Read on to meet with Philippe Blondin, VP Procurement at Whyte’s Foods. Enjoy!
Q. Philippe, tell us about the recent expansion of Whyte’s Foods into Ontario.
A. This has been an expansion plan five years in the making. We looked across North America for the best location and decided on Wallaceburg in Chatham-Kent. With two facilities in Quebec already at maximum capacity for primarily pickle production, we were definitely ready to grow.
Q. Why Wallaceburg, Ontario?
A. As part of our search for the perfect location, which means close proximity to growers and customers, we spoke with economic development officials in New York, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Wallaceburg, Ontario. We were made to feel truly welcome in Wallaceburg by regional officials and staff and also the federal and provincial governments. Whyte’s already had excellent relations with growers in the area so it just made sense.
Q. How is the start- up going?
A. We are into week one with great success! We have recruited a plant manager, director of quality assurance, human resources, office manager, millwright and mechanic and have one production line running now. By early Spring we plan to be operating 5 days a week, 1 shift per day with potential for a second shift during the local crop season from July to October. When running at full operations, the facility will require up to 90 employees.
Q. It is clear that Whyte’s values its people and grower partners.
A. I am excellent example of that with 28 years at Whyte’s. We have a long-standing senior management team that really cares about our employees. In 2016, we hosted an event that recognized the contribution of our employees, including some of our production staff that provided 40+ years of service! And we partner with growers in Quebec and Ontario that offer excellent quality product and great customer service.
Q. Any parting remarks about Whyte’s?
A. I have to recognize the owners of the company. They are really committed to growing, investing and building the business. They believe in Canadian-made and Canadian partners and we have an open-door policy for discussing new co-packing opportunities and new product ideas and collaborations.
To learn more about Whyte’s Foods visit whytes.ca
Thanks Phillipe for your time!
Food and Beverage Ontario