MFI was founded in the year 1927 and was originally named Canada Packers. The company was formed through the merger of a number of meat packing companies in Toronto, Canada.
After its foundation, Canada Packers immediately became the largest food processing company in Canada and continued to hold the title for the next 60 years. The company first focused on pork and had massive hog processing operations. The end products were then exported to the United Kingdom. When the company started to process beef as well, it became known as the largest slaughterer of beef in Canada.
After a few years, the company began to enter different markets and produced popular brands like Squirrel® (for its peanut butter product) and Black Diamond® (for its cheese products). MFI also entered in the baked goods market, producing the popular bread brand Dempster’s®. This particular product is one of Canada’s best sellers.
The 1980’s were considered a downhill part of the company’s history as it was purchased by Hillsdown Holdings (a British company), which closed or sold a majority of its slaughterhouses. Canada Packers was then combined with Maple Leaf Mills and the merged company was renamed Maple Leaf Foods. With the company’s new name and under the leadership of executives Lewis Rose and then-CEO David Newton, MFI was able to bounce back in the food processing business. Following its successful comeback, MFI was bought by former McCain Foods Co. CEO Wallace McCain.
Currently, MFI is known as a meat, bakery and meals company because it has operations in three different markets. The company’s sectors are meat products, bakery products and agribusiness. Its meat products division is engaged in producing packaged meats, pork, turkey and poultry products, lunch kits and chilled entrees. Its agribusiness division is engaged in hog production and animal by-product processing. Its bakery division is engaged in the production of bakery products and specialty sauces and pasta.
• Headquarters: Ontario, Canada
• Ownership Type: Public
• No. of Employees: 21,300 (March 2011)
• Geography: Canada, UK, USA
• Demography: bakery product consumers, processed meat consumers
Some of the company’s brands include Maple Leaf ®, Hygrade®, Larsen®, Mitchell’s Gourmet®, Natural Selection™, Dempster’s®, Tenderflake®, Olivieri®