March 9, 2009
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor
Because food choices are largely a matter of personal taste and principles, one can think of companies like Olymel L.P. either as a vegetarian’s worst nightmare or a meat-lover’s paradise. But either way, there is no debating the fact that one of Canada’s leading pork and poultry processors is a highly astute, efficient and innovative business—with a special knack for producing a broad range of mouthwatering processed-meat products to light up any deli counter, buffet table or supermarket aisle.
Headquartered in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.—just east of Montreal on the Yamaska River—the company employs about 10,000 people at manufacturing facilities in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, with combined capacity to slaughter and process 160,000 hogs and 1.6 million poultry birds per week.
One of the few in the meat business to guarantee ‘just-in-time’ delivery for all its clients, the company grossed over $2 billion in sales last year—exporting nearly a half of its output, over 83 million poultry units and 8.3 million pork units, to customers in the U.S., Japan, Australia and more than 60 other countries.
Boasting an enviable industry reputation as a producer of superior-quality processed meats, Olymel’s diverse product portfolio is a full smogarsbord of high-protein delights—including maple-wood smoked bacon, pork souvlaki brochettes, traditional deli meats, fully-cooked pork, chicken and turkey dishes, smoked and cooked hams, smoked and breakfast sausages, shaved or sliced pre-packaged deli meats, and specialty delicatessen products like the cretons pork spread, head cheese, blood pudding, etc.—marketed under the Olymel, Flamingo and Lafleur brand names.
For the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu plant manager Normand Vallière, the company’s product diversification is one of the key drivers behind its marketplace success and, in some cases, market dominance, as reflected by the fact that Olymel accounts for about 60 per cent of all the pork meat processed in Quebec.
“We are always working hard to offer the best-quality products to satisfy any hearty appetite and to provide optimal convenience for cooking, while still maintaining our extremely high standards of taste,” Vallière told Canadian Packaging in a recent interview.
SLICE OF LIFE
“We process an extremely large variety of meat products, which are offered in their primary cuts or in further-processed forms—located in the fresh, frozen and deli counters of all major retail food chains, as well as in the foodservice and industrial markets, all over Canada and the world.”