Anamika Gioia

When, at 23, she still couldn't find popped lotus seeds in Canada, Gioia decided enough was enough

Anamika Gioia, 26

Founder, Sacred Foods

Life Story: Trying to sell colourful rocks to neighbours in her native India may not have worked for Anamika Gioia as a child, but it’s a good thing it didn’t dim her entrepreneurial spirit. A few years later, at 13, Gioia moved to Canada and discovered that her favourite snack—popped lotus seeds—wasn’t available anywhere.

Knowing she’d eventually launch a food company selling the snacks, Gioia patiently waited, developing skills in digital marketing and website design as a freelancer. At a certain point, though, enough was enough.

“I spent a lot of time taking other people’s ideas and using my skills to turn their dreams into reality,” she recalls. “When I was 23, I thought, Do I want to spend the rest of my life doing this, or do I want to go do it myself?”

Gioia launched Sacred Foods and its four flavours of popped lotus seeds in May 2020, right in the swing of the pandemic lockdown. The seeds are popped in India and shipped to Vancouver, where Gioia is the lone full-time employee and sells 120-gram bags for under $5.

Bottom Line: Was the timing with COVID-19 secretly serendipitous for Sacred Foods? We’ll never know, but it’s in 184 stores across Canada and saw sales in the high five figures for its first year. Hey, it beats selling rocks.