Fall in Love with These Eatable Snacks that Have Walked the Red Carpet

Feb 14, 2024

Everyone has a favourite flavour combo, from peas and carrots to peanut butter and jelly. But have you ever tried popcorn and champagne? Eatable Inc. founders Charlene and Vince Li have taken their love for snacks and spirits to create a line of healthy snacks inspired by the flavours of wine, spirits, and cocktails. 

Eatable was founded in 2019, and today, its popcorn can be found in gourmet stores across Canada and the U.S. While the business is headquartered in Markham, the original idea came to Charlene and Vince while they were living in Boston.

“Charlene got a job in a startup real estate company, and we saw it as an opportunity to expand our roots. So with our two-year-old and a dog in tow, we packed up our bags and moved to Boston. In the short term, I had the chance to spend more time with my son while Charlene worked. It was then that I found my passion in the kitchen,” Vince said.

The inspiration for what would become Eatable came to Charlene and Vince during a wine-tasting class. Vince said they both liked a glass of wine paired with a great snack, but they noticed many of the snacks available were heavy or didn’t pair well with what they were imbibing.

“We like to drink. We like to snack. Eatable brings the two worlds together,” Vince said.

After developing and perfecting the recipe at home, the couple quickly realized they potentially had something that could be a business. They participated in an incubator program in Boston and placed highly in a pitch competition.

“When we did well in the pitch competition, we thought that the idea had legs — so we decided to bring it back here to where our family support network is. We’ve been growing the business ever since,” Vince said.

While they chose to move back to Markham for their family network, Charlene and Vince soon found a new network of business support. Shortly after launching the business in Markham, they were introduced to York University’s YSpace Markam incubator. YSpace is a physical incubator space dedicated to supporting growth-ready ventures with mentoring, access to capital, and networking.

“I think it just goes to show how much emphasis the City of Markham places on entrepreneurship by creating that environment of support. The city has placed a lot of resources in building these co-working spaces,” Charlene said.

Charlene and Vince added that businesses like Eatable have benefited from the work Markham does through partnering with the provincial government. Eatable was able to take advantage of grants and other funding opportunities through the partnerships the city and YSpace have created.

“They’re great at joining together municipal and provincial resources — and promoting those opportunities to entrepreneurs and businesses in the community,” Charlene said.

Eatable is creating its own partnerships as it continues expanding distribution in stores, including Hudson’s Bay and Holt Renfrew. They recently launched a collaboration with Modesto, CA-based Barefoot Wines that’s available in LCBO stores across Canada. Its most recent collaboration has taken them from LCBO shelves to the red carpet.

“We did a collaboration which was sold in the Academy’s museum store. That was the coolest thing yet — we were able to fly to Los Angeles and see the product in the store,” Vince said.

Charlene said Eatable’s success has been made possible by the partnerships and opportunities the City of Markham has helped create.

“The YSpace community that has developed in Downtown Markham has been our go-to. Especially in the early days of running our business, where we were able to connect with other entrepreneurs and participate in events. Markham creates these spaces where magic can happen in entrepreneurship,” Charlene said.