Ontario Food Cluster success profiles

In Ontario the agri-food and beverage sector is the number one employer. Many major domestic and multi-national manufacturers locate in Canada, all with a presence in Ontario:

ADM, McCain Foods, Labatt Breweries of Canada, George Weston Ltd., Saputo, Kellogg Canada, General Mills Canada, Sleeman Breweries, Parmalat Canada, Heinz Kraft, McCormick Canada, Cargill Canada, Diageo Canada Inc. and these:

Unilever Canada Inc. – Norfolk County. Unilever’s 1.2-billion annual business in Canada includes the 264,000-square-foot ice cream manufacturing and packaging plant in Norfolk County. It is operated by over 300 employees, producing Klondike, Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, and Popsicle brands. The plant is part of Unilever’s global plans to operate as an environmentally responsible manufacturer, achieved zero waste by landfill status. www.unilever.ca 

Shabatura Produce – Norfolk County. Shabatura Produce operates on 1,350 acres, growing strawberries, zucchini, spring and summer cabbage, storage cabbage, a variety of peppers, field tomatoes and cantaloupe. The company delivers to the Ontario Food Terminal six days per week in summer, as well as major grocery chains. Produce is also shipped to the eastern seaboard of the United States and to the mid-west. Other large scale growers in Norfolk County include EZ Grow Farms, Lake Erie Farms, Magalas Produce, Norfolk Potato Company, Procyk Farms, S&I Agricultural Commodities, and Welsh Brothers. www.shabaturaproduce.com

Frito-Lay Canada – Waterloo Region. Frito-Lay Canada recently announced a 144,000sf expansion at its existing site in Waterloo Region employing 650 people. This manufacturing facility produces the majority of Canadas’s Lay's, Doritos, Tostitos, Ruffles, SunChips, Cheetos, Miss Vickie's, Smartfood and Twistos and exports to the United States. http://pepsico.ca/en/Brands/Frito-Lay-Canada.html

Huron Produce Ltd. – Middlesex County. Has acquired the former Wescast Production Facility located at Hwy. 402 and 81 in Strathroy, ON – 165,000 sq. ft. to centralize their distribution of fresh produce throughout the region. www.huronproduce.ca

NSF International – City of Guelph. NSF International’s Canadian headquarters, located its 20,000 square foot, state of the art facility, employing over 70 people in the heart of Ontario Food Cluster, Guelph Ontario. They are amongst an internationally renowned food cluster including Canada’s Food University, the University of Guelph and over 3000 leading agri-food companies and associations in the province. NSF International offers fully integrated services which set the industry standard for food safety, certification, training and consulting and supports their mission to protect and improve global human health.

Planet Shrimp – County of Elgin. They will operate the largest indoor Pacific white shrimp farm in Canada.  The indoor farm will be housed in a 225,000 square foot state-of-the-art bio secure facility in the Town of Aylmer.  The site of the former Imperial Tobacco plant, the facility has seen significant private investment and was the recipient of a $237,000 provincial investment.  The farm will supply millions of naturally raised, organic, sustainable shrimp annually to customers. The shrimp will be fresh, never frozen, and arrive at tables within hours of harvest. www.planetshrimp.com

WeedMD.com – County of Elgin. WeedMD.com has launched a new plant in Aylmer, Ontario to produce affordable, high quality medical marijuana that exceeds stringent new Health Canada regulations. The Toronto based company will develop a facility in south west Ontario that will also create many local jobs.  The location of the medical marijuana facility is on the site of a large former Imperial Tobacco factory in the Town of Aylmer.  WeedMD.com has secured a pre-approval license to produce 2,500kg of medical marijuana per year from Health Canada. www.weedmd.com

Fire Roasted Coffee – London. Opened a new 28,000 square foot Agri-Food Incubator on Dundas Street in London for small-batch production of locally sourced food products by various small and start-up food manufacturers. Read more.

Toboggan Brewing Company – London. Opened a new craft brewery in downtown London, employing 10 staff. Read more.

Bosco & Roxy’s – London. Expanded into a new 30,000 square foot facility for the production of dog treats. With the expansion, the company now employs more than 100 staff in London. Read more.

McCormick Canada – London. Received a grant of $354,240 from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund to retain 435 jobs and add 27 new positions. Read more.

Innerseasonings International Inc – Windsor-Essex. A local company spawned from Windsor’s famous Tunnel BBQ restaurant that produces spices and sauces is expanding into the Middle East. They are currently in the process of getting their sauces and spices labelled in Arabic and certified halal and kosher to increase appeal, where they will be used on beef, lamb and chicken but not pork. Read more.

Highbury Canco – Windsor-Essex. In the 18 months since Highbury Canco engineered a rescue plan for Leamington’s biggest employer after Heinz’s shocking exit announcement, the company has gone from an initial 250 full-time employees (down from more than 700 when it was owned by Pittsburgh food giant Heinz) to 325 last fall and now to more than 400. Read more.

Strathroy Brewing Company – Middlesex County. The craft brewing industry continues to expand in Western Ontario as the Strathroy Brewing Company continues to build momentum in the municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc located in Middlesex County. The microbrewery installed 7 fermentation tanks and a new brew house at its facility located on the site of Strathroy’s old flour mill. The company has developed several pale ale recipes including its flagship 1812 brand and a new gluten-free brew. www.strathroybrewingcompany.ca


Ontario's agri-food sector successes include strategic R&D initiatives

The Canadian Government and the Government of Ontario are both active players in the province’s innovation economy, and agri-food is no exception.

On April 1, 2013, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's new federal-provincial-territorial initiative representing a $3 billion investment, known as Growing Forward 2: 2013-2018, came into effect to enhance innovation, competitiveness and market development in provincial agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors.

The province of Ontario supports its world-class education system, highly skilled workforce, creative environment and diverse culture. For the Ontario Food Cluster, that means government support for: