Canada’s largest fresh fruit and vegetable processor takes pride in its quality assurance efforts to bring only nature’s best to the table
It’s not really considered bragging when a company is already widely acknowledged as an industry leader in its chosen field. And it’s really been a field of dreams in recent years for Pride Pak Canada Ltd., Canada’s largest fresh fruit and vegetable processor with a stellar reputation for quality and food safety that more than justifies the company’s self-assured choice of a name.
In fact, there is plenty to be proud of for a company that its chief executive officer Steven Karr founded in 1984 after identifying untapped vast demand in Canada’s fast-growing market for high-quality, healthy, easy-to-serve fresh food sold at a reasonable price.
But unlike many other one-time competitors that have tried to cash in on new market opportunities but ultimately failed, Karr not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk to become the Canadian market leader in fresh-cut processing—leveraging remarkable business savvy and unyielding genuine desire to provide Canadian consumers and foodservice customers with a truly value-added product.
Today operating out of a state-of-the-art, 135,000-square-foot facility located a half-hour drive west of Toronto in Mississauga, Ont., Pride Pak still considers itself to be a regional producer, as Karr explains.
“Even with the size and output of our company, we are a regional processor, which allows us to receive fresh product daily,” he says. “And by ‘fresh’ I mean that we are always processing that product today for delivery tomorrow.”
Pride Pak’s extensive product covers the full gamut of popular fresh-cut produce blends and mixes—including carrot and celery sticks; broccoli and cauliflower florets; shredded lettuce, carrots and cabbage; diced or slivered onions, peppers and celery; chopped iceberg and romaine lettuce; stir fry and other vegetable mixes—along with a broad variety of salad recipes and soup mixes, including Minestrone, Potato and Leek, and Kale and Potato recipes.
Despite enjoying a well-earned, well-respected reputation within the industry, most Canadian consumers are probably not intimately familiar with Pride Pak because up to now the company has resisted the urge to create its own flagship brand—instead consciously choosing to concentrate on private-label products shipped directly to grocery retailers, foodservice distributors and other food processors.
Nevertheless, the odds are pretty good that most average Canadian consumers have eaten Pride Pak products far more often than they realize, according to Karr, because they are featured quite prominently in salads and sandwiches served at many global fastfood restaurant chains operating across Canada.
“We have over 100 SKUs (stock-keeping units) we produce on a regular basis, but we can and will design any value-added fresh product to meet a customer’s needs and specifications,” says Karr, citing Pride Pak’s impressive product shelf-life ranging from eight to 21 days.