Tiffinday creates artisan quality vegan curry stews that are delicious, nutritious, and convenient to enjoy. These stews are perfect for a quick lunch at work, and provide nutritious options for those evenings when you just don’t feel like cooking.
Seema chose to pursue entrepreneurial food ventures because it gave her the flexibility to raise her children while earning a living. When she first came up with the idea in 2012, the first challenge was to figure out how to get freshly cooked, protein-rich curries from our kitchen to grocery stores and into the homes of the community in a jar. Seema didn’t want to freeze them, or use excessive salt or preservatives. So, she borrowed a pressure canner from a friend and began experimenting with the shelf life. The first jars debuted at farmers markets in Toronto in 2014, and within weeks Tiffinday had returned the pressure canner to their friend and invested in a larger canner to help keep up with the demand, as they were selling out at each market. The scramble was intense, but what a good problem to have.
Seema and her team continued to listen to customers and refined the recipes and labels several times before they felt “retail-ready.” In the fall of 2015, as the farmers market season was winding down, they reached out to independent grocers in communities surrounding the farmers markets they’d attended. Many of these grocers were delighted to carry prepared foods that their customers were already familiar with. From there, Tiffinday began to grow, one wholesaler at a time.
During the growing season, Tiffinday uses locally grown produce sourced from small and medium-sized local farmers. All of their foods are made locally in Toronto’s India Gerrard Bazaar, where chefs carefully nurture each meal by hand, churning out artisan quality small batches using techniques that are just like home-made. And in a nutshell, that’s what Tiffinday is all about: local jobs, supporting a local economy, to make delicious foods for you to enjoy close to home.
As a Certified B-Corporation, Tiffinday has made a pledge to conduct their business with respect for people and the environment; and to be the change they seek in the world. Seema and her team takes this pledge to heart. Their commitment to using sustainable packaging, reducing plastic throughout their supply chain, paying fir wages, and keeping their manufacturing local are all part and parcel of upholding these principles.
When you enjoy Tiffinday’s stews, you too are participating in this mission! When you purchase Tiffinday’s stews, each jar sold helps contribute to feeding a needy person in downtown Toronto. And by choosing to enjoy a vegan meal, you are reducing the amount of harmful Co2 emissions entering atmosphere.
Tiffinday is most proud of the fact that they have been able to sustain all of their values throughout their growth. Some choices were difficult: for example, packaging the stews in plastic pouches rather than glass jars would’ve saved thousands of dollars in packaging and shipping costs. Tiffinday has opted not to make that switch for obvious reasons. They are keenly aware that the business has a triple bottom line: the numbers on the balance sheet are only one, of many, factors that drive decisions.
Some of these factors may limit Tiffinday’s growth, and even prevent them from manufacturing cost-effectively enough to ever be found in a big box grocery store, however, organizations don’t always have to evolve into multi-million dollar global brands. As long as they can share their foods with their community, and remain viable financially while holding onto their values, they’re comfortable with where they are.
Seema would like to give a shout out to a local charity that is supported by Tiffinday, and by you whenever you purchase a jar of Tiffinday! Building Roots is a grassroots organization that is working to solve the problem of food security in Moss Park, a priority neighbourhood in downtown Toronto where community residents do not have access to fresh, nutritious food. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this problem even worse, particularly for seniors and disabled individuals. Through their charitable arm, Growing Neighbourhoods Foundation, Building Roots delivers fresh food hampers weekly to those in need. Tiffinday’s Vegan Meal Kit is a part of this program.