Ontario-based Grand River Foods sells its fresh poultry processing division to focus on value-added products
Cambridge, Ont. – Maple Lodge Farms has purchased a poultry processing division in Beamsville, Ont. from Grand River Foods.
The deal is scheduled to close Dec. 1.
The Beamsville plant employs almost 100 people and will wind down and close at the end of January.
Focus on value-added
Grand River Foods says that primary poultry processing has been a good business for 12 years, reports the Waterloo Record, but the company is more focused on making value-added ready-to-eat foods.
Grand River Foods has more than 500 employees across operations in three southwestern Ontario communities. The company manages large-volume processing and creates further processed products.
Maple Lodge Farms is Canada’s largest independent, family owned chicken processor with primary processing operations in Brampton and St. Francois, N.B., further processing operations in Mississauga, Ont. and fully cooked operations in Brampton, and Etobicoke, Ont.
About 120 chicken farmers supply the Beamsville plant, which slaughters and cuts the fresh chicken, reports the Record. The meat then goes to plants that tray-pack it for fresh meat counters in grocery stores or to plants like Grand River Food’s facility in Cambridge that turn it into cully cooked, seasoned, ready-to-eat products.
“Our intention is to reinvest in our operations, funding growth and development of our ready-to-eat, prepared foods division, which produces more than 200 chicken protein products for the North American foodservice and retail segments,” says Craig Richardson, president of Grand River Foods.
Maple Lodge, which is headquartered in Brampton, Ont., will now do the primary processing and supply Grand River Foods with the chicken it needs for its products.
The Record also reports that while 100 people will lose their jobs, there may be opportunities at other chicken processing facilities in the region. Also, Maple Lodge is expected to scale up its primary processing operations.
Grand River Foods says the Chicken Farmers of Ontario recently provided regulatory approval for the transfer, which includes conditions to benefit Ontario growers who were previously shipping their chicken to the Beamsville processing facility.
“It was very important to us that the business remain in Ontario,” says Richardson.