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A Splendid Investment Opportunity…Naturally

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
1 Comment| January 22, 2021

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(Click image to play video)

We’re just about smackdab in the middle of New Year’s resolution time, and millions of North Americans are committing to a healthier lifestyle or just trying to shed a few pounds.

Coquitlam, BC-based Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd. (NSP) (TSX: V.NSP, OTCQB: NSPDF, FRA: 50N, Forum) is a manufacturer of plant-based functional foods – part of one the planet’s most booming industries. The company produces its own successful house brands and boasts a roster of contract manufacturing clients spanning retail and foodservice. Naturally Splendid provides research and development and product development focused on plant-based ingredients.

In this intriguing and inspiring vodcast, Stockhouse’s Dave Jackson caught up with company Craig Goodwin on NSP’s flurry of announcements, its one-of-a-kind business model and how they’re positioning themselves to become a prime beneficiary in the plant-based-foods marketplace, while working hard in the fight against COVID-19.

TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

SH: Craig, for our investor audience that might be new to Naturally Splendid Enterprises, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the history of the company?

CG: Oh, absolutely. So Naturally Splendid was formed in 2010 and we went public in 2013. So, the feature was that we were the first hemp company certainly in North America to go public with just a hemp specific product. Also, I think they connect that to today. I think people will understand now hemp as a plant as a nutritional powerhouse, the most digestible protein of any plants on earth is a perfect ratio of Omega three and Omega six or optimum human health. This is according to the World Health Organization. So, in essence, we were plant-based before the rest of the world caught up to know that plant based was healthy for you. For myself. I took that my background in, in marketing with the Jim Pattison group in advertising. I leveraged that to a career in the capital markets. So, it's the combination of capital markets and sales, marketing, advertising background and my business partner, Brian Carson, who has a retail background as well. That was the beginning of formation of Naturally Splendid. And this is it's been our passion. It's been our goal to bring plant-based nutrition to the market since Day One.

SH: Given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd. enjoyed a remarkable 2020 and reached several milestones. How did you achieve this?

CG: You know what it was I'll tell you, through great personnel that at our facility we're very lucky to have great employees here that take their job very seriously. We are a state quality food manufacturing facility, so we're certified safe quality food. It's a very high level of certification assuring our clients and our customers. And in fact, our workers that it's a very safe environment producing safe, efficacious foods. We operate, I know people ask me about GMP. GMP comes under the umbrella of SQF. We know some people understand HACCP, which is a hazard program, a reduction in hazard that comes underneath SQF. So, we already operated at a very high level of SOP is to make sure our facility was safe. So, adding in additional SOP to in response to the COVID pandemic, not that it was easy, but our staff is trained to follow a very high protocol.

I will say that the first couple of months while we were all trying to, including, our health department, trying to understand the repercussions and exactly how it was transmitted. We're, we're concerning we, we stopped production several times to make sure that our facility was safe, products were safe and as important that our, our employees were safe. So, the first few months through COVID, it was much like the rest of the world. You know, we're not anything special from that. We weren't separated. It was scary times. But we began to continue to push back in and get our processes up and running. I think what really got us, the momentum going again is the realization and for health and wellness and these were consumers to a plant-based diet. So even though we saw the trends in the global market, and even though that as our are founded, when we founded the company, this was our objective. This pandemic has driven the attention to diet to the forefront for most consumers, more than ever before. And I think if you're a reputable that a plant-based diet has health benefits, now people are understanding that a plant-based diet, in addition to the health benefits they're receiving, also have incredible environmental impacts that positively affect the world we live in.

SH: Can you update us on the recent exclusive sales and distribution agreement with the Australian plant-based nutritional company BettaLife Global Food Solutions?

