The cool Peterborough-based health food startup Chimp Treats will have its frozen fruit product “Nicecream” hit a wave of Loblaws locations across Ontario starting on September 5th.
Nicecream will hit shelves across select Loblaws stores including the GTA, Ottawa, London and Barrie, and the next wave of locations will be in Québec in Loblaws’ Provigo Le Marché stores. After that, Chimp Treats aims to continue adding new locations until they reach all Loblaws stores across Canada by May 2019.
The team behind Chimp Treats: (left to right) Whitney, Brooke and Jillian.
The announcement is the latest for a company that has had huge momentum since launching just one year ago on the market. They are one of the fastest growing natural food brands in Canada.
Founder and CEO, Brooke Hammer, 23, launched Nicecream in 2017 and has since expanded coast-to-coast with niche retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Healthy Planet.
While attending Trent University in Peterborough, Hammer developed an innovative manufacturing process that allowed her to create the fruit-only frozen dessert on a large-scale, commercial basis. Since entering the market, the entrepreneur has continued to reach new stores and locations along with growing her team.
“It is an incredible time for innovative, start-up companies in the Consumer Packaged Goods space,” says Hammer. “Companies like Loblaws are open to bringing in more innovative products by small brands to meet consumer demand.”
“Getting picked up by a national retailer like Loblaws is the ultimate milestone for any company in the consumer and packaged goods industry,” adds Rosalea Terry, Marketing Manager and Senior Innovation Specialist for the Innovation Cluster, where Chimp Treats is housed. “They are on their way to becoming a mainstream brand.”
Peterborough's Brooke Hammer, founder and CEO of Chimp Treats, has taken the drive and passion of her two startup businesses to hold a job fair through a partnership with Community Living—providing three employment opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The 22-year-old entrepreneur began her entrepreneurial journey after founding Take Flight, a business inspired when her brother with Down Syndrome faced community barriers trying to find meaningful work. Hammer started the organization to help those with developmental disabilities find independence, social interaction, purpose, and meaningful employment through day programs and services.
“I wanted my brother to be able to experience the joy, satisfaction and pride that comes with meaningful work and belonging to a community,” says Hammer.
Brooke Hammer Founded Taking Flight
Now working at the rapidly-growing Chimp Treats, an innovative health food company selling the popular “Nicecream” frozen dessert made entirely from fruit, Hammer is supporting a healthy lifestyle in her second startup.
Starting out the business solo, Hammer has now added two full-time employees to her business. Still needing to hire more, Hammer saw an opportunity to take her passion from her previous business and hold a job fair through the Community Living partnership.
Hammer and her Chimp Treats team are growing
“During my first meeting, I could barely contain my enthusiasm learning about this locally owned company Chimp Treats,” says Jen Edwards at Community Living Peterborough. “Normally companies aren’t knocking on Community Living’s door asking for people to come work for them with the offer of meaningful work that is competitively paid. After touring the factory and visiting their office at the Innovation Cluster, it is very apparent this company is offering a rewarding job.”
The job fair will be held at the Innovation Cluster, where Chimp Treats is based, on July 20th, offering a full-time inclusive employment opportunity to work with the Chimp Treats team. The three chosen hires will be trained personally by the CEO Hammer herself at their manufacturing location, and get to be part of the startup team promoting healthy lifestyles.
“I’m pleased to see communities becoming more aware of employment gaps, underemployment, and the need for inclusive opportunities for individuals with special needs,” says Hammer. “No person is the exact same, but the opportunities available to us should be.”
Peterborough-based company Chimp Treats has announced their Nicecream line of products will soon be available on the shelves of Whole Foods.
Whole Foods—known for their natural and organic food options—makes for a perfect match with the single ingredient fruit ice cream 22-year-old entrepreneur Brooke Hammer has created with Nicecream. Chimp Treats will also be introducing two brand new flavours to the mix, Mango Banana and Strawberry Banana.
As the founder of Chimp Treats, Hammer came up with the idea of taking a popular recipe she was making in her home (an ice cream made entirely from bananas) and bringing it to grocery store shelves everywhere.
As a varsity athlete and Trent University student, she put her company ideas to action and added entrepreneur to the list, developing the process to make it all possible. She launched Chimp Treats in June 2016. She currently operates her business full time in the Innovation Cluster’s downtown Cube, Peterborough’s innovation incubator.
Chimp Treat's products are currently on shelves in Toronto, Peterborough and the surrounding area including Sobeys, JoAnne's Place, Fiesta Farms and Foodland. Now, Chimp Treats is excited to expand its signature product to the Whole Foods organization, showing that eating healthy can also be a treat.
Peterborough entrepreneur Brooke Hammer has created a unique—and yummy—product called NICEcream that consumers are raving about, and that is scaling locally and beyond.
Hammer, who took home multiple awards including the FastStart Innovation Award, the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough Award and the StartUp Peterborough People's Choice Award at the recent Bears' Lair entrepreneurial competition in Peterborough, is building terrific buzz about her product.
Founder Brooke Hammer (at left) with Innovation Cluster's Rosalea Terry at product launch event (Photos from launch by MossWorks Photography)
NICEcream is a delicious ice cream made entirely from bananas (no extra ingredients or preservatives are added), and is the signature product from Brooke's new startup Chimp Treats. NICEcream recently launched at Amuse Coffee Co., and people are going bananas for it.
"The reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive," Hammer tells PTBOCanada. "As we all know, children are incredibly (and sometimes brutally) honest, but all of the children at our launch party loved it—and moms loved it too! I could not be happier with the way Peterborough has been responding to the product, and the kind words and encouragement that they've shared with me."
This healthy junk food alternative is available to order online, and is already available at Jo Anne's Place Health Foods, Amusé Coffee Co., Play Café and Baked 4 Uin Peterborough. It will be expanding to other local retailers in the upcoming weeks and months, and plans are in the works to expand to retailers in Toronto and beyond.
NICEcream is unique in that Chimp Treats is recreating everyone’s favorite junk foods entirely from fruit. It is essentially junk free junk food, a delicious product that tastes like a treat but is healthy. Sweet!
Hammer, who credits the Innovation Cluster, FastStart Peterborough and Peterborough Economic Development for helping her develop and scale this business, plans to roll out other products—all made from fruit—down the road. "We're changing the game completely by reimagining 'junk food'," says Hammer, who studied Business & Entrepreneurship at Trent University.
"We've partnered with Sustainable Peterborough, River City Farms (they'll be utilizing our thousands of banana peels for compost for their crops) and local strawberry farmers (via the Agricultural Society) to create a strawberry banana NICEcream for the PTBO Ex," Hammer tells PTBOCanada. "We will also be present at many festivals and events in the coming months, such as the Peterborough Yoga Festival, Hootenanny on Hunter and more!"
Sampling NICEcream at launch event
Hammer tells PTBOCanada she has huge plans for the business outside Peterborough. "We are currently negotiating with a co-packer (and distributor), and have partnered with amazing investors, so we predict being available across Ontario within the next four months and across Canada within the next seven months. I am planning on growing this business on an international scale."
Customers sampling NICEcream at launch event
It would not surprise us one bit to see Brooke Hammer's Peterborough startup become a global hit someday soon, and NICEcream to become a household name.