Morinville – A local couple is taking the stress out of baking from scratch by offering pre-packaged baking mixes they say taste just like you spent hours in the kitchen. Tasha and Darren Potiuk are the owners of Aunt Maud’s Baking Mixes, a company that manufactures 10 products, including three that are gluten-free, one of which is egg and dairy free.
“The company is a baking mix company. We make mixes out of the same things most people would use in their kitchen,” said co-owner Tasha Potiuk. “Everybody is short of time. We’re short of time. Who has time now? It takes the home baking and takes away all the pre-work. All you have to do is add your wet ingredients and you are good to go. You have home baking that’s as good as if it came from your kitchen. It’s so much easier and so much faster.”
The company has been around for more than 25 years but entered a new phase a couple years ago. “The company formed a while before we actually got involved in it,” Tasha Potiuk said, adding her father used to make crates for the original owners and bought the company 17 years ago. “They got to a point where they just were too busy and decided to sell.” Potiuk went on to say her father picked up the company and told her to go for it. “We added the gluten-free to it at that point.”
Many gluten-free products
The gluten-free products continue many years after they were first designed and are becoming requested more often. “There are so many dietary concerns these days. It’s huge, with allergies and sensitivities and people wanting to go a healthier route,” Tasha explained, adding her mother was a large help in the company’s gluten-free line. “My mother grew up with a celiac sister. My mother is in her 60s, so you can imagine when she was growing up what gluten-free food tasted like. It probably would have been tastier to eat your table. It was very very important to her to make not only a gluten-free option for people that can’t eat that, but to make it good. My mother slaved to make the recipes for the gluten-free mixes.”
Potiuk said she often has many people comment at trade shows about how great the gluten-free products taste. “It’s absolutely fantastic to see them be excited to get to try something because they don’t always get to,” she said. “It’s a fantastic feeling to know we are providing something that’s very needed but something good and for a decent price.” Partner Darren agrees. “Gluten-free is getting more and more popular now but 17 years ago it wasn’t very well known,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to know that the recipe has lasted this long and is still up to standards.”
Company moving forward
At one point Aunt Maud’s products were available across Canada, sold in small gift shops and specialty stores. Unfortunately, the couple lost their time slot in their production facility and the company shrunk and went dormant for a while. However, the couple gave Aunt Maud’s a kick-start about two years ago and things are going great once again. After mixing it up once again, the Potiuks took a table at the Rainmaker Rodeo in St. Albert and soon found their products being carried in Save On Foods. The couple said they are baby stepping into the bigger market. They are currently in four of the chain’s stores and are set to enter a fifth location. “Time is a factor. We have four kids and we both work full time,” Tasha said. “Time is a big factor. Production is another. I’m hesitant to explode. Things tend to burn out quickly when they explode.”
Though taking things slowly but surely, the couple is positive about the product’s future and the growth of their company.
Partner Darren is currently working on the company’s new packaging, labeling and branding. They are hoping to add a mix or two for diabetics in the future. Regardless of the expansion of the line or locations where the line is available, the Potiuks are planning to stick with the philosophy they have had for nearly 20 years: provide people with an opportunity to make wholesome, good home baking.
The product is currently available locally at Neighbors Vitamin Shop on 100 Avenue and the couple are anticipating having Aunt Maud’s Mixes at Sobeys in Morinville as soon as the new packaging and labelling is ready.