Fiera Foods Company
Innovative technology advances are helping this bakery company continue its global rise
Fiera Foods Company was started in 1987 by Boris Serebryany and Alex Garber, who came to Canada from the former Soviet Union with nothing - not knowing a word of English - and started a bakery business. Today, the privately owned and operated Canadian company has grown into a multinational bakery operation with four plants in Ontario employing approximately 1,000 people. Fiera is part of an alliance with five other Ontario companies: Upper Crust, Tristar Bakers, CMS Ontario, Marmora Freezing Corporation and Bakery Deluxe. The alliance was formed about five years ago and has combined sales in excess of $350 million annually.
Fiera Foods specializes in bagels, pastries, croissants and artisan breads and rolls - and it makes a lot of them. "We produce two million bagels and two million croissants a day which adds up to more than a billion combined annually," says Mark Hornick, General Manager and Executive Vice-President. "We're probably the largest croissant baker in North America, if not the world."
Food safety has always been a priority for Fiera Foods. "We are audited to the BRC standard 6 and our plants are A-rated, which is the highest certification level you can achieve," says Hornick. "We're very proud of this."
The company's Canadian customers include most of the major Canadian retailers, such as Loblaw, Metro and Safeway. Fiera Foods also exports to Japan, Korea, Australia, the UK and the US, which is its largest export market by far. Since starting to sell to the US in the early 1990s, Fiera Foods has developed relationships with well-known customers, including Kroger, Publix, Walmart and Costco and was recently selected as the major supplier of artisan bread for Sam's Club US.
In response to recent economic climate challenges, Fiera developed two innovative technology platforms. Its Freezer-to-Oven technology allows restaurants and retailers to bake products directly from a frozen state, eliminating the traditional steps of thawing and proofing the product, which saves time in terms of labour and results in a more consistent product. Fiera's Low Stress Dough technology allows for the production of bread products with a light, airy composition and high levels of taste at a very efficient cost.
Thanks to its technological innovations and development of new export customers, Fiera Foods has grown by double-digits annually in the last three years, likely making it the fastest growing bakery company of its size in North America. Hornick attributes the company's success in export markets to two factors: its constant stream of innovation and continued investment in operations to drive efficiency and increase quality. "The collaborative relationships we have built with our customers allow us to gain the insights we require to create products on target with their needs quickly." These relationships are also fueled by Fiera providing the kind of service and speedy response that customers demand in a fast-moving marketplace. "Every customer wants products that are better, developed faster and more cost-effectively. The better and faster comes from our innovation and the affordability comes from our investment in operations."