CG: I sure can. BettaLife is a long-term strategic partner of ours. We began exporting Natera branded hemp to them in 2017. In fact, we were the first branded hemp-based product on the shelf outside of our local brand that was in Australia. So, we were the first international brand. We've grown that relationship since 2017. I think this is very key because this is not a new relationship. We understand each other's strengths and we know how to work with each other to get the best possible results. But now we are the ones importing the products, these are our manufacturing partner, are an extremely successful group you know, Australia, they understand global expansion. They reached out to us late last year, asked us if we were interested in carrying this line exclusively in Canada. Of course, we jumped at that chance. We also have distribution opportunities into the United States with ongoing discussions on how we might be able to even tighten up that agreement. Currently we're focused on the Canadian market, as you said, with an exclusive agreement. This is not a new relationship and I think that's the foundation for successful line moving forward.

SH: What are the core benefits of this deal?

CG: You know, basically we offer more skews, more items, more entrees, and then practically anybody else I'm going to see in North America and possibly globally. Great. Now we have 20 different entrees that we are starting to roll out into the market, through e-commerce through food service and retail. We have another 20 that we will be introducing continually over time to provide always new interest and new products for our consumers to try. So, our single biggest advantage is the range of products that we have is so extensive, we can certainly meet any palate out their replacements for the gamut, whether it'd be beef or pork or fish or chicken, or even seafood, we have a product that can replace or be an alternative to that sort of diet that you may be more used to.

SH: Can you tell us more about the CANEX Foods deal to distribute Naturally Splendid NATERA plant-based foods and the partnership with NATERA from back in November?

CG: Yeah, I sure can. You know what, I think this is key like that to where the whole industry is going. You know, we talk about you know, animals for meat. I prefer to call it, you know, animal protein and what we're introducing now to the world is plant-based protein. So, this is an evolution of, of the way our diets are changing. So, CANEX has traditionally been for the last 35 years and animal protein distribution company and their national coast-to-coast here in Canada. What the have recognized is that their clients, their consumers are now asking about plant-based protein. So, this is a whole new opportunity, a market that is developing right in front of us currently. And we have associated ourselves with a coast-to-coast distributor of animal proteins who can now offer the Natera plant-based protein as an alternative to their traditional offerings. I think this is key, is where the market is going, and it can complement and service that flexitarian market.

SH: Speaking of distribution, with all your new distributors, and now Sysco Canada / BC Division listing your products, this all sounds exciting!?

CG: It, it really is. And we're trying to build a diverse distribution network. So, we have distribution in retail and food service. Of course, we have our e-commerce at naterafoods.com. So, it's very important to balance your distribution network with a wide variety of channels. And we have, of course, Sysco Canada, the BC division, Sysco overall is recognized as one of the world's largest food service companies. So certainly, the upside potential of expanding opportunity with Sysco as we become successful in each region could be pivotal for the success of naturally splendid.

SH: The Company has a huge range plant-based product offerings. What are some of the highlights investors may be especially interested in?

CG: You know, we do have a wide range, and I hear our investors or people who take a look at the company and ask for a little bit of clarity around it. And I can put it very simply. Naturally Splendid has been, and always will be a plant-based company. We've looked at a number of opportunities for plant-based. And in this regard, we purchased a manufacturing facility called Prosnack Natural Foods. We moved them from their location in North Vancouver to the present facility right now in Pitt Meadows. This is the SQF safe quality food certification that I referred to earlier. With that, we have produced a number of our own brands, including our NATERA, Key-to-life bar, that was a bar for the keto diet. Within six weeks, we were in a couple of thousand stores. The brand, Woods Wild is a mushroom fortified bar, obviously plants.

And when we purchased Prosnack, they actually added a very successful brand, many of our consumers obviously know, a lot of our investors are aware, of Elevate Me. This has been in the Canadian market for well over a decade, once again primarily plant based. So, we have a great range of nutritious plant-based bars and bites, but that extended to our sports one. And this is, you know, understandably where some of the confusion can come in, because now we talk about an anti-inflammatory product called ProCurc 30, which is a curcumin-based extract, and this is a patented technology that delivers more anti-inflammatory results than practically any other curcumin extract out there. The products are medically researched, they're peer reviewed, they're published in medical journals. The Canadian food inspection agency became aware of our ProCurc 30, and they wanted to see the scientific data supporting the results that we were claiming, to which we sent them.

