Starting a new business in a new country and in a fairly mature market can be a pretty tough nut to crack, but overcoming the odds seems to come quite naturally to folks at the Laval, Que.-based Bassé Frères Alimentation Orientale Inc. (Bassé Nuts), a family-owned enterprise specializing in the roasting, blending and packaging of high-end nuts and dried fruits.
“People know nuts, but if you asked them what nuts were, they might find themselves hard-pressed to answer,” notes Bassé Nuts president Fadi Bassé, who co-owns the 20-year-old company along with his brother and vice-president Aboud Bassé.
“A nut is essentially a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having a non-opening seed.”
Bassé insists that the nut packaging business is about much more than simply taking bulk nuts and placing them into a package for sale, pointing out that in-depth knowledge of the product and the industry is what ultimately enabled the fledgling business to grow into one of Canada’s pre-eminent suppliers of packaged nuts and nut mixes.
“To be successful in this industry, along with being armed with a knowledge of the product, Bassé Nuts always insists on procuring the best quality nuts, along with dried fruits, from all around the world,” Bassé told Canadian Packaging in a recent interview.
“We also have a superb roasting process in place, and you must have the best packaging equipment you can find to really succeed,” states Bassé, noting that the company’s annual sales grew by 30 per cent last year, despite the recession, to between $10 million and $15 million.
Operating out of a modern, 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, with 80 per cent of production dedicated to nuts and the remainder to dried fruit, Bassé Nuts has the capacity to roast over two tons of nuts per hour and package over 100,000 units of product each day, according to Bassé, who also cites some 100 years of hands-on industry knowledge acquired by his family over several generations.