TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fuwa Fuwa, Toronto’s first specialty shop for soufflé pancakes, announced that it has set its sights on expansion as several new franchise groups have signed on to grow the brand. Fuwa Fuwa hopes to see expansion across Canada in 2020 with the availability of additional franchising opportunities.

The Japanese pancake restaurant’s all-fluff-no-bluff soufflé desserts quickly gained popularity with its flagship location in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood in 2018. Since then, Fuwa Fuwa has expanded to two additional locations including its latest venture inside Square One Shopping Center.

“At Fuwa Fuwa, we understand our unique offerings and what makes our brand so likeable,” said Benson Lau, co-owner, “We have strong sales and traffic in a restaurant segment that has been challenging for many others. Our track record thus far makes us a great franchise opportunity and is the driving factor for our strategic expansion in 2020.”

Each pancake at Fuwa Fuwa is hand-made to order with fresh ingredients. Each dish begins with egg whites whipped to soft peaks, essential to their final airy quality, and is topped with a selection of fruits, creams, syrups and house sauces. Fuwa Fuwa also offers additional Japanese dessert classics, such as the matcha roll cake, and specialty hot and cold drinks.

Square One Shopping Centre sees 24 million shoppers each year, many drawn in by the sprawling 5,000 square foot Food District. As the brand continues to experience a steady upsurge in sales and traffic, the move to open a Fuwa Fuwa location at Square One Shopping Centre was an important step toward the long-term strategic plan of expanding nationally. 

“We have already been able to attract accomplished franchise partners that have considerable experience and are looking for a unique concept to invest into. Franchising is an important step forward and we believe that we are setting a strong foundation for our future partners to grow with us,” said Lau.

Fuwa Fuwa’s franchising model is designed to enable passionate young professionals to deliver happiness and high-quality unique products through standardized operating, strategic marketing and promotion and management processes. Alongside the opening for the new Square One location, the company plans to expand across Canada in 2020, with ten new stores slated for Ontario and Western Canada. A fourth store is already in the works at SmartCentres Vaughan and slated to open in March.

“Fuwa Fuwa has real momentum and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon,” said Lau. “We have many more franchise opportunities for those interested in joining the Fuwa Fuwa family and I have no doubt that we will continue to show impressive growth as we expand into new markets.”

Fuwa Fuwa invests strategically in traditional and digital marketing as well as PR and has been covered by major publications alongside sweeping award categories for Toronto’s top flapjacks and best brunch.

Square One Shopping Centre is located at 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga. Fuwa Fuwa will host its grand opening inside Square One on January 18, 2020. The store will be celebrating the opening day with one free Fuwa Fuwa Signature Pancake (Original Soufflé Pancake, Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana) per person for the first 200 guests, and a free bubble tea with the purchase of a pancake.

Interested franchise partners can contact the brand here.


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – January 15, 2020 - Califia Farms, a leading independently owned plant-based food and beverage company founded by natural product visionary Greg Steltenpohl, announces it has completed one of the largest private capital raisings within the natural foods sector, through a $225 million Series D financing led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).  Other investors in the financing include Singapore headquartered investment company Temasek, Canada based Claridge, Hong Kong based Green Monday Ventures, and a Latin America based family with significant interests in coffee and consumer products. Existing investors also converted previously issued notes as part of the financing.

The new investor group will take a minority stake in Califia Farms, with representatives from QIA, Temasek, and Claridge joining the Board of Califia, alongside founder Greg Steltenpohl and existing investors Sun Pacific, Stripes and Ambrosia.

Demand for plant-based beverages is exploding worldwide as consumers seek healthier, great-tasting dairy alternatives. This latest funding round will help Califia Farms build on the success of its oat platform and launch other lines. Proceeds will also allow Califia to further invest in increased production capacity, substantial R&D, deeper U.S. penetration, and continued global expansion.

Inspired by the legendary Queen Califia, namesake of the state of California, Califia Farms was founded in 2010 and has become one of the fastest-growing natural food and beverage companies of scale in the U.S. and select international markets. Califia is on a mission to discover and share ‘what plants can do’ to help people transform their health and adopt a lower carbon ‘foodprint’[1].

Califia is looking forward to working with a more global investor base, as the company continues to grow and fulfill its mission. “The more than $1 trillion global dairy and ready-to-drink coffee industry is ripe for continued disruption, with individuals all over the world seeking to transform their health & wellness through the adoption of minimally processed and nutrient rich foods that are better for both the planet and the animals,” said Greg Steltenpohl, Califia’s Founder and CEO. “Califia’s role is to help plant the future.”

“Speed to market is critical for companies at our stage and we are thrilled that our new partners share our vision to be the leading independent brand in the plant-based sector. Each of our partners brings significant resources and global expertise to accelerate our next stage of our growth,” he added.


January 15, 2020

The recent past has observed significant increase in the number of foodservice restaurants. This would remain among the leading factors driving consumption of straws at a global level. The mass shift in preference from plastics to recyclable and biodegradable material alternatives has been the key trend shaping straw sales. On the back of these factors, the straw market is projected to expand at a strong CAGR of nearly 7% during the forecast period (2019 - 2029).

