New meat processor makes a splash with cutting-edge thermoforming
It’s not easy to start up a new business when the economic market is in a downturn, especially in the established, world-renowned Alberta beef industry, where there is never a shortage of existing fierce competition. But Reddi Food Solutions Inc. has done just that, quickly beginning to carve out a name for itself in a tough market with razor-thin margins.
Located 33 kilometers south of Edmonton in Leduc, Alta., Reddi Food and its 18 employees process and pack fresh and frozen meat products such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb and veal for private-label and no-name brands to serve customers in the retail and foodservice sectors.
“Right now we have a fairly even split on our business,” Reddi Food president Wayne
Porterfield told Canadian Packaging during a recent interview. “I would say that we have a 50-50 split processing fresh versus frozen meats products, which are distributed evenly between our retail and food service customers.”
Situated in beef country, Reddi Food’s output consists of 70 per cent beef, with the pork, lamb and veal portions making up the remainder.
Housed within a leased 6,000-square-foot refrigerated facility with the capacity to process approximately 30,000 kilograms of value-added products per week, Porterfield says the company’s location traces back to a unique business opportunity.
“The facility was originally conceived of as a research and product development center by the Alberta provincial government,” Porterfield recalls.
“But in 2007, the government decided to increase the facility’s use and expanded the building to create a business incubation section that allows start-up companies like ourselves to lease refrigerated floorspace and grow for a period of three to four years.”
Known as the Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator (APBI), the facility is more than just a multi-tenant building. While it does provide the infrastructure, the APBI also offers ample support to help new companies grow more rapidly. At the end of a contract, the APBI hopes to have each company succeed and move out into its own manufacturing facility.
Porterfield says that Reddi Food moved into the APBI in August of 2011 and began its operations in October. “The facility is second-to-none, as far support, cleanliness and design goes. I’ve been in many other facilities over the years and none measure up to this one.