Unique Flavours, Unique Lifestyle

Unique Foods

In a sumptuous building in an exclusive hub district in a beautiful city, there’s a rare and special company. And this rare but successful company offers a number of choices that are unique, healthy and exciting…

Unique Foods isn’t that old in years but has the wisdom behind it of a team with considerable experience. The Yin and Yang partnership of brothers Josh and Jon Silver help to truly make Unique Foods a winning company to not only work for, but to welcome into any lifestyle.

After more than 17 years in the business, motivation to jump out of bed every morning comes easily to the bustling bodies in the building that houses Unique Foods. “It is a welcoming family type atmosphere here, even equipped with our own resident dog, Dexter,” shares Josh. “We love coming into work as every new day brings new challenges.

“Unique Foods is a family run business so my brother and myself see those challenges and celebrate the wins that follow together. We are about finding solutions and staying positive through any storms that may come our way, as this is such an extremely competitive industry. We have a great bunch of girls and guys that work on the promotional end of things through our sponsorship program – they are constantly doing product sampling and handing out a lot of swag and promotional merchandise. Unique has extensive social networking happening all the time, and it involves another aspect of our business in relation to the response of our ‘fans,’ seeing as how we actually get fan mail! Our social network is vast, and we boast many pages and groups featuring all our products on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on with a very large fan base, therefore having many dedicated readers every time a message is posted.”

Indeed, there are several facets of Unique Foods that have consumers raving. “With our Hype Energy Drinks, which are currently in approximately 40 countries, doing very well internationally, competing with Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster to name a few, we have to keep an edge and position ourselves in such a way that we are not just another energy drink,” explains Josh. “We act as a mini promotional agency of sorts. Urban Energy, a sub division of Hype, which is a hit pairing with fans and supporters, is available at many stores currently. Cascade Ice is a carbonated flavoured water with zero calories, and boasts several interesting and unique flavours. Venga is our half tea and half fruit juice-infused beverage, which hails from Italy and offers five different functions based on the various desires of our consumers.

“Our products tend to be high end, unique quality, with terrific functionality. Stewart’s Old Fashioned Sodas offer great nostalgic flavours since 1924 such as Orange ‘n Cream, Black Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Key Lime Soda, and Grape. AQUAhydrate, which is owned by actor Mark Wahlberg and entertainment mogul Sean Combs, is a water with electrolytes in it, and is alkaline with a high pH balance of 9+. The restorative and hydrating benefits of this water are exceptional.” The company also features another healthy beverage called Blue Monkey Coconut Water with natural electrolytes and potassium, which according to Josh Silver, “is extremely good for digestion; I just cannot say enough good about coconuts in general.”

Josh explains that, “What we here at Unique Foods are inspired by is getting the next big win and seeing people that are happy with their lifestyle choices. We as consumers need to know that a product we are buying is going to be doing something for us. ‘Is it going to make me awake, will it make me sleepy, will it offer me some vitamins I might be needing or will it replenish some much needed electrolytes?’”

Working through the ups and downs and ins and outs of this ever expanding industry brings its inevitable challenges. Unique Foods takes the approach of offering competitive pricing and top marketing. “If you support us, we in turn will support you,” says Josh. “So be it from a convenience store, coffee house establishment, gym, yoga centre, or upscale nightclub, we try to promote by offering innovative materials to the consumer. We travel in Europe and the U.S. a lot to various trade shows in order to see what’s out there, and try our best to bring new products back to our customers in Canada. We have the expertise behind what we sell, which is all encompassing, from bilingual labels (English / French) to Kosher Certification and Gluten-Free / Organic products.”

Another interesting tidbit Josh shares is that, “When Snapple came on the market years ago, my brother Jon Silver (President of Unique Foods Canada Inc.) brought this sensational beverage to Quebec, when it was just starting out. He had secured the rights for Quebec and then it just exploded.” By this time, Jon and Josh decided to get back to being a family business so they went full force with Jon handling the business end and Josh rocking the frontman position. “My love has always been Public Relations,” he shares. “Being out there with the people and getting to know them and what they like, as well as letting them get to know me, and what makes me tick; that’s what I live for. Jon is an unstoppable force behind the scenes; he has such a nose for the business and he is the guy always finding those creative solutions. We started selling Cadbury’s Stewart’s Old Fashioned Soda out of our basement, out of a garage and out of trunks of cars. No one handed our success to us; we went around, knocked on doors, and just built our business from the ground up.” Josh of course agrees that, “It’s a wonderful feeling that you are dealing with these top corporate companies who have faith in your company and really like what you’re doing creatively and support you wholeheartedly.”

Environmentally speaking, Unique Foods is also taking significant steps toward reducing its carbon footprint. “All of our product containers are completely recyclable,” says Josh. “We are always encouraging our customers to recycle if they can with five cent deposits on most cans or bottles. The government has very strict regulations on that and is always checking to make sure you and your consumers are recycling. You need to adjust your pricing to accommodate this recycling as well and the government keeps track of this. We have also restructured some advertising to stay environmentally conscious, such as advertising on bikes as opposed to cars or trucks, etc.”

With its full roster of beverages being completely recyclable, Unique Foods is constantly doing something positive for the community and the environment. Locally, the company assists individuals and sports teams, bands and events, and is always getting involved. “We work with a huge number of charities and are contacted on a regular basis by different ones daily – which makes it difficult to always write a cheque to everyone, so we often offer product, promotion, our personnel, and we give back by getting involved for them in any way possible. Another aspect would be the sponsorship, as there is a young demographic following the star factor behind the AQUAhydrate and the Hype Energy brands. We like to say that, ‘we are not grandma’s prune juice;’ we have many youths looking for new and tasty ways to stay active and keep involved, so we try to be there for them in order to meet their needs and encourage them.”

Being involved in such a fast paced and evolving industry, Unique Foods needs to employ knowledgeable and effective team members to help spread the word and discover new offerings. “Stagiaires, which are trainees or interns at Unique Foods’ very own Unique University (UU), have their expertise seasoned and get an extensive view of what goes on in the company.” Josh explains that, “We always work to enforce a respectable, clean family image with pets and children welcome, but at the same time our product has that appealing and provocative edge to it. We have certain bonuses offered to all employees that get tied in with sales and incentives. Any business related outings are at no expense to the employee throughout the year, whether it be a restaurant or golf course; the employees are well taken care of during promotional events.

“We take part in so many events and festivals, one of them being ‘Pizza Season’ which is a one month event with nearly 25 restaurants. People sign up and are mandated to try and rate each different slice at all different locations over the course of that month, and each are awarded points and offered promotional gifts. We like our community and customers to get involved in our promotional events, and we like our employees to feel proud to work and grow together,” shares Josh.

“I always express to our Sales reps to thank the customer and earn the respect of that customer every time. We still try to do things the old fashioned way wherever it may apply – ‘with a handshake and a smile.’ Never talk down the competition to make yourself look better. And always remember to stay Unique!” Josh would especially like to give his brother Jon kudos for being such a great partner to work with. To be sure, the brothers seem to have created a winning team in Unique Foods.

July 20, 2018, 2:59 AM EDT

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