Paper has been witnessing solid rise in demand as an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to single use plastic, which indicates a massive opportunity for paper straws in the near future. Currently, plastic straws and paper straws collectively account for the most of global market revenues.

Key Takeaways - Straw Market Study

  • Plastic straws are the most common trash item found in ocean. To overcome this and decrease the consumption of plastic straws, various manufacturers are offering recyclable, reusable, and compostable straws
  • Increasing number of bars and lounges, restaurants, and quick service restaurants is intensifying consumption of straws
  • Brand owners are investing in marketing and branding of products, which are expected to gain consumers’ attention
  • Straw manufacturers are collaborating to produce custom-made straws with logos and taglines for marketing as well as branding
  • To eliminate the usage of single-use plastic straws, foodservice companies and brand owners such as McDonald’s and Starbucks are using paper and bio-based straws

Straw manufacturers should focus on investments in novel material combinations to enhance the quality of straw, along with taking recyclability into consideration. Furthermore, small and medium scale players in the global straw market should augment investments in marketing through online foodservice platforms to establish themselves as a brand.

E-catering and Online Foodservice Platforms to Propel Straw Market Growth

Online foodservice platforms are providing convenient delivery at low costs, along with efficient packaging solutions, which is fueling worldwide sales of straws. Changing consumption pattern from offline to online sales channel in the F&B industry is anticipated to drive the straw market growth. Increasing number of fast food outlets and restaurants are also anticipated to create huge demand for straws in coming years.

Straw Market - Key Trends Shaping Competition

Manufacturers in the straw market are adopting collaboration strategy to expand their global reach. Leading players are offering wide range of options for straw consumers, such as collapsible straws, biodegradable straws, recyclable straws, reusable straws, and straw (Hay) straws.

  • Collaborations and Joint Ventures
  • Stora Enso Oy, a leading player in the packaging industry, and Sulapac Oy, a cosmetic packaging solution provider, formed a collaboration to create renewable straw ‘Sulapac Straw’.
  • A new entrant in the straw market, FinalStraw, which is a straw manufacturer, came up with a product ‘Collapsible Straw’. This can be folded and carried with a keychain, and is also reusable.
  • Product Launch
    • A new entrant in the straw market, FinalStraw, which is a straw manufacturer, came up with a product ‘Collapsible Straw’. This can be folded and carried with a keychain, and is also reusable.

January 8, 2020

Infusions Restaurant at Okanagan College will once again be a can’t miss stop for anyone looking to sip, savour and save as part of Dine Around Thompson Okanagan this month.

OC Chefs-in-training and chef instructors have designed a menu that not only showcases Okanagan ingredients but also incorporates aspects of traditional Syilx-Okanagan culinary knowledge and practices.

“This year we’ve added a selection of Indigenous fare, along with other daily features, to provide a culinary experience that is truly unique to the region,” explains Culinary instructor Chef Brian Alexander.

“Dine Around is a fantastic learning and teaching opportunity as it gives students a chance to get creative and expand their knowledge. In this case, one of the ways they will be doing that is delving into Indigenous knowledge, practices and ingredients.”

Diners can select from a two-course menu for $25 or a three-course menu for $35. This year’s menu features a number of vegan (VG) and gluten-free (GF) options as well as suggested local VQA wine pairings.

Appetizers include a choice of garden beet salad with goat cheese, winter spiced squash soup (VG) and smoked salmon bruschetta. Main course features include braised short rib (GF), hunter chicken, cedar plank wild salmon and quinoa napoleon stack (VG) for their main course, with the choice of a flourless chocolate cake or coconut posset (VG) for dessert.

Infusions is open for dinner Tuesday-Friday from 5:30 – 8 p.m. The feature menu will be offered from Jan. 15-31.

Reservations are recommended. Visit to check out the menu or make a reservation through the OpenTable feature on the site.

Also new for this year, Infusions diners will have a unique chance to meet the chefs as OC Culinary students will play a role in serving the meal during Dine Around.

“Students are very hands on with every aspect of Dine Around this year, from the creation of the menu to serving the food and interacting with guests,” explains Alexander.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to see how their creativity needs to really shine during a month like January, which is always a challenging one for the restaurant industry as a whole. Events like Dine Around provide a way for chefs to challenge themselves to try something new and find ways to draw people in, and that’s a very important and practical lesson for a new chef.”

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan will officially kick off with a Launch Party at Okanagan College on Tuesday, January 14 (that event has now sold out). More information about Dine Around and participating restaurants is available at 

Earlier this year, Okanagan College launched its first ever Indigenous knowledge-infused Culinary Arts intake, engaging Indigenous chefs from across the region, alumni and elders.

Those looking to launch a career as a professional cook can learn more about the Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College at an upcoming info session.

From 5-7 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 15 future chefs can tour OC’s Culinary Arts facilities and chat with instructors at the Kelowna campus at 1000 KLO Rd. More information is available at


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