Ontario Food Cluster takes its team to Chicago to attract fast-growth store brand market to “Canada’s kitchen”
Chicago The Canadian agri-food sector’s leading “store brand,” the Ontario Food Cluster, is attending America’s largest private label trade show in Chicago this week to encourage international food and beverage buyers and suppliers to follow the lead of Horizon Milling G.P. by investing and becoming part of Ontario’s $39 billion, 3,200-company food and beverage processing sector.
Sparked by private label dollar share hitting a record high of $59.9 billion in 2011, economic development executives from the Ontario Food Cluster, also known as “Canada’s kitchen” are attending the 2012 PLMA Private Label Trade Show to highlight the cluster’s stellar reputation for reliable, sustainable sources of agricultural raw materials, state-of-the-art automated food processing methods, and world-class food safety.
Horizon Milling G.P., a joint venture between Minneapolis, Minn.-based Cargill and Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-based CHS Inc., is planning to build a state-of-the-art flour mill in Guelph, home to the University of Guelph, an agri-food R&D powerhouse for the Ontario Food Cluster. Cargill currently employs more than 1,500 people in Guelph at its Meat Solutions and Case Ready businesses and is one of the city’s leading employers.
Horizon Milling G.P. will also benefit from Ontario’s abundant supply of cereal grains which are an integral part of the province’s cropping system, with Ontario farmers producing over 102 million bushels in 2011. The new flour mill will predominantly source grain from Canadian farmers in both eastern and western Canada, and increase Horizon Milling G.P.’s Canadian production by up to 30 percent. The company produces flour, oats and dry baking mixes for the foodservices, bakery and food processing industries.
“Our new facility will represent the future in flour mills. As a completely new complex, we will incorporate the latest technologies in the industry and design the site to allow farmers easy access for deliveries while taking advantage of Ontario’s efficient rail and truck transportation links,” said Dan Dye, President, Horizon Milling. “We look forward to our expansion in Ontario and hope to be operating in 2014.”
Horizon Milling G.P.’s new flour mill will take advantage of Guelph Junction Railway, a city-owned, 25-mile short-line rail system that is fully integrated with transportation networks throughout Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and to other shipping transportation systems that serve international markets.
The food processing industry is considered strategic by the Province of Ontario, which has the goal of being North America’s top food processing hub. Already the continent’s second-largest food and beverage processing jurisdiction, agri-food businesses take advantage of Ontario’s excellent proximity to 450 million affluent food consumers through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In turn, these companies can access several targeted programs and tax incentives to expand in Ontario.
“Horizon Milling G.P.’s planned expansion is the latest example of the Ontario Food Cluster’s compelling draw to international food processing firms,” said Barbara Maly, Chair of the Ontario Food Cluster. “The Cluster is at the 2012 PLMA Private Label Trade Show to make more companies aware of Ontario’s excellent agri-food business support and investment opportunities.”