Small Scale Food Processor Association SSFPA


anitas1Chilliwack, BC

John MacKenzie knows that there’s a lot more to running a successful milling operation than grinding wheat. MacKenzie, owner of Anita’s Organic Grain and Flour Mill Ltd, credits the assistance offered his company by the Food Safety Systems Implementation (Processor) Program (FSSI) as a major factor in its growth.

“When we can go in to customers with technical data, technical support and documentation, that’s a great equation for a business relationship,” he says. MacKenzie and his wife purchased the home-style bakery just over five years ago. The former owner and founder of the business began milling her own grain when she was unable to purchase coarse-grind flour needed to make European style bread. Under MacKenzie’s leadership, the company focus has switched from being a bakery to being a supplier of grocery and packaged products to retail customers and wholesale distributors.

“We are a manufacturer and distributor of organic and whole grain flours, baking mixes, and breakfast cereals. We sell primarily to artisan bakeries, food production companies and national health food distributor networks throughout Western Canada,” he explains.

MacKenzie credits The Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA) and the food safety system program as an important factor in his company’s growth. Customers who come directly to the Chilliwack-based retail outlet have the option of viewing the plant and its facilities and he says they are impressed with what they see.

“From receiving products, through the milling process, right to the packaging of product, good manufacturing practices are in place.”
According to MacKenzie, those good manufacturing practices have had a positive effect on staff confidence which, in turn, has led to an enhanced working environment and an important contribution to the success of the company.

anitas2“As a result of the implementation of food safety systems, employees have gained a renewed sense of confidence in knowing that they’re doing things right. It’s actually allowed us to realize how well we are doing things and we’re starting to document those practices. This not only helps those employees who may not have a background in this industry, it also helps to reduce our costs and increase our profits.”

Reducing costs includes working toward reducing factors that contribute to inefficiencies. Each improvement, from sourcing grain to packaging the finished product provides opportunities to produce a superior product and in turn, reduce the risk of inferior products.

“The costs of those inefficiencies are high,” MacKenzie notes. “[By implementing food safety systems], quality control issues are being mitigated. Shrinkage, spillage, and damage to bags have been reduced by fifty percent over the past four years. We’re consistently shipping beautiful product…and we’re becoming very good at building relationships that give us confidence in speaking with customers.”

The tools provided by the implementation of food safety systems are many: quality products, technical data and support, documentation and certification of food safety, enhanced customer relationships and empowered staff. As MacKenzie looks forward to realizing the company goal of expanded markets and diversification of product lines and offerings, both retail and wholesale, he does so with the added assurance that comes with knowing he can count on the support of SSFPA and its staff.

Watch short interviews with John MacKenzie.

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