Canada's oldest candy and chocolate company Ganong Bros., Ltd. is teaming up with the head of seafood giant Cooke Inc. in a bid to grow the family-run confectionery business.
The partnership will see Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke - the parent company of multiple aquaculture, seafood processing and wild fishery divisions - invest in Ganong and help the company modernize and expand into new markets.
Bryana Ganong, president and CEO of Ganong and the fifth generation of the family to run the business, said the investment by Cooke will be directed into new equipment and upgrades at the company's St. Stephen, N.B., facilities.
It will also allow Ganong to leverage Cooke's global retail grocery presence, helping grow the candy company's sales around the world, she said.
"This is new territory for us as a privately owned family business,'' Ganong said. "But it's important that we be open to change and adaptation to continue for future generations.
"We're an almost 150-year-old company and we are very connected to our community. It was really important for us to prioritize a partner that was going to understand that connection and want to see the business grow here in New Brunswick, and Cooke is a perfect match.''
Established in 1873, Ganong is Canada's oldest family-owned and operated candy and chocolate company, with popular brands including Chicken Bones, Pal-o-Mine bars and Delecto boxes of assorted chocolates.
Ganong has been working to optimize its product offerings, reduce the labour intensity of products and improve and streamline operations for several years, Ganong said.
In the middle of the pandemic, the company launched an allergen removal project and began manufacturing some products in different ways to separate allergens in the facility, Ganong said.
As a result, the company was able to secure two new contracts to make products for other brands, she said.
"We produce confectionery products for a range of companies in Canada and the U.S. under their own brands here in our facility in St. Stephen,'' Ganong said. "That is definitely the fastest-growing piece of our business.''
But Ganong said the company realized that to continue its growth, an investment would be needed.
"We operate in an environment where we're competing against large multinationals,'' she said. "There certainly aren't very many smaller players left in the industry anymore. There's been a lot of consolidation.''
Cooke's support will help ensure the company remains competitive in an ever-changing global confectionery market, Ganong added.
Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke, said in a statement that his company is proud to make an investment in Ganong to help strengthen and grow the candy maker.