Dr. Oetker’s $200-million investment in Canada spurs exports
Entrance of Dr. Oetker Canada plant in London, Ontario
Direct investment in Canada by Dr. Oetker, a German food company that promotes quality as the best recipe, has helped spur exports of its products to countries that have free trade agreements with Canada.
Dr. Oetker dates back to 1891 in Bielefeld, Germany, when pharmacist Dr. August Oetker introduced an innovative culinary product: small paper pouches filled with just enough baking powder for a one-pound portion of flour. The simple innovation took the guesswork out of home baking and set the groundwork for what would become an international company and brand.
“The company was built on a little pouch,” says Cécile Van Zandijcke, Executive Vice President of Dr. Oetker.
“A little pouch can go a long way.”
Today, the family-owned company makes food products such as baking powder, cake mixes, frozen pizzas, puddings and cake decorations.
Dr. Oetker has a presence across the five continents. In 2014, the company expanded its operations to Canada with the opening of a frozen-pizza plant in London, Ontario.
Today, after $200 million of direct investment in its Canadian business, Dr. Oetker employs almost 400 Canadians at an office and factory in Mississauga and a second factory in London.
Van Zandijcke says it made good sense to expand into Canada because Canadian consumers welcomed Dr. Oetker products. Its Canadian operations provide the perfect mix of international know-how and Canadian technology, she adds.
“We were confident it was the right decision to make because Canada is a sustainable and very stable economy,” Van Zandijcke says.
“We want to make sure that we can rely on an economic and political environment.”
Canada’s free trade agreements support the success of Dr. Oetker exports from Canada. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was implemented, lowering or even eliminating certain tariffs with countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the company has enjoyed a 25% increase in its Canadian exports to Australia.
As a family business, Dr. Oetker prides itself on helping those in need. The company has partnered with SOS Children’s Villages, a global non-governmental organization dedicated to helping the world’s most vulnerable children and families.
“We think that by investing and protecting children, it will make society a better one in the long term,” Van Zandijcke says.
“It comes to giving back to the community, which is important.”
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