Agriculture Minister André Lamontagne promises to ensure that the American giant Heinz sources Quebec tomatoes, at least in part, to produce its ketchup on the island of Montreal.
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The news has caused a lot of reaction since Wednesday. Thanks to an investment of $ 23.5 million in its Mount-Royal plant, including two million loaned by Quebec taxpayers, the American giant Kraft Heinz will soon start producing its famous ketchup in Canada again.
While some are delighted, including Minister Lamontagne and the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), this is not the case for the Saguenay entrepreneur Simon-Pierre Murdock, who launched into the production of ketchup when Heinz left the “tomato capital of Canada,” Leamington, Ontario six years ago.
“If there is one company that does not need it, it is they”, reacted in our pages the CEO of Canada Sauce, after learning that Quebec has granted a forgivable loan of $ 2 million to the multinational company.
Even more difficult to digest: due to contractual obligations, Heinz Kraft will use Californian tomatoes to produce its ketchup in Quebec, at least until 2023.
Respond to the request
Until then, Agriculture Minister André Lamontagne assures us that his government is already at work to identify Quebec tomato producers who could possibly meet “part of Heinz’s needs”.
“Supplying Heinz with tomatoes is quite a contract,” he observed. “The production of tomatoes for processing is not the same as the production of tomatoes that we will consume at our retailers,” added Mr. Lamontagne, noting that Quebec stopped at the beginning of the years. 90, to produce tomatoes for processing.
- Listen to economist and full professor at the Faculty of Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University Sylvain Charlebois:
“It is to arrive, then to have a plan, then to be ready”, said the minister, who undertakes to “prepare the ground” to meet the demand.
“I welcome it that Heinz is moving in with us. […] It gives us potential for our market, ”commented UPA President Marcel Groleau, who was participating in a government announcement with Mr. Lamontagne on Thursday morning.
$ 157 million for the biofood sector
Minister Lamontagne, who confirmed an investment of $ 157 million in the Quebec biofood sector, took the opportunity to launch the “$ 12 challenge”, which invites Quebecers to replace $ 12 of products from elsewhere in their grocery basket. by products from here.
Mr. Lamontagne estimates the potential spinoffs of this challenge at $ 1 billion per year for Quebec farmers, fishermen and food processors.
Caught at his own game at a press conference, the minister admitted that the choice is the ketchup produced in Saguenay with Canadian tomatoes that will end up in his basket.
The member for Quebec solidaire Vincent Marissal says he understands Mr. Murdoch’s discontent.
“Promoting local purchasing, especially in the food industry, and giving 2 million to the giant Heinz, which imports its tomatoes from California, is really what we call talking on both sides of the mouth”, lamented the Member of Parliament for Rosemont.
$ 157 million for food autonomy
- Investment follows economic update on November 12
- Quebec expects 3,800 jobs to be created
- $ 92.5 million over two years to support the growth of the food supply and to increase the productivity of the agricultural and biofood processing sectors, in particular through robotization
- $ 24 million to accelerate investments by La Financière agricole du Québec (FADQ), which will be used to accelerate agricultural investments.
- $ 23.4 million to stimulate demand for Quebec food products
- An additional $ 15 million to intensify advertising campaigns and support the “Aliments du Québec” brands