30 Under 30: Justin Kopetzki goes deep on plant-based dips

Kopetzki's eponymous dips strive to bring a more bold and unique flavour.

Justin Kopetzki

Justin Kopetzki, 25

Co-founder + CEO, Justo’s Plant-Based Dips

Life Story: In 2019, tired of what he calls the “bland, watery hummus and other dips” at the grocery store, Salt Spring Island native Justin Kopetzki made his own at home in 45 flavours, using a food processor. “I started bringing them around to potlucks and parties, and people seriously loved them,” he recalls. “I realized that, OK, I can make some pretty darn good food products, and I think there’s a gap in the market here in terms of a brand that really cares about the community and the environment, as well as has a little bit more bold and unique flavours.”

To find out, Kopetzki launched an Instagram page and started doing weekly deliveries. The business gained momentum, so he moved into a commercial kitchen and made the rounds at farmers markets, where his products consistently sold out. Kopetzki launched Justo’s Plant-Based Dips in 2020 with his two best friends, CTO Eric Taccogna and CMO Adam Conlon. A fourth co-founder, general manager Tyler Hosie, joined later that year. The company recently expanded to Vancouver after landing retailers on Vancouver Island.

Justo’s 100-percent-plant-based flavours include chipotle and truffle and repurposed aquafaba, the water left from cooking chickpeas. After adding it to hummus to provide more flavour and texture, the company started using the liquid to make ranch, tzatziki and queso dips. “We’re focused on creating a line of new dips and other products that give people an alternative to animal products,” says Kopetzki, noting that Justo’s is working on plant-based cream cheese and ice cream.

The B Corporation offers retailers what it calls closed-loop packaging, giving them the option to return its glass jars. Through its 1% for the People program, the company donates a serving of hummus for every jar sold to charities on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland.

Bottom Line: Justo’s, which last year donated almost two tonnes of food—the equivalent of about 8 percent of its revenue—has five staff. The company plans to go national this year by finding a co-manufacturing partner that meets the regulatory standards for major grocery chains.