What does it take to remain competitive and produce innovative, high quality food products? Our Member Feature this month highlights a company who has been in business for 115 years successfully meeting the needs of an ever-changing consumer. A well branded product synonymous with delicious cookies, candies, crackers and breads – Dare Foods!
Dare Foods is a family owned company steeped in history spanning a century of production. The first cookies and candies for this company were produced in 1892 by Charles Doerr and sold through his small grocery store. From that basic beginning, it is hard to imagine the journey this company must have undertaken to become a world leader in the baking sector. Imagine working without the benefit of a skilled labour pool, of the equipment technology available to us today, of reliance on distribution and marketing solely by word of mouth, of not being able to tap into resources through Government Partners, networking organizations or peer to peer resources for research and development support, expansion, certification, training and so forth. Imagine the outreach alone that is available through the internet and telephone and transportation today!
Dare has captured some key historical business developments and manufacturing milestones on their website - which are quite interesting - (www.dare.com), and some of those are listed below to give you a perspective on their journey to date:
1919 - They become a manufacturing business and begin distributing through the Region. (The Doerr (Dare) Factory in Berlin at the turn of the Century is pictured above.)
1945 - Carl Doerr, Grandson of Charles, has the company name changed to Dare Foods and begins distribution across Canada
1954 - Dare Foods introduces a cookie bag that reseals with a "tin tie" strip which becomes the standard packaging for cookies in Canada
1956 - The US market is explored
1983 - Dare begins cracker production for Breton, Cabaret and Vivant and these are distributed across Canada and the US
1989 - A fully automated soft candy plant is built in Milton bringing European tastes to Canada for the first time
1994 - A new cracker bakery is constructed in South Carolina
1999 - The Bremner Biscuit Company of Denver, Colorado is purchased
2001 - Dare acquires the cookie and "fine bread" (ie. Melba Toast) business of culinary, Inc. of Montreal, Quebec
2002 - Dare is chosen as the exclusive supplier of cookies for Girl Guides of Canada
2003 - They become one of North America's first major food manufacturers to declare all of its manufacturing facilities "peanut free"
Today, Dare Foods produces cookies, crackers, candies and fine breads from seven plants throughout Canada and the US. Their products are sold and distributed throughout North America, Mexico, Sweden, the Far East and 25 other countries around the world. In addition to the consumer packaged goods business, Dare offers traditional quality products packed in a convenient bulk format designed to be enjoyed through Institutions, Hospitals, Hotels, Nursing Homes and Restaurants. The company employs 1,300 and remains a privately owned Canadian company.
So, what does it take to remain competitive and produce innovative, high quality food products? A complex question but in a brief few thoughts that can be expanded in many ways…
- Good Leadership
- A desire to seek better ways with respect to improving productivity, marketing, meeting consumer demands
- Embracing technology - equipment and communication methods
- Staying abreast of consumer needs and trends and responding to them
- Looking for complimentary products without losing site of your core niche focus
- Continually improving processes
- Tapping into funding opportunities to enable expansion or improvements or training
- Creating relationships with Community Partners
- Getting involved in activities that promote growth and learning enabling creative ideas from all areas within an organization
- Taking advantage of networking activities through EMC Canada!
- Excellent customer service
- Good suppliers with quality product working together as partners
- Collaboration between business, the customer and the supplier
In keeping with the above and their efforts to grow, develop and enhance their production facilities and capabilities, Dare recently announced an Equipment Upgrade for their Milton Facility:
Milton Facility Equipment Upgraded
Dare Foods Limited announces that it has successfully completed the installation of a new, innovative packaging line in its Milton Ontario, soft candy manufacturing facility. The benefits of this new equipment include enhanced capability and productivity.
This project is funded, in part, through the Food and Beverage Industry Innovation Fund (FBIIF) by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors. The Agricultural Adaptation Council administers the FBIIF. The Fund has been established to encourage investment into new, innovative processes, products, and skills development.
We are delighted to have Dare Foods as an EMC Member in the Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto facilities and congratulate them on the Funding for their new line!