The case is ketchup

Quebec grants a loan of $ 2 million to the American giant Kraft Heinz, which buys its tomatoes from the United States, the same day it launches its Buy Quebecers campaign with great fanfare!

“For now, I cannot comment on that, but our objective is really to do this in Canada”, was limited to telling the Newspaper Danielle Nguyen, manager of the Kraft Heinz plant in Mont-Royal, when asked if she was planning to buy her tomatoes in Quebec.

Tuesday morning, Quebec granted a loan of $ 2 million, through the ESSOR program, to Kraft Heinz Canada for a ketchup production line at its Mont-Royal plant, which will collect its fruit in the United States. , but may affix the label “Made in Quebec”.

“Our supply of tomato paste comes from California because we still have contractual obligations. However, when the contract is finished, we plan to source our supplies in Canada, ”said Danielle Nguyen, director of the plant, which will produce 45,000 tonnes of ketchup over the next two years.

In total, the $ 23.3 million Kraft Heinz project is expected to create some 30 jobs paid between $ 30 and $ 35 an hour, Ms. Nguyen added. The investment should help keep the other 750 jobs here.

“Quebec taxpayers are going to offer a $ 2 million loan to Kraft Heinz Canada so that they can put a maple leaf on their pot of ketchup”, lamented the director of the Laboratory in Agri-Food Analytical Science at Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia, Sylvain Charlebois.

Pure marketing?

For Simon-Pierre Murdock, co-founder of Canada Sauce, which makes ketchup with tomatoes from the country, the announcement is purely marketing.

“This is just great marketing to gain market share, in a period of protectionism and local buying with the Blue Basket, set up by the Quebec government. These are rather contradictory words and actions, ”analyzed the Chicoutimi businessman.

“My mom got a call from Kraft Heinz today, but we don’t do wholesale tomatoes. What we pick, we sell it directly to customers, ”shared Mathieu Beauregard, owner of the Mario Beauregard farm in Sainte-Madeleine.

For Pascal Forest, president of the Quebec Federation of Producers of Fruit and Vegetable Processing (FQPFLT), the company has an interest in buying tomatoes from here.

“I would like them to source in Quebec, that’s clear. We are ready to meet them as soon as it suits them, ”he said.

“Conversations between the company and officials at Investissement Québec (IQ) concerning the local supply of tomatoes and bottles will take place,” said the press secretary of the Minister of the Economy, Mathieu St- Amand.

At the office of the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, they also said they hoped the multinational would turn to Quebec.

“Conversations between the company and our government concerning local supply, in tomatoes and in bottles, will take place,” said his press officer Laurence Voyzelle, in much the same words.

– With the collaboration of Jean-François Gibeault and Pierre-Olivier Zappa

Public aid to Kraft Heinz

2002: $ 15 million

2016: $ 3.8M

2020: $ 2 million

Profits: US $ 11 billion (2019)

Market value: US $ 51 billion

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