case study: grocery shopping tour

Victoria Laine does a simple thing that most entrepreneurs could do but never think of.

She hosts tours.

Now, she does tours of grocery stores. But maybe you could host a tour of strawbale homes. Maybe you could host a tour of gluten free options in your neighbourhood. A medicinal plant walk. A pub crawl with a theme related to your work. Maybe you could host a tour of all the strawbale homes in your community (even if you’re not a strawbale expert yourself). So many businesses could do this easily.

Tours get you away from your computer, connect you with potential clients, help build your credibility and might also help the people or businesses you’re taking your tours to.


What is the name of your project?

Grocery Shopping Tours – Victoria Laine Nutrition & Yoga

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

I’ve had a fascination with food since I was a teen.

Watching other females in my life continually on yoyo diets, I developed an unhealthy relationship with food, obsessed with calorie counting and eventually an eating disordered pattern. Fortunately I overcame the eating disorder and grew to appreciate and have confidence in my body, which I credit to a better understanding of nutrition and a regular yoga practice.

However I was suffering with allergies, asthma, arthritic pain, depression, and digestive problems all unknowingly related to my food choices. Reading nutrition books, consulting naturopathic doctors and a holistic nutritionist, I overcame my health challenges and felt the best I’d ever felt. My experiences inspired me to want to help others who were unnecessarily suffering.

Health starts with the choices we make in the grocery store. Even before completing nutrition school over 10 years ago, I learned a lot about the power of foods. Sleuthing through grocery store isles reading labels, and investigating the nutritional benefit of unfamiliar foods had become somewhat of a hobby.

When Organic Roots Food Market and Restaurant opened in Edmonton I was hired to develop the first menu and to provide grocery tours and whole-food vegetarian demos. Both were well attended because of a growing awareness in our community of how important our food choices are to our body and to the earth.

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

The tour starts out in the produce area where I highlight the disease-fighting benefits of specific fruits and veggies, and how to include them.

I introduce less familiar vegetables and fruits to help participants expand their whole-food horizons. I present information about organically grown vs conventionally grown foods to help participants to make the most do-able choices for their individual budget.

We discuss strategies for saving money while improving their health and have fun sharing ideas and experience. Then we move to the inside isles to discover more unfamiliar foods or familiar foods that can be used in new refreshing ways. I cover information about ethical, sustainable food choices to help people make conscious choices. I provide them with recipes and a few helpful handouts.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

These grocery tours are not for those who are satisfied with their daily food choices and do not see any room for improvement. They are most useful for those who want help to make more conscious choices or who are are struggling to deal with the overwhelm of too many choices. They are looking to find strategies to make the healthiest food shopping and eating simple, delicious, and do-able.

What’s the response been so far to the tours? What kind of numbers do you get per tour?

I limit the tours to 12 people so that everyone can hear what I’m saying and its a more intimate group…and so that we don’t disturb shoppers! The two tours I did in the spring were full, and I didn’t offer them in the summer season. The September tours have just been announced, and I expect a great response, so I’d encourage registration sooner than later due to limited space.

At it’s heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such)

At it’s heart my business is about doing what i can for the betterment of the world by serving others who need support, or are looking for inspiration, understanding, or encouragement.

I’ve been so fortunate to learn from wise, inspirational teachers, leaders, and authors such as John Robbins, T. Collin Campbell, Jane Goodall, Jonathan Safran Foer, Guy Dauncy, Brenda Davis, Michael Pollan, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Rachel Carson, and so forth…so many influential people who have given me clarity of purpose.

My tag line (Maureen is still working on adding it to my website) is Quick-Fix Solutions for Busy Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat-Lovers too!

While I don’t think there is a quick-fix solution for problems associated with factory farms and CFOs (confined feeding operations), genetically modified foods, the pain endured by immigrant workers, and other tragic issues of modern food production, I do think as individuals we have the power to make positive changes quickly to be a part of the bigger solution.

What I’ve come to learn from authors and speakers who promote healthy sustainable food choices is that as humans we are generally self-focused, so the primary reason most people will initially shift to a plant-based or plant-strong diet is because they want better health.

That being the case I have the opportunity as a nutritionist to influence others to become aware of the ethical, moral, and environmental issues connected to their daily food choices. Part of how I do that is using  quoted words of the renowned and respected authors, and by introducing my clients and students to books and documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, as well as EarthSave newsletters, local groups like VOA and E-Sage, etc…so they can make more informed decisions.

I also tell them about Earths General store and other great local resources like farmers markets. And I love that clients and students love to share their latest ah-ha moments and resources with me, enabling me to share with others.

After they do the tour – are there options for them to hire you or work with you? What happens next for them? How do the tours fit in the bigger business strategy?

The tours are about giving people a value packed two hours with stuff to take home to keep them motivated to continue their healthier eating quest.

It’s also a chance for people to check me out to see if they might want to join one of the webinar programs I will be offering or work with me privately in 1-1 nutrition coaching which they can contact me about on the website under the 1-1 private Blissful Belly program.

I also offer free 20 minute consultations to allow people to see if I might be a good fit for their needs, and so i can give them a few getting started strategies. They can apply for the complimentary 20 minute consultation on my website.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

MailChimp mailout to website registration, I’ve set up a Facebook page and am learning how to use it (looking for help with this) and other social media to help get the word out about this and the other new programs I’ll be offering in the near future.  I’ll be blogging soon! I’m relaunching my business with a web based model so clients and students can save time and reduce their impact on the environment by calling in on Skype, FaceTime or Phone.

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Great question Tad! I’ve learned that to truly support people you have to meet them where they are at, and start from there.

I’ve learned that while my suggestions or recommendations may be helpful, what is most influential is what I do – when people see me doing my best to walk my talk. And I’ve learned that people are doing their best and need a new or different awareness to make better choices but that even when they do form new ideals they can still struggle with the logistics of their choices.

So my role of assisting people to put their goals into action is what I see as most valuable, which is why I enjoy seeing their excitement grow in the tours and the classes.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

Grocery Tour participants, readers of my first book (Health By Chocolate) and others, may also be interested to know about the new book and programs I’ve developed in response to the growing desire for helpful resources that make conscious eating easier.

My newest book, Real Life Vegan Quick-Fix Solutions: 10 Weeks of Whole-Food Fusion Meals with Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, and Meat-Lover Variations includes downloadable grocery lists, reliable recipes, how to set up a whole-foods kitchen, whole-foods assessment chart, and much more.

My Blissful Belly program is growing in popularity and I’m almost finished developing 2 new webinar courses called 21 Day Vibrant Vegan JumpStart program, and WholeFood Nutrition Made Easy. I’m so excited for all of these offerings as they allow interaction and enjoyable learning in the comfort of their own home (from anywhere in the world where time zones jive), saving participants time, and reducing their environmental footprint.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Anyone interesting in finding out more can go to: to learn more about nutrition coaching, classes, programs, and books. If they’re looking for a speaker or workshop leader they are welcome to contact me on the site. If they are looking for a copy of Health By Chocolate they can find it at Greenwood Books, Audreys Bookstore, Earths General Store, and other locations in Edmonton, or the major bookstores elsewhere.

Real Life Vegan Quick-Fix Solutions will be available in print and eBook. Victoria

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you Tad for helping get the word out! I’m very grateful.


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