After immigrating to Canada in 2011, Shivani Dhamija founded Shivani's Kitchen in 2014, a Nova Scotian food company producing authentic Indian spices and sauces. Shivani's Kitchen works hard to meet several UN SDG goals, including good health and well-being by providing quality gluten free food with no added preservatives in her products. With the use of reusable glass container packaging instead of the typical plastic, Shivani’s Kitchen meets the SDG goal of responsible consumption and production. Shivani's choices to buy ingredients from local farmers and involve communities through cooking classes, she also meets the SDG goal of sustainable cities and communities.
It is apparent that innovation is not as prevalent in the food industry as it is in other industries, but it does not mean there is no innovation. Food production companies like Shivani's Kitchen are trying to innovate their products every day in order to make them more sustainable. As a founder of Shivani's Kitchen and a former restaurant owner, Shivani highly understands how important it is to pay attention to what we put into our bodies. With the goal of promoting healthy eating, Shivani's products are preservative-free, salt-free, and gluten-free. Although Shivani's products are made with purely natural ingredients, they are still very delicious thanks to the unique recipes.
Another innovation of Shivani's Kitchen is the way it packages its products. Shivani not only runs her business for profit, but she also attempts to limit the bad influence on the environment, as seen by the fact that she packages her products in glass containers to avoid the usage of plastic. Despite the fact that eco-friendly packaging is more expensive than the usual way of packaging, Shivani still demonstrates her commitment to encouraging better and healthier eating with the least amount of environmental effect possible.
After immigrating to Canada with her husband 10 years ago, Shivani was facing the challenges of finding a job in Halifax, as many immigrants in our society do, and was experiencing no luck. After spending time working at McDonalds, volunteered at the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, and the Canada Games Center, Shivani struggled to find something permanent. Inspired by a trucker of Indian origin who was missing home-cooked Indian meals, Shivani stepped forward and created Shivani’s Kitchen in 2014, Halifax’s first packaged Indian meal delivery service.
Shivani is inspired by living a clean, healthy lifestyle, and believes that the first step to achieving that is through food. From a very young age, Shivani was taught by her mother the importance of fresh, quality ingredients. Shivani’s mother would always go the extra mile to make her own blend of garam masala, a key spice in Indian cuisine, instead of buying a store-bought bottle full of fillers. Inspired by her mother’s passion for quality ingredients, Shivani refuses to package any of her products with fillers such as salt, preservatives, or gluten. Instead, she seeks out high quality, natural ingredients from local farmers across Nova Scotia, supporting the province that allowed her to build a new life for herself and her family.
Shivani is a woman entrepreneur who always looks for the opportunity to make a positive impact on the community and help people around her. She does a great job seeking out natural ingredients from local farmers across Nova Scotia, supporting the province that allowed her to build a new life for herself and her family. When asked why she was doing so, Shivani explained that she is passionate about supporting local farmers. She further stated her reasoning for the decision as “Cost, sustainability, wanting to stay local, it was everything. Nova Scotia has given me a lot and I want to support my Nova Scotia farmers.”
Furthermore, Shivani's innovation also positively impacts society in raising food consumer knowledge of healthy food, instilling in them the habit of carefully selecting products when shopping. Specifically, Shivani's innovation teaches consumers about the significance of reading the ingredient list before purchasing a product. Shivani believes that once she succeeds in getting her products closer to the public, it would not only help consumers be more conscious of the food they eat but will also push other food companies to produce cleaner, healthier products for the food market.
Shivani’s Kitchen has many benefits, the business has been growing and expanding since it was first founded in 2014. With the launch of spices, sauces, and now the shift from the restaurant industry into the production side they look to continue expanding. Shivani’s Kitchen will greatly benefit from a production plant as it will allow them to scale up and break out of the Atlantic Canadian market. As they continue to follow the roadmap for cross Canada expansion, they also have their eyes on the massive US marketplace. Shivani’s Spices being carried in the Atlantic Canadian grocer giant Sobeys also provides a massive business benefit and exposes the product to more and more potential customers. Shivani’s Kitchen is aligning themselves for success and there is no doubt that they will be successful with Shivani’s preservation and determination.
Shivani’s Kitchen flourishes on the social impacts it creates in communities all over Nova Scotia. Since 2015, Shivani has been working hard to bring communities together by offering cooking classes to teach people how to cook Indian food. Bringing authentic Indian culture and taste around Nova Scotia through these cooking classes and her products is something Shivani has successfully achieved since the founding of her business.
In today’s world, many businesses are profit-oriented and focus solely on making money. This can be particularly harmful in the food industry as it is common to use fillers and preservatives in products as it is cheap, not considering their effects on human health. Salt, being one of the most common fillers in many spices seen on store shelves, is not an ingredient in any of Shivani’s spices. Shivani explains how she learned from listening to people in her cooking classes “We are seeing that millennials and other generations moving into a healthier style, so we are avoiding using gluten and salt in our food. Some people are trying to lose weight, others are trying to lower their blood pressure, and we wanted to provide a product for that need”. The commitment to keeping her products free from gluten, preservatives, and salt is a result of Shivani listening to consumers and offering them exactly what they want from their products.
Plastic packaging is a tremendous issue we face in today’s world. Single-use plastic is not only wasteful and impractical, but it also causes serious harm to the environment as it can take hundreds of years to fully decompose. At Shivani’s Kitchen, products are packaged in reusable, glass containers. Although much more expensive, using glass over plastic is a much more environmentally sustainable way to package products. Glass also keeps the natural aromas of the spices better than any plastic would, which further proves Shivani’s commitment to quality.
Buying from local farmers has always been a priority for Shivani. Most of her ingredients that can be grown and harvested locally, such as onions and garlic, come from Nova Scotia. Not only does this help support the local farmers and their businesses, it also helps preserve their farmland. Another environmental benefit this decision creates is the reduction of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere through transportation. By reducing food miles, Shivani is contributing to the efforts being made to lower our environment’s air pollution.
Shivani Dhamija, Founder
Keep this story going! Share below!
West Hants, Nova Scotia, CA
Business Website: https://shivaniskitchen.ca/
Year Founded: 2014
Number of Employees: 2 to 10