Oxford Frozen Foods to Boost Workforce in Nova Scotia
Oxford Frozen Foods, the world’s largest grower and processor of frozen wild blueberries, and Canada’s biggest producer of frozen carrots, plans to expand home base operations in Oxford, Nova Scotia. This will be made possible, in part, thanks to taxpayer-supported rebates of up to $1,486,800 authorized by Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) in exchange for the creation of 110 new jobs. Cash disbursements will be made over a five-year period as specific hiring targets are achieved.
The jobs will come from expanding value-added division operations and new product development, and the NSBI estimates that an additional $18.7 million could be spent on salaries.
Established in 1968, Oxford Frozen Foods has grown steadily over the years. Today its diversified product portfolio includes frozen onion rings, battered vegetable appetizers, cranberries, diced onions and diced rutabaga in addition to blueberries and carrots. Exporting to 29 countries spanning the globe from the USA to Europe and East Asia, the company is the largest employer in Cumberland County with more than 400 full-time employees on the job at the flagship factory in Oxford. It also has significant growing and processing operations in New Brunswick and south of the border in Maine, where it does business as Cherryfield Foods Inc. and Maine Wild Blueberry Co.
As the appetite for health-oriented diets grows around the world, demand for wild blueberries is expected to rise as consumers become increasingly aware that the fruit is naturally rich in phytonutrients which include antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Ranked at the top of the anti-oxidant "A List," wild blueberries are said to improve brain health, aid in cancer prevention, heart health, urinary tract health and vision health.
Speaking with NSBI about sales strategy, Jordan Burkhardt, director of human resources, commented: “Being able to offer quality products that allow you to develop a solid relationship with customers in export markets is absolutely key. Oxford has been able to achieve success in this regard due to our customer and quality focus, which is well-understood and supported by our entire team. Being innovative is also important when developing an export capacity. We are constantly challenging ourselves to improve our processes and offer more value to our customers.”
Addressing the upside of operating in Nova Scotia, Burkhardt said, “There are tremendous benefits associated with our continued growth here. Growing our business and expanding our employment base in rural Nova Scotia not only benefits the communities in which we operate, but also provides direct and indirect economic benefits to many other communities in a variety of economic sectors. Our farming communities are incredibly supportive and we have a terrific work force. Access to major transportation routes and transportation options, like the port of Halifax, is also a major benefit of doing business from Nova Scotia.”