Toronto – A snack food company based in Mississauga, Ont. is this year’s Ontario Food Exporter award winner.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced Super-Pufft Snacks as the winner this week.
The Al-Ali family bought Super-Pufft about 20 years ago when it was an outdated popcorn plant.
The family converted the plant into a state-of-the-art food facility and today is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of private label branded popcorn, potato chips, extruded snacks and canister crisps.
The company exports to more than 30 countries, from Belgium to Mongolia to Israel, with sales representing almost 70 per cent of the 20 million canisters manufactured annually. Super-Pufft’s products are kosher and halal certified.
The company is about to double its kettle chip production as it recently completed a $6-million plant expansion project. In fact, since 2011 the growth in exports has allowed Super-Pufft to hire more than 20 additional full-time staff and by the end of 2015 another 15 will be employed to support a new canister line.
“We are honoured to be recognized with the Ontario Food Exporter Award,” says Yousif Al-Ali, Super-Pufft’s president and CEO.
“In the past 20 years, we have become one of North America’s largest manufacturers of store branded snack foods. Thanks to the vision of our team creating innovative, high quality products combined with the support of the export program we are now positioned with an international presence around the world.”
Super-Pufft wasn’t the only company in the running for the award.
Finalists included TWI Foods Inc., also of Mississauga. The company, which is owned by Ali Kizilbash, produces cake-rusks, puff pastries, tortillas, naan breads, cookies, cakes and frozen foods. Kizilbash came to Canada with the idea of building a brand for the South Asian market here and beyond. In his first year of operation, TWI began exporting to the U.S., Singapore, England and Dubai.
The company began with a small facility with one oven and now operates two state-of-the-art bakery facilities in the Toronto area. Today the products are also available in Australia, Hong Kong and Germany, and the company has almost 300 employees. Exports account for more than 70 per cent of the company’s total sales.
The other finalist was Giraffe Food & Beverage. The Powell family founded Giraffe in 1997 to distribute food concentrates to restaurants. The company grew quickly and specializes in custom formulation of culinary-inspired products. Giraffe delivers sauces, dips, dressing and beverage concentrates to the retail and foodservice industry throughout North America, the Caribbean, the Middle and East and beyond.
Giraffe participates in the Global Food Safety Initiative and holds a certification for select Kosher and Halal products.
Today, Giraffe Food & Beverage’s export business represents almost 50 per cent of its total sales and is currently exporting private label products to more than 20 countries around the world. Since 2011, the growth in export sales has allowed Giraffe Food & Beverage to hire 24 employees, and to expand the company’s plant from 3,000 sq.-ft. in 1997 to 50,000 sq.-ft. in its current state-of-the-art facility in Ontario.