By Darrell Flewell
It pleases me to hear about new jobs in town. It is a bright business story in an otherwise dreary economic climate. Bakkavor Foods is setting up shop in the Lucas Point Industrial Park, located by Lake Ontario in the east end of Cobourg, in the former Coverwright warehouse. Thirty hires are required right away; increasing to 70 within two years, and 150 positions once the plant is fully operational.
Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier and Wendy Gibson, the town’s economic development officer, made the announcement Monday night at council. I am sure they were both working with Bakkavor for many months in advance. Are other deals pending? Let’s hope so. Wooing Bakkavor is a win, but the game is not over. Our faith is required in the mayor and the town that a sincere effort is taken to discern prospective employers who are kicking our county tires.
As a leading provider of fresh prepared foods, Bakkavor’s head office is in Reykjavik, Iceland, with a major division based in the United Kingdom. It operates 57 factories and employs 20,000 people in 10 countries (Canada will now be 11th) and it is clear its product is not standard fare. In 2010, the company won two Quality Foods awards in the UK. The winning products were their Frijolemole Dip in the Delicatessen category and Roasted Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Filo Tartlets in the Vegetarian category, see here for more details. I had to Google Frijolemole Dip to learn about its health benefits as a spread or dip, made from chickpeas, cannellini beans, and spices. I stopped myself from doing a search on cannellini beans or Filo Tarlets but in name alone they sound delicious.
As a food provider, they supply markets geographically convenient to their factory with hot foods (require cooking), cold foods (ready to eat), and fresh produce. Proximity to the Greater Toronto Area market is surely a factor in choosing Cobourg. Their customers are normally international grocery stores and foodservice companies; hopefully local stores will have an opportunity to provide Northumberland residents with these healthy eats.
Bakkavor is a particularly good fit for our “Wellness” community. According to their website, they commit to being a “good neighbor” and operating in a manner that is responsible to the region in which they manufacture. The Bakkavor head office hands out “Good Neighbor Awards” to its divisions that excel in supporting local causes and initiatives. As residents of Northumberland, let’s hold them accountable to this. I can think of many local organizations and events that would welcome sponsorship, even at a fraction of current Cameco dollars that flow forth.