Thursday, March 9, 2017
The Horizon Group of western Canada is acquiring the business and key assets of the Ontario Federation of Food Co-operatives and Clubs, Inc., operating as the Ontario Natural Food Co-op (ONFC).
The ONFC board of directors was to meet members at a Special Members Meeting on March 20 to consider the deal. The acquisition would be an important step toward preserving a strong Canadian natural and organic food distribution system in the province of Ontario, said ONFC general manager Randy Whitteker. Under the agreement, Horizon Group’s Ontario operations would remain at the existing location in Mississauga, Ont., he adds.
Whitteker said a number of reasons led to the board’s decision to seek a larger partner to maintain service for independent and other retail organic and natural retailers in Ontario, including recent pressures in the organic and natural food industry, the co-operative’s expansion during this time, and a strong U.S. dollar impacting the cost of imported products.
Founded in 1976, ONFC employs more than 120 people and counts buying clubs, local co-operatives, natural food retailers, restaurateurs, caterers and others among its 1,500 members and customers. Its annual sales approach $55 million, and it owns the Black River Juice Company Limited and the Ontario Natural Food Co-op brand.