Big Purple Garlic – Invest Medicine Hat

Big Purple Garlic

Opportunities / Reports

Garlic and premium packaged foods are two products on the rise in Canada. Why not start up a premium garlic brand, by packaging Southern Alberta-grown garlic? First step, hit the 2018 Alberta Farmers’ Market circuit.


Medicine Hat’s greenhouse sector has over half a century of experience packing and distributing vegetables to destinations across Canada. As national grocery chains respond to increasing customer demand for locally-grown produce, there seems to be an opportunity to add value to food products through branding, packaging, and quality control.

With all that in mind, how could an enterprising entrepreneur turn large bulbs of Alberta-grown purple garlic – an increasingly popular ingredient – into a marketable product? Invest Medicine Hat outlines a roadmap to success.


Garlic is a commodity that competes on price. On that front, China and California garlic producers have a long-held advantage. But as Edmonton-based Little Potato Company has proven, customers are willing to pay extra for a well-branded commodity that makes their life easier while looking good in their home.

Following that logic, an opportunity exists for an entrepreneur to buy garlic from Medicine Hat-area farmers, and package it under a fashionable but simple trade name … Big Purple Garlic.

Furthermore, Medicine Hat’s disproportionate number of business and creative service professionals can provide market access and sophisticated, professional branding.

The Vision

Create a packaged food brand utilizing Medicine Hat’s regional garlic producers, business and packaged food professionals, and creative services industry.

Canada’s sunniest city is home to one of Western Canada’s longest growing seasons, and a number of packaged food pioneers lead by Medicine Hat Meat Traders, who recently participated in Arlene Dickenson’s District Ventures food packaging group. Elsewhere in Alberta, Edmonton-based Little Potato Company proves that there is plenty of value to be extracted from typically low-value commodities in the grocers’ aisle as they opened a $20 million facility in Wisconsin in 2016 to complement their Alberta operation.

The Setup

The idea’s not as crazy as you think. But the question remains … how do you set up a premium garlic business? Let us walk you through the process by answering the W-Five. We even provide resources like food packaging options, logo design files and an Alberta Farmers’ Market directory.

If you want to start your own packaged garlic business, you’re welcome to our logo design files. It is licensed to you, free of charge, under Creative Commons 0 licensing. That means you can use it wherever you like at no cost, without even providing design credit. If we see our logo on store shelves, that’s all the reward we need.

WHO | Canadian Grocers & Farmer’s Markets

As demand for Canadian-grown produce and garlic continues its upward trajectory, shoppers are willing to pay a few extra dollars for a well-branded, quality product. Proving the product at Alberta farmer’s markets would be an excellent first step.

WHAT | Locally-grown garlic

Marrying Southern Alberta’s reputation for quality produce with professional branding and a solid sales strategy could add value to a food commodity that’s seeing a bump in popularity. You can easily source packaging from companies like Enterprise Paper, who specialize in retail food packaging.

WHEN | 2018 Farmer’s Market Season

Alberta’s farmer’s market circuit heats up in late spring, which would be a perfect time to launch a new product. That leaves the next six months for securing supply, branding and packaging. You can see the entire list of Alberta Farmers’ Market Association markets by following this link.

WHERE | Trade Events

Following a successful farmer’s market season, efforts can be ramped up by attending national buying tradeshows, which put Big Purple Garlic in front of national, provincial and regional grocers looking for new product. The Canadian Health Food Association hosts three trade events each year, which attract national buyers seeking the next big thing for their store shelves.

WHY | Where your food comes from matters

Maybe it’s the Pinterest Effect, but cooking good food is not always enough anymore. Healthy, delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs seem to be part of the process, and where you get your ingredients matters. Adding three cloves of Big Purple Garlic to your Asiago Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup is sexy.