AB World Foods

Bringing new world flavours to Canadian dishes

Associated British Foods is bringing the weight of its diversified international food, ingredients and retail power of over £10 billion in over 44 countries to Canada.

AB World Foods, a division of the global giant ABF, has recently opened a Canadian hub that overseas all of the Americas. The new division is hitting a market that has a vastly underserved taste for ethnic flavours. With no section of the globe unrepresented in the Canadian population, the demand for global cuisine is immense and growing.

AB World Foods Canada’s objective is to “bring the world to life in a dish”, says General Manager Jean-Francois Dery. With the Canadian office opened in September, and a team of cross functional marketers, category insight, sales and supply chain experts, and with the help of its local distributors, the new team is well positioned to serve the provinces from Newfoundland to British Columbia. “AB World Foods has really established its international hubs by putting local teams in charge of the local business,” says Dery. 

The highly skilled team will help retailers grow their ethnic flavour categories, which studies show is one of the largest growing consumer segment. In 2009, Loblaws Cos. Ltd., the largest retailer in the country, bought Canada’s biggest Asian food retailer T & T for $225 million to tap into the market. “We are here in Toronto to help the retailers grow the category and help capture the opportunity,” says Dery.

“Typically, a company with international business usually has people in the country of origin managing the international business,” he continues. But AB World Foods has decided to invest in people and put a local team in place to really grow the business and invest. 2010 saw expansion for the company, with offices also opening in Australia.

Time to spice things up

Canada’s supermarkets offerings are going to start getting a little more excitement on the shelves with the introduction of AB World Foods’ three major brands.
Blue Dragon—the East Made easy—are products for authentic oriental and pan-Asian dishes. Current Blue Dragon products already exist in limited distribution in Canadian grocery stores. The product  portfolio ranges from dipping sauces, cooking sauces, noodles, coconut milk and pastes. AB World Foods is also planning to bring new, more consumer-friendly and convenient products later this year for the Canadian consumers. Consumers will get more choices to prepare their favourite pan Asian dishes at home.

Patak’s authentic Indian ingredients like sauce in glass, pastes, pickles, chutneys or pappadums liven up a routine mealtime and offer options for Indian food lovers. Patak’s is already No. 1 in Canada in the Indian cuisine category and AB World Foods plans to continue to invest to educate Canadian consumers on the fascinating world of Indian flavours in their day to day meal preparation.

The third brand, Reggae Reggae, speaks for itself. Reggae Reggae will bring the Caribbean home to those from the islands and those who wish they were. The brand has been a huge success in the U.K. surpassing sales from top brands like Tabasco. AB World Foods plan to launch this brand later during the year.

“Our mandate is more than selling ethnic cuisine. It’s about bringing new world flavours to Canadian dishes,” says Dery.

AB World Foods is investing in a very good opportunity in Canada, a country whose demographic is ever-evolving and eager to try different flavours. South Asian and Chinese Canadian communities alone account for a third, or $5.7-billion, of grocery spending in Toronto and Vancouver, according to data found by Solutions Research Group.

“Cuisines are changing,” says Dery. “People are eating more Indian food, more Asian food and flavours are really mixing. So this is a great opportunity for us to capture ethnic growth.”