Toni Desrosiers demonstrates how her Abeego beeswax food wraps can be used to seal a bowl.

Toni Desrosiers demonstrates how her Abeego beeswax food wraps can be used to seal a bowl.

An eco-friendly way to wrap

Toni Desrosiers is changing how food is kept fresh, one kitchen at a time. The former Olds resident is convincing people to shun traditional plastic wraps and containers in favour of organic cotton and hemp sheets infused with beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil.

Toni Desrosiers is changing how food is kept fresh, one kitchen at a time.

The former Olds resident is convincing people to shun traditional plastic wraps and containers in favour of organic cotton and hemp sheets infused with beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil.

“Basically, we manufacture a reusable beeswax food wrap,” said Desrosiers, who now lives in Victoria. “You would use it to wrap up cheese, package your fresh herbs, cover your bowls — much in the same way that you would conventional plastic wrap or wax paper.”

But her product, which is called Abeego, is washable and reusable. In production since 2008, it’s currently sold in more than 300 stores across Canada and the United States, as well as online.

“We have a number of large accounts inquiring,” added Desrosiers, who has two distributors in Canada pushing Abeego.

The idea of storing food in a natural, reusable wrap probably appeals to many for environmental reasons. However, there are other practical benefits from using Abeego.

For one thing, it allows the contents to “breathe,” said Desrosiers.

“All living foods — like your cheeses, your fresh vegetables, your fresh herbs — they all emit gas as they are expiring. In a breathable package that gas can escape rather than get trapped in the package and turn into moisture that actually increases the spoilage rate.”

She added that Abeego can slow the deterioration of food in other ways.

“Beeswax has a natural antibacterial quality and it’s a natural preservative,” said Desrosiers, adding that tree resin, jojoba oil and hemp also have antifungal or antimicrobial properties.

It was a desire to find a natural way to store food that put her on the path to Abeego about seven years ago.

Desrosiers, who attended school in Olds from Grade 6 to high school, as well as during a couple of earlier grades, obtained training in natural nutrition. She began researching alternatives to plastic wrap, and soon was working with beeswax. To overcome its brittleness and low melting point, she started adding other ingredients and soon had a usable product.

“I actually started selling it within six months of designing it.”

Those sales occurred at Victoria markets, where eco-friendly consumers and tourists were eager to give Abeego a try. A strong and growing customer base resulted, allowing Desrosiers to build her business into a thriving enterprise that currently employs five. Its payroll swells further during the busy summer season, with Desrosiers’ husband Colin Johnston also helping out.

Production ramps up to about 6,000 sheets a month during peak periods, and revenues have jumped 40 per cent in each of the last two years.

Last year, Desrosiers was chosen to represent British Columbia in the Business Development Bank of Canada’s Young Entrepreneur Awards. She finished second nationally, earning her $25,000.

Now 35, she continues to look for new markets and opportunities. Desrosiers recently handed out Abeego wraps to celebrities at a Golden Globe gifting suite in Hollywood, with Gina Rodriguez — who was named Best Actress in a Comedy Television Series — among the recipients.

“Every celebrity that we met at that gifting suite loved our brand,” said Desrosiers.

She’s preparing to launch some new products, including one intended to replace a commonly used plastic kitchen item, but which remains confidential at this point.

Additional information about Abeego can be found online at abeego.com. The wraps can also be purchased online, and are also sold at the Nutter’s Bulk & Natural Food stores in Red Deer and Olds.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Olds College logo
Olds College to host free, online agriculture celebration next month

Olds College will host a free live-streamed agriculture event next month. The… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS upgrading online immunization booking tool

Alberta Health Services’ online booking tool for COVID-19 immunizations will be temporarily… Continue reading

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt were awarded with Meritorious Service Medals by the Governor General for co-founding the Lacombe-based charity A Better World. The agency’s goal is to reduce poverty and boost education in Africa and Afghanistan. (Contributed photo)
Co-founders of Lacombe-based charity receive one of Canada’s highest honours

Eric Rajah, Brian Leavitt of A Better World are honoured by the Governor General

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Creighton coach Greg McDermott watches the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler in Indianapolis. McDermott apologized publicly Tuesday, March 2, for using insensitive language in his postgame locker room talk with players and staff following a loss over the weekend. In a tweet, McDermott said he used a “terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

Sean Burke speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 25, 2017. The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

The Toronto Arrows line up ahead of their Major League Rugby game in Toronto on April 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson watches her shot against Team Ontario in the final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., on February 28, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Most Read