Bonté Foods is well underway with a $1 million expansion project that will see the conversion of its bakery to raw meats and fresh meals production.
Bonté Foods has been growing its meat division under its Bonté and Chris Brothers brands over the past several years and the need for additional production space has been a constraint to its growth. With the summer closing of the Moncton Maple Leaf facility Bonté Foods becomes the Atlantic regions largest deli meat producer.
The expansion is actually a conversion of existing space versus having to expand with additions to the exterior of building.
Part of the space will be used by a regional retail chain for the production of raw meats and the rest of the space will be used for RTE or ready to eat products like ham, chicken, pepperoni as well as sandwiches and subs.
“We recently won the right, in conjunction with Mulders Meats, to produce boxed lunches for the Gagetown military” says Michael Whittaker, President of Bonté Foods. “It’s a large account and along with our growing fresh sandwich and meals business we will now be able to add a perfect complement to our meats division. We will be using the meats produced at our facility in our fresh meals so the synergies are excellent. We are the only federally inspected facility in the Maritimes to make fresh sandwiches with meats.” Only federally inspected plants are allowed to sell meat products over provincial borders.
“The return on the bakery division was not sufficient to justify the amount of space it was occupying,” adds Whittaker. “This expansion adds over 4,000 sq. ft. of new meat production, 2,000 sq. ft. of new RTE production and 1,000 sq. ft. of additional cooler space, all critical to our core competency- meats and meals.“
The new fresh meals division is being offered under the new brand name East Coast Kitchen. A new sign was erected on the building on Monday. Whittaker says the new division will employ 20 people initially but he expects that to rise to 50-60 within two years. Bonté currently employ over 100 people. Bonté is HACCP recognized and BRC certified- a world recognized designation for food safety.
In 2012 Atlantic Progress magazine named Bonté as one Atlantic Canada’s “fastest growing companies”
Bonté produces many types of deli meats and fresh meals for sale to foodservice companies and retailers all across the country. Its Bonté Foods and Chris Brothers brands are found in retail grocery stores all across Atlantic Canada.