November 18, 2009
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor
Growing despite troubled economic times is no easy feat, but it just got a little easier a few months ago for Maywah Foods Inc., a family-operated spice and specialty snack-food manufacturer whose recent investment in automated, high-performance, made-in-Canada bagging and checkweighing equipment has enabled the Brampton, Ont.-based company to finally bring its production levels up to par to fast-growing demand for its exotic product offerings.
“We eventually realized that if we were to grow our company in a meaningful way, we really needed to automate,” says Ramesh Seegobin, a full-time family physician and also the owner of a 20-year-old spice importing business whose recent diversification into ethnic foods production has reaped the rewards of a steadily-growing loyal customer base around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) region and beyond.
“We import our spices from India, and we blend them using a very old and secret family recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation,” Seegobin told Canadian Packaging on a recent visit to the company’s modest 6,000-square-foot production facility, located about a half-hour drive north of Toronto, where it leverages the family’s close ties to its native Guyana to blend and package an assortment of spicy snacks such as plantain chips, roasted chick peas, fried chick peas, peanuts, and other similar taste sensations.
A couple of years ago, the company’s Crunchy Pea Sticks—also packaged under the Crunchy Dahl Sticks label specifically to appeal to the region’s vast West Indies expat community—really caught fire in the marketplace to emerge as the company’s bestselling product, reaching production levels that urgently required an infusion of automated packaging equipment into the Maywah plant, operated by Seegobin, his brother Kumar, nephew Avin and their mother Gladys Maywah.