Geneviève Gagnon, the ant of crisp happiness

Geneviève Gagnon, la fourmi du bonheur croustillant

The ant of crisp happiness

If Jean de La Fontaine had lived to cross paths with Geneviève Gagnon, his famous fable could well have begun as follows: “The ant having worked all year round, found itself very well provided for when the bonus came.” Nearly 18 years after founding La Fourmi Bionique , the president of the company manufacturing granola, muesli and healthy snack mixes has never ceased to arouse admiration.

Without singing or dancing, Geneviève, who knew nothing about business and food processing, nevertheless garnered recognition. Named Businesswoman of Quebec, in the small business category, in 2011, then winner of the Business Women's Prize, medium-sized business, in 2019, the forty-year-old with the eyes of an ingenuous child did not stop there. path.

In recent years, by boosting its turnover by 78% over five years and 76% over three years, the company which has long felt imposter syndrome has seen its company appear twice among the 500 fastest growing companies. growth in the country of the Profit 500 ranking . Absolutely remarkable for this bachelor's degree in psychology who, moreover, was officially the first graduate in public relations from UQÀM.

Geneviève knows too well the phenomenal level of difficulty that giving birth to a company and… three children represents! The food manufacturing field being even more atypical for a woman, last February, the manager and majority shareholder of her small empire with between $3 million and $5 million in turnover obtained the Women Owned certification awarded by the WeConnect International organization. This approval, which gives access to major contractors, is more than welcome for the entrepreneur who advocates a more inclusive and equitable economy for all.

Although her parents had not envisaged that their daughter could become an entrepreneur, the fact remains that her inspiration came from her father who owned a Provisional business . Over time, the daughter of the “boss” who could take anything that tempted her from the shelves of the family convenience store ended up being lured by products that more closely resembled her. More efficient, more nutritious foodstuffs that could be supplied on a local basis.

I was greatly influenced by Normand Laprise, the chef at Toqué, who displayed on the menu that his honey came from the Les Trois Acres farm, his lettuce, from another local supplier. Just like cranberries and maple syrup, the cereal elements that make up our forty mixes, oat flakes, spelled flour, rye and barley all come from Quebec. We can boast that 75% of our ingredients are local and up to 85% are certified organic. In addition, we have broken the prejudice of bland-tasting health products. Our recipes don't taste like tofu! »

So much so that with her twenty employees well established in the Domtar complex, ten minutes from the Atwater Market, Geneviève Gagnon is able to supply 2,000 points of sale in Canada and France. In 2008, La Fourmi bionique had its first order in the Grande Épicerie de Paris and Galeries Lafayette. But during the pandemic, it was with its flagship Grand Granola range that it was able to infiltrate the breakfast market within the French distribution chain Monoprix.

With all due respect to General Mills and Kellogg's , the one we could call the chief bionic ant was the first to offer cereals in bags rather than boxes. Equipped with her registration from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Geneviève slowly began negotiations and prepared her packaging to, among other things, provide our neighbors to the South with tons of her favorite mixture, the Grand Granola Aphrodisiac !

Thanks to a significant investment in the automation of its factory (SQF certified) on rue Saint-Patrick, La Fourmi Bionique 's productivity should further increase by 25 to 30%. Bring some organic whole grain oats, macadamia nuts, caramelized pecans, goji berries, organic salted caramel milk chocolate, gluten-free coconut sugar. And let's not forget maca. With this Andean root which would increase energy, libido and fertility, the world will be even happier!

Photo credit: Gaëlle Vuillaume

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