January 15, 2009
by Andrew Joseph
Getting the morning started with a flavorful cup of freshly-brewed coffee is a long-enduring Canadian breakfast ritual, and few companies in the Canadian coffee business today enjoy the sort of automatic name recognition for its profound commitment to the cause as Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc.
Closing in on its 100th anniversary in a couple of years, the privately-owed manufacturer of a diverse range of coffee and tea products is showing few signs of slowing down as it approaches its historic milestone—displaying insatiable thirst for further market penetration and ongoing product and packaging innovation.
Already ranking as the fourth-largest coffee and tea producer in North America, the Mississauga, Ont.-headquartered company operates three production sites in this fast-growing city located a half-hour drive west of Toronto, as well as a tea-processing facility in Ajax, Ont., and a U.S.-based production plant in Fort Worth, Tex.
“We are a growing company and we are the leading privately-held producer of quality tea and coffee products in the North American marketplace,” states Sean Bredt, vice-president of coffee and allied products for North America.
Founded in 1912, the company employs nearly 1,000 people today, remarks Bredt, with brothers Paul and Michael Higgins currently serving as the co-CEOs (chief executive officers) of the third-generation family business.
In addition to being a brand-owner of popular labels such as Mother Parkers, Higgins & Burke Gourmet, Brown Gold and Beech Nut, the company is also considered to be a key player in the private-label coffee and tea trade, with a good reputation for product quality and a high level of customer service.
“I would say that our business is now predominately of the private-label variety,” Bredt says. “We supply leading foodservice companies like 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S., and companies like Second Cup and McDonald’s in Canada, as well as providing for our retail clients like Loblaw and other retail stores across Canada.”
According to Bredt, the company maintains strict control over the recipes it uses for its own products and those used in its co-packing operations, ensuring unique blends and formulations for all of its key customers.
Naturally, the company spares no effort when it comes to maintaining what Bredt believe to be the toughest quality control standards and practices in the industry, with its quality assurance personnel performing thorough product evaluations and taste tests through all the critical pre-shipping, product preparation and packaging stages.