4 minute read

Hela Spice – Canada’s Success Built on Talented People

Hela Spice Canada’s Success Built on Talented People

Constant innovation, creativity and a strong team are the secrets to the nearly 40-year success of Hela Spice Canada, according to President Paul Hoogenboom.

The company’s main business is in designing and formulating custom blends, spice mixtures and seasoning blends for the meat, poultry, vegetarian, bakery and other sectors of the food industry. The Uxbridge-based business – an associate member of Meat & Poultry Ontario (MPO) for four decades - has talented people and state-of-the-art facilities that can provide end-to-end services for customers.

“We do a lot of the product development and R&D (research and development) work for major food processing companies across Canada,” he says, adding that he has an R&D centre that employs 10 to 12 people, and the company employs 60 people in total.

Paul Hoogenboom - Hela Spice Canada

Hoogenboom is extremely proud to be Canadian, and the company ships about 85 per cent of its product across this country, with the rest going south to the U.S. The firm has doubled in size over the last eight to nine years.

He also recognizes the tremendous contribution his staff has made to the success of Hela Spice Canada.

“You can’t be successful without great people – they make the company,” he says, adding that all the units work together – from the chefs, food scientists, flavourists and meat technologists working in the R&D centre to the employees on the production floor to quality assurance, sales, marketing, purchasing, finance, IT and administration.

“Some of our staff have been here 10, 15, 20, 30 years - we have a real family culture,” he says. “It’s really important that every department works together – we share the glory and we share the blame.”

Part of the secret of his success in retaining people is that they are all well-trained for their jobs and everyone has put their fingerprints on the success of the company. The company also pays close attention to health and safety.

Hoogenboom says that he’s concerned about the next year, with the fallout from the pandemic creating shortages in supplies and higher input prices.

“It’s a perfect storm – fire, floods, drought, pandemic – and fewer truck drivers, as well,” he says, adding that supply chain problems are global in nature.

“A shipping container that used to cost $2,000 now costs a whopping $24,000,” he says.

He figures that, in the future, the company will need to be even more innovative in developing products that work around the issues.

“We almost never say we can’t do something – if we cannot source ingredients a customer requests, we come up with an alternative,” he says. One of the big competitive advantages of Hela Spice is the speed at which it can meet customer needs.

“We always try to find solutions,” he says. “We generate creative ideas – that’s the future.”

Part of the reason the company stays fresh and on trend is because it has connections all over the world – with processing companies in nine different countries – from Chile to The Netherlands, to Singapore and Australia. Overall, Hela Spice sells into 60 countries.

“We are constantly in touch with the new flavours and combinations that are emerging from different parts of the world – because that information is shared,” he says. meatballs, cheese sticks or mini sausages - which can be used as an appetizer, snack, lunch or quick meal for one person.

Hoogenboom’s business philosophy is to get things right, be transparent, deal with customers and employees with integrity, going the extra mile and ensuring consistency in products.

The vision and business plan that was developed nine years ago focused on getting a strong R&D centre for product development, and to become faster and more efficient than competitors. It has worked.

“We are doing between 150 to 200 projects a month,” he says.

Hoogenboom says that he owes a big debt of gratitude to the meat and poultry industry, and notes that, for the first 15 years of its existence, Hela Spice Canada depended on small and medium sized firms. That’s why the company continues to be an MPO associate member. The bulk of the company’s customers continue to be larger companies in the sector.

“If it wasn’t for this industry, we’d have nothing,” he says.

Hela Spice paul.hoogenboom@helacanada.com (905) 852-5100 https://www.helaspice.com/na/ https://ca.linkedin.com/company/hela-spice