How a small, family-owned company is becoming one of the top snack-food providers in North America

Three Farmers Founders Elysia and Natasha Vandenhurk. Photo provided by Three Farmers.

For more than 10 years, Three Farmers has been supplying families with a steady supply of healthy, protein-packed snacks. Since 2011, the family-owned business has grown from a line of roasted lentil snack-packs, to a selection of snacks on the go that feature Canadian-grown ingredients such as chickpeas, fava beans and the ever-popular lentils.

“We started with this whole concept of adding value to agricultural goods that we grow here in Saskatchewan, and taking them to consumers in a more transparent and direct way,” Three Farmers Founder and CEO Natasha Vandenhurk said. “We wanted to prioritize nutrient-dense crops that were great for the environment, that grew well in our climate and that would add value to consumers in their everyday diet, and so legumes and pulses are that exact item that made sense.”

Three Farmers’ Lentil Salad Toppers. Photo provided by Three Farmers.

Alongside growing their snack line, Three Farmers has been able to significantly scale their distribution and processing operations. In February 2024, the company opened a new, expanded manufacturing facility in Saskatoon, Sask., helping support its distribution to retailers across North America.

Vandenhurk said that achieving such a level of success has come, in part, thanks to feedback from customers and stakeholders, partnerships with the right suppliers, and a willingness to “hit the street.” This provided them not only with an opportunity to build on their plans, but also to address any skill gaps and do any additional necessary research.

“Surround yourself with good people. You need good advisors who’ve been there, done that, you need good team members that can fill in the skills gaps that you don’t necessarily have yourself, and you just need to always be listening. Make sure you’re listening to your consumer and continually iterating that product to make it better,” Vandenhurk said.

Most important to their success, however, was having a product that was different from others on the market.

“Differentiation is key,” Vandenhurk said. “Healthy snacking is certainly a need out in the industry. It’s growing exponentially year over year, that demand, and there’s not a lot of people who can do whole, roasted pulses, especially the way we do them.”

Having such a unique product is serving Three Farmers well in their ultimate goal: To become the number one whole bean snack brand in North America. It’s been a journey getting that far, after starting with an idea and growing into a company that spans the continent. At its heart, however, Three Farmers is still just that: three farmers and two sisters who came together to provide others with healthy, Canadian-grown and -made snacks.