There is going to be a taste of Ontario East in Walmart stores across Canada. Sprague Foods Ltd of Belleville is stocking its brand of soups on the shelves of the retail giant.
“Sprague Foods’ growth in to Walmart is an example of the capabilities of food companies in Eastern Ontario,” says Chris King, Chief Executive Officer of the Quinte Economic Development Commission. “They are able to access local agricultural products, coupled with unique packaging and innovative recipes to produce a high quality value added food product.”
“We have worked closely with Quinte Economic Development Commission, Loyalist College and Quinte Education Centre to explore options and examine what we need to do with the company,” notes Jane Sprague.
It’s expected the Walmart deal will mean a 25 per cent production increase for Sprague Foods. That in turn will mean increased hours for the staff already at the facility as well as hiring more staff.
In addition to soups, the company also cans and jars sauces, rice pudding and beans among other foods. The products are sold under the Sprague name and also to larger branded companies and under private labels for store brands. They are shipped from Belleville across Canada, to California, the US eastern seaboard and to Japan and the Caribbean.
“Customers come here from all over the world and are really pleased with this area,” says Rick Sprague. “They get a great feeling coming here and that helps with our company and our sales.”
Sprague Foods started as the J.G. Sprague & Sons Canning Co. in Mountain View. It founded in 1925 by J. Grant Sprague, Rick’s great-grandfather.
It’s a very historical part of Ontario for this family,” says Jane. “This area is something that is very special to us.”
You can learn more about Sprague Foods Ltd in this video