District Ventures Grabs Stake in Queen Street Bakery, the Startup that Makes it Ok to Eat Bread Again

TORONTO – Queen Street Bakery (QSB), a Canadian food startup disrupting the gluten free industry, is announcing that it has secured a new strategic equity partner in District Ventures Capital (DV), a venture capital fund led by entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson. 

Established in 2018, QSB creates allergen-free products from functional ingredients like chia flour and bean flour. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, QSB has grown from just 50 stores in the GTA to over 1,000 stores Canada-wide. Their customers include leading Canadian retailers such as Loblaws, Sobeys, Whole Foods, Farm Boy and Choices Markets.

“While the love of bread is universal, the ability to consume it isn’t. Queen St. Bakery has created innovative products that consumers with gluten intolerance and personal preferences are interested in and have uniquely positioned themselves in the market” said Arlene Dickinson, General Partner of DV. “We are delighted to partner with a company that doesn’t only create high quality products for those who already eat gluten-free, but an alternative for anyone who has an on-again/off-again relationship with bread.”

Since 2011, the gluten free market has grown from USD 1.7 billion to a forecasted USD 4.7 billion by the end of 20201. And what was historically thought of as a ‘niche’ product for those unlucky enough to be allergic, is starting to get market-wide attention. 

Giovanni Angelucci, founder and CEO of QSB, says that the gluten-free market has been a sleepy industry, ripe for innovation. He believes that gluten-free bread will be the new norm, and that QSB’s ingredients give people a simple way to eat healthy and without the calorie guilt.

“What we learned from ‘Fat-Free’ and ‘Sugar-Free’ is what we now know about ‘Gluten-Free;’ that just because it is absent of something bad does not mean it is full of anything good.” he continues.

“We’ve replaced inflammatory ingredients like wheat, rice and corn, the base for both traditional and gluten-free bread, with ingredients like chia and beans. Canadians now have an option that is full of plant-based nutrients, has four times the fibre of whole wheat bread and that promotes gut health. And with the help of District Ventures, we will now be able to get our message and product to even more people across the country”. 

Public interest in bread and baking has reached an all-time high in recent months. This coupled with fact that the Canadian Celiac Association estimates that 80-90% of Canadians living with celiac disease haven’t being diagnosed5 creates an opportunity for exponential growth for QSB.

QSB has also launched in food service with local restaurants, and are now looking to partner with popular chains that are looking for a healthier bun for their burger or toast for their sandwich.