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Savouring Success: 10 Food & Beverage Manufacturers in Waterloo

Discover how food and beverage manufacturers like Frito-Lay, Dare Foods Limited and eight others are serving up excellence in Waterloo.

Waterloo is known for tech and innovation, but you might be surprised to learn that there’s another industry that’s feeding our local economy: food and beverage manufacturing.

Join us as we unwrap the stories of ten local manufacturers – from their local roots to their meaningful contributions to the Waterloo economy and community. Discover how quality, innovation and community have become key ingredients for success in the region’s food and beverage industry.

Editor’s note: Waterloo Region is made up of three cities and four townships. We’ve identified the community where you’ll find each company in the summaries below. Together, we’re known as Waterloo.

1. Frito-Lay Canada

For over six decades, Frito-Lay Canada (Cambridge) has been satisfying our taste buds at events, gatherings and cozy nights in, with delightful snack foods like Lay’s, Doritos, Smartfood and Cheetos. In 2017, the company grew its local footprint with a multimillion-dollar expansion and now employs over 550 employees.

But Frito-Lay’s impact goes beyond the bag. The company actively contributes to the community through supporting local food drives and by nurturing the next generation of talent, providing co-op opportunities to aspiring engineers from the University of Waterloo.

2. Piller’s Fine Foods

Since 1957, Piller’s Fine Foods (Waterloo) has been a trusted name for delicious deli meats and a committed community partner in the region. The company’s extraordinary growth has led to many large expansions within the region and beyond.

Piller’s actively supports local organizations like oneROOF Youth Services, OK2BME and generously contributes to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, providing 143,508 meals to families in need and dedicating time to sort 2,964 meals this past Thanksgiving.

3. Dare Foods Limited

With over a century of history in our region, Dare Foods (Cambridge), still family owned to this day, has sweetened our lives with cookies and treats like Bear Paws, Simple Pleasures, Breton crackers and REALFRUIT Gummies.

In 2018, after numerous expansions, the company solidified its investment by relocating to a larger facility within the region. Dare’s dedication to community is evident in their support for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, Nutrition for Learning and Girl Guides Canada.

4. Waterloo Brewing

Waterloo Brewing (Kitchener) has been crafting local brews since 1984 as the first modern craft brewer in Ontario. This year, their reputation for quality and innovation captured the global spotlight when they were acquired by international brand Carlsberg.

Waterloo Brewing proudly collaborates with local brands like KWFAMOUS, as well as artists and musicians. Hosting events like live music every Friday at the Waterloo Brewing Taphouse, they add a creative and flavourful touch to Waterloo’s cultural scene.

5. Weston Foods

In 2021, FGF Brands, Toronto-based bakery company, acquired the iconic Weston Foods (Kitchener). Since the inception of the original Kitchener bakery in 1948, locals have cherished the area for the comforting aroma of freshly baked bread.

This acquisition marks a promising fusion of tradition and innovation – not unlike the community of Waterloo itself – with FGF Brands describing themselves as not just a bakery, but a ‘technology company that bakes,’ pointing toward a bright future for the Waterloo economy.

6. Conestoga Meats

Established in 1982, Conestoga Meats (Woolwich Township) has become a household name, producing high-quality meats for customers across North America. Over 500 employees work at their state-of-the-art facility.

Beyond its commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices, Conestoga Meats actively supports community well-being by donating to local charities and fundraising initiatives.

7. Conestoga Cold Storage

Since 1974, Conestoga Cold Storage (Kitchener) has provided invaluable support to our region’s food and beverage sector, storing products from local manufacturers in its 20-million-cubic-foot state-of-the-art cold storage facilities until they’re ready to ship.

Conestoga Cold Storage is deeply committed to giving back to the community, often donating food to families in need. The company’s dedication to both their industry and community makes it a key player in our region’s thriving food and beverage ecosystem.

8. Jamesway

Jamesway (Cambridge) continues to revolutionize the poultry industry with its cutting-edge incubators and hatchery solutions. The trusted global leader now boasts over 2,500 customers, including top international poultry companies, in more than 150 countries.

Jamesway’s dedication to excellence and innovation supports their mission to make poultry more affordable and accessible in Canada and around the world.

9. Elmira Pet Products

While its products might not be on the menu for human taste buds, Elmira Pet Products (Woolwich Township) has ensured our beloved furry friends are well-fed and happy for over four decades. It’s also Canada’s largest private label dry pet food manufacturer.

The company not only nourishes our pets, but also the spirit of our community, actively supporting various initiatives such as Pound Dog Rescue, the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, House of Friendship and more.

10. P&H Milling

Established in 2009, P&H Milling (Cambridge) is the largest Canadian-owned milling company and a leader in the local food production scene, supplying top-quality flour and grains.

In addition to its contributions to local food manufacturers, P&H Milling is also dedicated to developing the future of the agricultural industry through their P&H Passion & Heart Scholarship.

Waterloo has all the ingredients for success

Here are some of the reasons food and beverage manufacturing businesses succeed in Waterloo:

  • Strategic location and market access: Waterloo has the highest concentration of food and beverage manufacturing employees in Canada and is centrally located within a one-hour drive of 8.9 million consumers.
  • Exceptional talent pool: Waterloo’s food processing and manufacturing workforce is highly skilled, supported by Conestoga College, one of Canada’s top polytechnic institutes. The college offers specialized programs in food manufacturing, safety and packaging, ensuring a steady supply of potential employees for local businesses. The school also launched the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus(CSTC) earlier this year. It’s one of the largest in Canada, offering programs in mechanical and electrical engineering, industrial mechanic millwright, food packaging and more.
  • Valuable R&D opportunities: Waterloo offers substantial Research & Development (R&D) opportunities through facilities like Conestoga College’s Food Research and Innovation Lab (CFRIL). CFRIL supports the region’s food and beverage manufacturing industry by providing education, training opportunities, research and technical expertise.

Waterloo’s food and beverage manufacturing ecosystem is not only delicious but deeply rooted in community. These ten companies symbolize the spirit of Waterloo by nurturing traditions, innovating for the future and honouring the community they’re a part of.

Considering Waterloo?

Get in touch with our team to learn how to expand your manufacturing company in Waterloo.