McCormick brings French’s ketchup processing in-house

Club House spice maker expands London, Ont. plant

The firm behind the French’s ketchup brand is bringing its bottling of the product to its own plant in southwestern Ontario.

McCormick Canada, the Canadian arm of Baltimore-area condiment and spice maker McCormick and Co., on Monday announced it had completed a “multi-million dollar expansion” at its London, Ont. plant to blend, bottle and package French’s ketchup.

Bottling of French’s ketchup began at the London plant last month, the company said Monday, but added that “full production ramps up this week.” An exact dollar figure wasn’t given for the cost of the expansion.

McCormick said it would continue to source 100 per cent of its tomatoes for French’s ketchup in Canada from the Leamington, Ont. area and would continue to offer the product in four varieties: original, garlic, low-sodium, and no-sugar-added.

By bringing its ketchup line to London, McCormick said it would be “deepening its local roots” and transitioning away from a “third-party Canadian supplier.” The French’s line has been packed in Canada by Toronto-based Select Food Products since 2016.

McCormick has operated at London since 1959, when it bought the Club House brand of spices and extracts, a business founded there in 1883 by Gorman, Dyson and Co.

The French’s brand, along with Frank’s RedHot and others, came to McCormick in 2017 when it bought the food business of British consumer health and hygiene firm Reckitt Benckiser for US$4.2 billion.

Shortly before that sale, the French’s brand had made a splash in Canada by promoting its use of tomatoes grown in the Leamington area and by bringing the product’s bottling to Toronto.

Ketchup provenance by then had become a sore spot among some Canadian consumers, after Kraft Heinz shed its Leamington tomato processing plant in 2014 and began bottling its Heinz ketchup for the Canadian market at plants in the U.S.

Kraft Heinz sold the Leamington plant in 2015 to an Ontario consortium, Highbury Canco, and still sources some tomato products from the latter company. Kraft Heinz also announced last November it would resume packing Heinz ketchup in Canada for the Canadian market, this time at its plant in Montreal. –– Glacier FarmMedia Network

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