Calgary native Anna Jane Daklala, founder and creator of Secret Foods, dreamed of bringing a part of her childhood to life with a fresh take. Noticing a gap in the traditional condiment market, she set out to create a clean, all-natural, plant-based alternative.
When Daklala made the big leap of taking her tahini sauces to market last year, one of her first retail partners and biggest supporters was Calgary’s beloved Lina’s Italian Market, specialists for more than 28 years in quality grocery items with a focus on Italian and European items.
“Supporting a local product that fits within our selection like Secret Foods makes perfect sense,” said Matthew Rai, general manager at Lina’s. “It’s been a pleasure to work with Anna and see a quality product grow right here in our city.”
With the help and support of retailers like Lina’s, Secret Foods continues to see success and retail expansion in Alberta and beyond, helping provide Secret Foods with the traction needed to score high-profile opportunities like its recent participation in Arlene Dickenson’s (of Dragon’s Den) Venturepark Labs business accelerator program, as well as Shopify’s invite-only Shopify for Startups program.
“Having this level of support from major retailers, business heavyweights and industry giants has been wild,” said Daklala. “This kind of support from the beginning is definitely a part of the reason we are now in over 150 stores across Alberta, and we’re excited to continue to grow across Canada!”
Daklala believes in keeping Secret Foods’ recipes true to their traditional roots, while adding a modern and unique twist. The tahini sauces are made locally, a first for this kind of Mediterranean specialty food, which would typically be made overseas. Secret Foods can be found across Alberta with major retailers including Co-op, Safeway and Sobeys, as well as local specialty shops including Bite, Blush Lane and the Italian Centre Shop.