They then introduced us to Health Canada, and Health Canada then helped us bypass a Phase One clinical trial, because we have no adverse events for our product that is already safe, and they fast tracked us to a Phase II clinical trial. These Phase II clinical trials sometimes take years to get into. And this Phase II clinical trial is specifically for a treatment for COVID-19. So, I want to be clear, not a cure, not a vaccine, but a way to mitigate the acceleration of health conditions that puts you into the ICU and heaven forbid worse. So, we can find a way to protect the public from ending up in the ICU beds, then we can in fact begin to open up the economy more. So Naturally Splendid began with the simplest of foods you could possibly imagine. Hemp, which has been around for thousands of years with the nutritional profile. And now we are the events all the way to a clinical trial using a plant-based extract, and every one of those steps along the way has been all about plant based. So, I would say one of our most exciting things is that very soon we’ll start phase two clinical trial with our development.

SH: What’s your long-term corporate advantage and what makes your business model different from the competition?

CG: I think because we've been plant-based since the very beginning. We've looked at many opportunities. We’ve gained a lot of expertise, a lot of experience in this segment. The networks that we have built to this point are invaluable, and they've all been specific to the plant-based opportunity. So, we're not new to this advance. We've been here for a while. We were one of the pioneers in plant-based nutrition. We just focused on a single product. As the market evolved, we evolved with it, and we built our team around that. And we have become experts in plant-based nutrition.

SH: Can you tell our audience a little bit about your corporate management team, along with their experience and innovative ideas they bring to the good foods and health & wellness industry?

CG: I think it starts as I identified earlier with personnel and we're very fortunate to have a great group of employees here, right from our production team and our sanitation teams. And they're all very specialized, but I don't think it is even more specialized is what it takes to be a successful sales consultant and there's market today, especially with the challenges of COVID that have been ongoing. Our Director of Sales, Rick Lum has had over 35 years in the food service industry with some of the largest companies in the world. His experience in plant-based nutrition is almost unparalleled. You know, he has 35 years of experience in food industry. A lot since 2016, we focused on plant-based products and he came to Naturally Splendid just over a year ago. And he brought in his network of, of also professionals. And we have been able to leverage those relationships of 35 years, and really get to the front of the line. So, Rick has selected a group of distributors, and in fact consultants like the Northridge Sales Group, who also have extensive expertise specifically to plant-based nutrition. And it's this base, this foundation of knowledge and contacts that is irreplaceable, and you can't replace with anything but time. So, the amount of time that they've invested in their careers is certainly our advantage moving forward.

SH: Are you able to update investors on the Plasm Joint Venture and the clinical trial for Cavaltinib as a Covid-19 treatment?

CG: I can. Our readers, our followers will know that we have been approved for a Phase II clinical trial. This obviously when you start administering medicines to, you know, test subjects, the amount of documentation and preparation and protocols that carry it out are extensive, and they should be. So, from the point of getting permission to proceed with our Phase II clinical trial, an enormous amount of work has gone on behind the scenes. First of all, interviewing perspective companies that help you conduct these studies. So, I can see that that process is going extremely well. We look forward to providing an update in the very near future with this selection who will be carrying out these studies for us. Once the study begins, we expect that study to take approximately five weeks and then about a two-week break for it to analyze the data that we've collected. So, we have our approval. We are now down to the final decision making to a team that we will, or a company we will select ,who will help us conduct the trials. And then after that, the five-to-seven week time period, until we have the results back that we can report through to our investors.

SH: Finally, looking down the road into 2021 for NSP, is there anything coming up investors should be keeping an eye out for?

CG: I just think that the overall plant-based market is going to continue to accelerate. It is growing faster than most traditional markets in the grocery sector segment. And I think that you will see a realization of what you eat, certainly has an effect on your own personal health, and it's extending more to the health of the planet. And I think this combination of facts will continue to drive this industry. And I truly believe that Naturally Splendid is positioned exceptionally well with our wide range of offerings, our expertise over the last decade in this market, that combination all coming together. I think that the future has never looked brighter for Naturally Splendid.


For more information, visit NSP’s website at www.naturallysplendid.com.


FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.


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