When Sonia Mastroianni went gluten-free 15 years ago, she had a hard time finding good bread. Many of the gluten-free products available weren’t palatable, so she set out to find a solution. She met her future business partner, Grant MacMillan, by chance and learned that Grant’s son, Aidan, is autistic and was eating a gluten-free diet with products Grant had developed from scratch at home.
Sonia and Grant banded together to focus on creating a high quality gluten-free bread for consumers and founded Aidan’s Gluten Free, named after Grant’s son, so they could enhance the lives of other gluten-intolerant people and help them feel “normal” again. Over the next few months they developed their business plan and through a bit of research, Grant learned about the Toronto Food Business Incubator (TFBI) at the time. For the newly formed Aidan’s Gluten-Free, this was perfect. They submitted their application and were accepted into the program.
Working at the TFBI, Grant product developed and finalize recipes for testing and learned to use the industrial equipment needed to make bread at a larger scale. It also provided them with a market to test their product. Every Saturday for about 1 year, Sonia would take Aidan’s Gluten Free bread to the Toronto Food Business Incubator’s table at the St. Lawrence Market. They began to see return customers and in turn, began to see an increased demand for their product.
As they saw their customer base growing, Sonia and Grant decided it was time to open their own facility. They were no longer able to produce their products at a high enough volume to fill the demand of their growing consumer base. One of the business mentors at the TFBI helped with providing contacts and information that enabled them to move into their own facility in 2010.
Seven years later and Aidan’s Gluten Free is thriving! They have over 10 different gluten-free products including white and brown bread loaves, baguettes, bagels, buns, pitas and more! Better yet, they are all made in their gluten, egg, dairy, soy, nut, peanut and sesame free facility in North York.
Sonia can rest easy knowing she’s making a real difference in the food and beverage industry, as well as people’s everyday lives. She wanted to make a product that would help people, and the gluten-free community has been happy to have Aidan’s Gluten Free! Sonia’s biggest success? Doing something meaningful and giving back to those who are struggling with food sensitivities. 🍞