Mitchell's Soup Co.

More Than a Meal: Behind the Artisans at Mitchell’s Soup Co.

By Amanda Philipow

Published January 2022

When you pick up a bag of Mitchell’s Soup Co. soup mix, you’ll immediately notice two things: One — its colourful, distinctive layers of wholesome ingredients layered carefully on top of one another. Two — its rustic and eye-catching packaging that might remind you of something you’d find at your favourite local farmer’s market. After sitting down for a chat with Jamie Lockhart, owner of Mitchell’s Soup Co., we can confirm these observations are a huge part of what makes their product, and their story, so exceptional.   

The roots of this B.C.-based family business can be traced, in part, back to Y2K – let us explain. Jamie’s  mother, like many others, found herself unsure about the future state of the world as the turn of the new millennium approached. In preparation, she stocked up on tons of dried foods and waited for the absolute worst to come. When the clock struck midnight and nothing changed, she found herself left with an abundance of ingredients and nothing to do with them. Rather than let them go to waste, she divided them up into bags and sold them at local farmer’s markets in the Cowichan Valley. They were an instant hit, and the market sales continued successfully for many years until she passed the torch, er... ladle, to her son in 2008.   

“I was looking for something a little bit more meaningful and closer to home,” says Jamie, who worked in retail and management training before stepping into the new role. He saw it as the perfect opportunity to get his kids involved at the farmer’s market, teach them valuable life skills and create a fun hobby for the family — but he didn’t anticipate things growing to where they are today.    

“The customer engagement with the product was extremely positive,” beams Jamie. “So, from there we started to think of it more in terms of a business opportunity.”    

With a few tweaks to branding, packaging and induction of an official name (inspired by Jamie’s eldest son), Mitchell’s Soup Co. was born. When production first began, the Mitchell’s team worked out of a 300 square-foot cottage in Jamie’s mother’s backyard. As the company grew, they gradually moved to larger spaces, recently opening a new 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility just outside of St. Thomas, Ontario at the beginning of 2020.    

When a company becomes larger and more widespread, it can often be difficult to maintain the integrity and locally-made feeling of a product, but Jamie has ensured that the hand-made, artisan aspect of Mitchell’s soups is never lost. The hand-filled bags you’ll find in stores today very closely resemble the product from which they started over 20 years ago. And when it comes to flavours, we just had to ask where the inspiration for their wide assortment of varieties comes from.   

“We want to co-partner with our customers to create a mealtime experience that they can feel a lot of personal pride in,” Jamie warmly explains. “We try to nourish people holistically where people are sharing stories, building relationships and coming together as a community.” Each soup mix comes with clear instructions and a simple shopping list of fresh items so you can spend less time at the grocery store and more time making memories in the kitchen. With core values so similar to our own at Sunterra, it’s no surprise that we’ve been proud retailers of Mitchell’s Soup Co. products since 2013. In fact, Sunterra was the very first retailer outside of British Columbia to sell Mitchell’s products!    

Though their team has developed some proprietary equipment to assist with production over the years, Jamie assures us that “there is no element of what [they] do that doesn’t require the skill of a human being.” Each bag of soup mix contains carefully selected, hand measured spice blends and Canadian-grown beans, legumes and peas whenever possible.   

Even after talking with Jamie for only a short time, it’s evident that he takes great pride in the values and culture that Mitchell’s Soup Co. continues to observe. “We really cultivate high priority around community and relationships where we can come together and help each other to grow in ways we wouldn’t be able to as individuals,” Jamie explains. “In order to make an artisan product, it really requires character in the person that’s making it.”    

Gift them to family and friends or create your very own mealtime experience with Mitchell’s Soup Co. soup mixes, all on Stockboy Special for 16% off throughout January 2022.  

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