating the expansion of their Burnside facility in Dartmouth and boosting export capabilities.

Galiardi emphasizes that Outcast Foods’ impact extends beyond its products. By saving farms and businesses money through waste reduction, generating positive PR, and reducing food waste in collaboration with partners, the company is fostering a chain of positive effects. Every Outcast Foods product purchase contributes to the broader mission of reducing food waste and promoting sustainability.

To delve deeper into the insightful world of Dr. Darren Burke and stay updated on his latest thoughts, discoveries, and professional endeavors, be sure to follow his blog and connect with him on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. Your journey into the realms of knowledge and innovation awaits!