Erie Meat Products Limited
This Ontario meat processor is experiencing rapid export sales growth
Erie Meat Products Limited is an Ontario-owned and operated company specializing in further processing of meat products, including poultry, beef and pork. Since it was founded in 1977, the company has grown from a 15,000-square-foot plant to production facilities spanning 550,400 square feet, including five federally-approved food production facilities throughout Southwestern Ontario.
At its HACCP-certified facilities, Erie Meats produces 100 different products, including a wiener line, ground chicken and turkey, boneless chicken breasts, deli meats and breaded and battered products. In Canada, the company's customers include industrial clients, such as Maple Leaf, foodservice customers, including Sysco, and national retailers, such as Metro, Costco and Sobey's.
Erie Meats began exporting to the US years ago and has increased its export reach significantly since 2009 by targeting global markets. "The processes we go through to be able to export to the US and beyond are time-consuming but food security is so important and it's our highest priority," says Bernia Wheaton, Director of Business Development. In recent weeks, Erie Meats received approval to export to Russia making it the only Canadian company approved to supply fully-cooked products to Russia. The company is also in discussions with customers in Dubai and China to begin exporting to those markets.
With the demand for their export products continuing to grow - export sales have more than doubled between 2009 and 2011- Erie Meats' primary export production line has doubled capacity and is expected to quadruple within the next 18 months. Indeed, since gaining approval to export to Russia, Erie Meats has increased production from one shift to two, and four days a week to six to ramp up production to service those huge markets. "The capacity of our line production sets us apart from the competition," says Wheaton.
Customizing its product offerings to suit each customer's needs is also an essential part of Erie Meats' success at home and abroad. "If it isn't exactly how you want it, we'll make it exactly how you want it," says Wheaton. "We are nimble enough to respond to customer preferences, yet have the capacity to produce and export large quantities of product to various customers in diverse regions. The company prides itself on its ability to react quickly at the 11th hour to tweak the product and packaging and get it produced on schedule as promised."