Tracy, Agrifoods

Great Bear Paleo Bites for the Grizzly Within 

Tracy, with trays of Great Bear Paleo BitesSeven years ago Tracy Lydiatt, a former geologist turned sustainability specialist, was looking for a nutritional, gluten-free snack to support her fitness goals.

An avid baker and follower of the Paleo diet, which avoids grains and dairy, Tracy started baking her own allergen free snacks. In 2012 she shifted from home based baking to mass producing Great Bear Paleo Bites. The low-sugar recipe has no eggs, butter, wheat or soy and 70 to 100 calories per snack.   

“Inspired by the great bears of BC’s rugged wilderness, our bites are Paleo friendly, gluten-free vegan nutritional snacks. They provide extreme natural nutrition for the grizzly within.”

 A native of Oliver, Tracy’s kitchen and shop are in an old church that has been converted into a commercial building. With the help of one full-time and two part-time employees, she bakes, packages and ships Great Bear Paleo Bites to retailers across western Canada, including Thrifty Foods, and to customers in the U.S. She expects to hire at least two more people when her expansion plans take off.  

An investment in new kitchen equipment means Tracy will increase production and start producing two-piece snack packs. The new product will have a longer shelf life and Tracy hopes to branch out sales to cafes, health food stores and tour operators.  

“It’s so amazing to provide meaningful work in my community and bring unique benefits to the area,” says Tracy.

Great Bear Paleo Bites was nominated for the 2014 BC Food Producers Association – Best Product of the Year Award. As well Tracy was a finalist for BC Food Producers Association – Rising Star Award 2014.

Tracy says her biggest challenge starting a business was managing cash flow. She’s grateful for the support of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and Community Futures South Okanagan, which are active partners. 

She has this advice for other would be entrepreneurs.

“Surround yourself with knowledgeable advisors and mentors. Be prepared to be extremely committed and make sure you have a good plan. And don’t give up.”