You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kitchen pup-erational: Champion Petfoods opens state-of-the-art facility

Edmonton Journal logo Edmonton Journal 2020-01-23 Jeff Labine
a man holding a sign: Champion Petfoods CEO Blaine McPeak, Canada's largest independent pet food manufacturer, speaks at the ribbon cutting event of their new 421,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art NorthStar Kitchen, employing over 200 Albertans and utilizing local ingredients, in Acheson west of Edmonton, January 23, 2020. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia © Ed Kaiser Champion Petfoods CEO Blaine McPeak, Canada's largest independent pet food manufacturer, speaks at the ribbon cutting event of their new 421,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art NorthStar Kitchen, employing over 200 Albertans and utilizing local ingredients, in Acheson west of Edmonton, January 23, 2020. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

Champion Petfoods’ 37,000-square-metre kitchen near Edmonton’s western border is operational, with more than 200 employees working at the facility.

Although the kitchen became operational about two weeks ago, Champion CEO Blaine McPeak did the official ribbon cutting on Thursday along with political dignitaries. Plans for a new facility have been in the works since it was first announced back in 2017 . The company boasts the kitchen will utilize local ingredients including fresh meats.

Champion’s two most popular lines are Acana and Orijen.

McPeak said this is a major move for the company.

“(The kitchen) expands the much-needed capacity we need to not only serve the Canadian market but to enable our growth — be it in Asia or in Europe,” he said. “Maybe more importantly — given the nature of what we have built here and the commitment to quality — I think it just underscores how much we believe in our brand and we believe in our people to bring that to life.”

The kitchen, located in Parkland County, is the second facility Champion has in the area with the other located in Morinville. McPeak said there has been some scale back at the Morinville location because of some staff transition to the new facility but there are no other plans in the works besides that. The Morinville facility had roughly 180 staff and produces the dry dog food kibble.

The company employs more than 400 people across Canada, with products available in 90 countries.

McPeak said the main advantage is the fact the kitchen is more advanced when compared to other pet food companies. He said the building also helps to engage the workforce, which is just as important as the technology.

Last year, Champion’s Acana and Orijen — along with 14 other pet food brands — were implicated in an FDA study on the potential links between certain types of pet food and a canine heart condition.

“We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating ‘grain-free’ labeled pet food,” reads the June update on the investigation. “The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.”

Since 2014, the study identified 515 cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which can be potentially fatal for dogs. The Champion Petfoods website lists four kinds of dog food it produces for Acana and multiple more for Orijen.

The FDA has yet to provide an update on any possible links.

McPeak said he would be happy to discuss DCM at another time as he wanted to focus on the opening of the kitchen.

“We will continue to collaborate with many different parties including the FDA around DCM moving forward,” he added.

— With files from Moira Wyton

jlabine@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jefflabine

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Edmonton Journal

Loading...

XD Load Error

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon