In 2008, Toni Desrosiers invented the very first Beeswax food wrap. She was on a mission to create a way to extend the life of food, naturally and without plastic wrap.
For Toni, it’s not only about reducing waste with reusable food wraps but reducing food waste by extending the life of your food.
In the last ten years, Abeego has come a long way. But what’s next for Abeego? We sat down with Toni to ask just that.
What inspired the name “Abeego”?
I named my company to capture the lifestyle and the essence of Abeego as a brand over simply naming my creation because from day one I knew Abeego would be a line of kitchen goods, not merely a food wrap. Only an entirely new word would do.
My husband, Colin and I spent what felt like an eternity coming up with a name. We kept a sheet of paper handy and every time a word or sound popped into our minds we wrote it down. At one point Colin suggested we call the company Gobeea, as in go-bee-a-change but it felt preachy and a bit too granola for me so I shut it down. We were playing on the idea of bees and taking food to-go when we came up with Abeego. We both instantly fell in love with it.
It was weeks later when we were looking at the name that we realized Abeego is Gobeea in reverse!
Abeego is the very first Beeswax wrap, how was the idea for Abeego brought to life?
I was working as a holistic nutritionist in a health food store, and people were freaking out about BPA. So, Abeego started as an act of defiance. I believed that something as natural as preserving our food would have a nature made solution. Seriously, humans have been storing food since the beginning of time. I started to research past food storage methods and as you can imagine they weren’t as convenient as pulling out a box of plastic wrap. I decided to create a product to fit modern day demands and mimic how nature would wrap food.
I set some ground rules. Each ingredient selected had to be all natural and in its natural state. It had to be entirely plastic free. Everything had to be edible, have natural preservative qualities and be approved by the FDA for food contact.
I visited museums and libraries. I poured over books that shared stories of the past; I watched movies set before plastic was invented and studied lemon peels. I’d go back to my kitchen and experiment, but my research needed a human touch. So I reached out to elders, and quickly it became about their stories because when it comes to keeping food fresh, people treat it more like an art than a science. I heard stories of trips into the dark, cold cellar or canning the summer harvest and it pushed me to dig deeper. Every person I interacted with helped shape Abeego and the experiential richness of their stories was inspiring. Listening to people and building relationships with them is what drove home the point that food is at the core of culture and human connection.
How have you seen Abeego evolve over the years?
It’s evolved in so many ways: visually, physically, and even how we talk about it.
My first design was intended to take a sandwich to go, but the single purpose nature of it didn’t allow me to achieve my goal of eradicating plastic wrap from the kitchen, so I started to strip away details and simplify it which also helped it become a more scalable business. Life is a constant evolution, and Abeego is no different.
This year, Abeego turns ten years old, where would you like to see Abeego go in the next ten years?
In a perfect future, I see an Abeego spread to all parts of the world. We have goals to expand the line and create new products, and they’ll be coming sooner than later. I also have other ideas for products that may not fit within the Abeego brand so there may be a sister company or two in the works as well.
Our mission, “Keep Food Alive” resonates differently for everyone. What does Keep Food Alive mean to you?
To me, Keep Food Alive is about stories, or rather the moments that build into a story. Every meal has a story which could range from how you made it, why you wanted it, or with whom you shared it. It’s the moments you're nourished & connected to food in a lively, present or conscious manner. Meals fill us for a little while, but these warm fuzzy “moments,” satiate for years.
SHOP ABEEGO & KEEP FOOD ALIVE
It is with deep respect and gratitude that we create, build and operate our business in the communities of Southern Vancouver Island, which as a business we acknowledge is located within the ancestral and unceded territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) (Esquimalt and Songhees), Malahat, Pacheedaht, Scia'new, T’Sou-ke and W̱SÁNEĆ (Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum) peoples.