Olymel plans sausage production at Red Deer

Section of pork packing plant to see $2 million conversion

(Lafleur.com)

New equipment and refrigerated storage are going into Olymel’s Alberta pork processing plant at Red Deer as the facility gets into the sausage business.

Pork and poultry processor Olymel, owned mainly by Quebec agribusiness co-operative La Coop federee, announced Monday it will put up $2 million to convert a section of the Red Deer plant for sausage production.

The investment, Olymel said, is meant to equip the plant to supply fresh sausages for the western Canadian market, requiring “modernized” refrigeration facilities plus new equipment in a separate section of the plant.

The conversion work is expected to begin this month and to create 20 jobs on top of the plant’s current workforce of over 1,400, the company said.

“The new section for fresh sausage production at the Red Deer plant is an integral part of an investment plan directed at greater penetration in the western Canadian market, to meet growing demand for sausage products manufactured in Canada,” Olymel CEO Rejean Nadeau said in a release.

Sausage production at Red Deer is also expected to reduce the company’s product transit times into its markets in the West, Olymel said, so its customers “will therefore benefit from product with better shelf life.”

Olymel has operated at Red Deer since 2001, when it bought the hog slaughter and butchering plant from Premium Brands, then known as Fletcher’s Fine Foods.

The Red Deer plant “is diversifying its local activities and enabling it, among other things, to add value to some of its raw materials,” Nadeau said.

Making sausages at Red Deer will also “enable Olymel to expand its business base and serve the western Canadian market even better in product categories such as breakfast and fresh sausages, as well as bulk sausage meat,” the company said.

Olymel’s main sausage operations in Canada right now are centred around its Lafleur plant in the Quebec City area, at St-Henri-de-Levis.

That plant, which came to Olymel when it bought the Supraliment division of Groupe Brochu in 2005, has capacity to process over one million pounds of pork products per week, the company said on its website.

La Coop federee in late June announced it had picked up a $200 million investment from National Bank of Canada, the Fonds de solidarite FTQ, Fondaction CSN and Capital regional et cooperatif Desjardins (CRCD) to help finance “acquisition and capital investment projects,” in part to expand its agrifood activities across Canada.

La Coop also said last year it planned to offer a minority stake in Olymel for sale, to help fund expanded hog production and in turn boost the Red Deer plant’s output. — AGCanada.com Network

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