Soapmakers Chris Gheran and Maureen Cimolai debate whether making soap is an art or a science, and decide that it is a bit of both. Chris shares how the slightest fluctuations in temperature, or mixing or under mixing the batch can alter the end result. Each batch has its own personality, and behaves a little differently. According to Chris, making soap is like playing the tambourine; it’s easy to play, but hard to play well.
Alberta Natural Products is a sister company to Community Natural Foods. It was the inspiration of CNF co-founder Garry Wilkes, who saw a need in the market for a high quality, healthy and natural bar soap at value pricing. The company began in Garry’s basement, with research and formulation experimenting, until they arrived at a sudsy, long-lasting hard soap bar. Once the formulation was complete, Alberta Natural Products began releasing one variety at a time, and now has 18 different varieties of soap ranging from the best-selling Simple Soap, with no scent or coloring, to the uplifting Ylang Ylang Sunset, and the soothing Lavender Luster.
The ingredients in the soap are one of the biggest selling points for customers. Completely plant-based, with no animal by-products or hidden chemicals, the soap ingredients are simple, great for all skin types, and easily recognizable. Olive oil, palm and coconut oil make up the base oils. Scents are added with the use of essential oils, and coloring is accomplished with plant and mineral-based colors. The palm and coconut oils are both sourced from suppliers that belong to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an organization working on a certification that will help make sustainable palm oil the norm in the market.
As the company has grown and demand for soap increased across the Prairies and B.C., more products have been added to ANP’s product line. On top of making soap and a nutritional greens supplement, ANP also carries a large selection of organic herbs/spices and nutritional bulk items such as chia seeds, nutritional yeast and psyllium husk.
The greens supplement, Alberta Naturals Greens, contains the top 14 ingredients in the greens category (eg. Wheatgrass, spirulina, alfalfa) and a probiotic. It is subtle tasting, with a light, sweet flavor. Alberta Naturals Greens supports digestion, supports liver function, reduces inflammation, stabilizes intestinal flora and helps to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
By Lauren Mangion, Conscious Home