Jasmine Byrne

Forty under 40 winner 2018 Vice-president, Big Mountain Foods Ltd., Age 31

Chung Chow photo

Jasmine Byrne’s 2013 decision to join Big Mountain Foods Ltd. paid off quickly for her, the company and her business partner, Kimberly Chamberland – who happens to be Byrne’s mother.

With Byrne on board suggesting new products and networking to gain new wholesale buyers and capitalize on the burgeoning vegetarian food market, the company’s revenue surged within five years from the low six figures into millions of dollars.

Her goal is for Big Mountain Foods to generate $20 million in annual revenue within the next several years.

“We don’t like putting on paper actual dollar figures because in the category we’re in, we’re growing like crazy and by the time publications are on the internet [they are outdated],” she said.

She estimated that Big Mountain Foods products are on shelves at more than 3,000 locations across North America. That’s up from about 200 stores five years ago.

Stimulating that expansion is demand for the company’s vegetarian burger patties, which are “allergen-free” with no soy, wheat, nuts or other ingredients many consumers are allergic to, Byrne said.

Byrne’s inspiration for suggesting those veggie burger patties came in part because in 2013 she was diagnosed with celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder that meant that Byrne could cause damage to her small intestine if she consumed gluten.

“I looked around in the [vegetarian burger] category that my mum was in, and in that space there was nothing that was allergen-free,” she said. “I saw a huge opportunity in the market so I pitched the idea to go gluten-free.”

Big Mountain Foods had been operating out of a 2,500-square-foot facility in south Vancouver for decades until recently expanding that space into a 5,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.

Bryne said that plans are underway to move into an even larger building to ensure that there is enough space for expansion.

Outside of work, Byrne is an active volunteer at the British Columbia Food Processors Association, where she recently won an award as a rising star.


Birthplace: Vancouver

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Bachelor of business administration, major in human resources, minor in entrepreneurial leadership

Currently reading: VegNews magazine is a top pick; any side reading I do is research in the plant-based sector. I believe in real-time, up-to-date information via social media and websites, getting into the brains of chefs, startups, bloggers, activists, big corporations, etc.

Currently listening to: Honestly, now that we installed Google Home in the office, the running joke is: “Google, play some soft jazz.” Try it

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Criminal lawyer 

Profession you would most like to try: Politician/activist  

Toughest business or professional decision: Leaving the start of a comfortable corporate career to expand the family business. Scaling up a food manufacturing business, especially vegan at a time when it wasn’t “trending,” was a huge gamble and I knew it would take sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears – literally 

Advice you would give the younger you: Network, network, network. You never know what will come from “small talk.” Connections are key; we are all human so don’t get a complex or too worked up about it. Get into public speaking young so when you are up against older peers you can stand your ground, be respected and feel confident

What’s left to do: Make Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list with achievements such as Fortune 500 or the United Nations Champion of the Earth designation


Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40