Kraft Heinz to produce ketchup in Quebec with American tomatoes

It could thus pass between two and three years before the supply is carried out mainly from farmers established on this side of the border, explained Tuesday the American food giant.

We try to promote local sourcing as much as we can, especially in Quebec, but right now, with the agreements in place with American farmers, we will have to continue to source there., said Kraft Heinz Canada’s executive director, Av Maharaj, in a telephone interview.

The company had been criticized about six years ago when it decided to relocate production from its Ontario plant in Leamington south of the border. This had prompted competitors, such as the American company French’s, to focus on buying local for the production of the condiment, with the aim of establishing itself in the Canadian market.

An investment of $ 22 million

Kraft Heinz Canada will invest US $ 17 million (approximately C $ 22.4 million) to repatriate part of its US production to Montreal in order to respond to the Canadian market. A production line, slated to start up in the summer, will be added to its Montreal plant, which already manufactures peanut butter, Kraft macaroni and cheese and Maxwell House coffee, among others.

Maharaj said this was part of a plan to inject around US $ 100 million over the years. coming years to modernize and increase the capacity of the site which opened in the 1950s.

The addition of ketchup production is expected to result in the creation of 30 jobs in addition to consolidating 750 others. The company will benefit from a loan of $ 2 million from the Legault government. There could be a pardon on the full amount if job thresholds are met, Maharaj said.

American tomatoes

On the social network Twitter, the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, who had tabled a Quebec food purchase strategy last September, welcomed the investment of Kraft Heinz. In an email, his firm said Kraft Heinz’s investment was great news for the food processing industry and that there would be conversations between the company and the Quebec government about local procurement.

For me, Kraft’s decision is more a question of marketing, said Sylvain Charlebois, the senior director of the laboratory of analytical sciences in agrifood at Dalhousie University. It’s really to add a maple leaf to the bottle to protect the status of the brand which is still number one in Canada.

Regarding the purchase of tomatoes from American producers, Mr. Charlebois explained that in the industry, contracts were generally concluded for the long term since it was difficult for farmers to turn around on a dime.

Kraft Heinz announced in 2018 the closure of its Vaudreuil-Dorion distribution center, resulting in the elimination of 95 jobs. The activities had been moved to its Ontario facility in Milton, a suburb of Toronto.

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