Industry News

Horizon Group announces the acquisition of Ontario Natural Food Co-op business and assets

Burnaby, BC, June 1, 2017 – The Horizon Group of Companies today completed the purchase of the business and assets of Ontario Natural Food Co-op of Mississauga, Ontario.

The Ontario distributor, renamed Ontario Natural Food Company Inc., joins Horizon Group’s regional distribution facilities serving customers across Canada. It brings with it more than 40 years of experience as a leading organic and natural food wholesaler in eastern Canada, a customer base approaching 1,500, plus Black River Juice and another proprietary natural food brand. It will continue to operate a 115,000-sq-ft distribution facility in Mississauga, supplying more than 4,500 grocery, refrigerated, frozen, bulk and household items to organic and natural food retailers and buying clubs.

Longtime General Manager Randy Whitteker will be staying on. “We’ve had a long history of growth and formed deep relationships in the organic and natural food sector,” he says; “as a response to a changing market, I know our customers and vendor partners will benefit greatly from this development.” He adds that nothing will change the organization’s passion for working with suppliers and retailers who are dedicated to improving the sustainability of food systems through the products they develop and sell.

Horizon Group Vice-President Terri Newell says the Horizon Group, “looks forward to working with its new colleagues and exploring the opportunities that a greater, combined strength will present.” She notes that customers will gain expanded regional service and access to a national platform.

Members of the Ontario Federation of Food Co-operatives and Clubs, Inc. (operating as Ontario Natural Food Co-op) agreed to the sale of the business and key assets of the co-operative in March.

The Horizon Group is a privately held, national network of subsidiaries, each carrying national brands and regionally unique products from a diverse range of organic and natural food (dry, chill, frozen, and bulk), natural body care, and nutritional health supplements. Subsidiaries include British Columbia’s Horizon Distributors and Christmas Natural Products, both of Burnaby, and PSC Natural Foods of Victoria; Calgary’s Planet Food and Organic Horizons; Corwin Distribution of Concord, Ontario and Directa Distribution of Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

For more information on Ontario Natural Food Company Inc. or Horizon Distributors, the flagship facility for the Horizon Group of Companies, please visit: www.onfc.ca www.horizondistributors.com

###

Contacts:
Randy Whitteker, General Manager, Ontario Natural Food Company Inc., RWhitteker [at] onfc.ca, 905-507-2021, ext. 227

Terri Newell, Vice-President - Horizon Group of Companies, General Manager – Horizon Distributors, terrin [at] horizondistributors.com, 604-524-6610

Ontario Natural Food Co-op signs Letter of Intent with Horizon Group of B.C.

Mississauga, Ontario, March 2, 2017 — The Ontario Federation of Food Co-operatives and Clubs, Inc., operating as the Ontario Natural Food Co-op, of Mississauga, has signed a Letter of Intent to sell its business and key assets to the Horizon Group of western Canada.

The co-operative’s board of directors invited ONFC members to a Special Members Meeting on Mar. 20 to consider the resolution that would allow the sale.

If the sale goes ahead, it would be an important step toward preserving a strong Canadian natural and organic food distribution system in the province, says ONFC General Manager Randy Whitteker. He notes that the roots of the Horizon Group are co-operative, and ONFC and Horizon Group share many values. Horizon Group’s Ontario operations would remain at the existing location in Mississauga, he adds.

He says that recent pressures in the organic and natural food industry, the co-operative’s expansion during this time, a strong U.S. dollar impacting the cost of imported products, and other reasons led to the boards’ decision to look to a bigger partner to maintain service for independent and other retail organic and natural retailers in Ontario.

Until a decision is made, the co-operative will continue to serve its members and customers which are buying clubs, local co-operatives, natural food retailers, restaurateurs, caterers and others dedicated to organic and natural food.

ONFC was founded in 1976. It now employs more than 120 people, and has close to 1500 members and customers. Its annual sales approach $55 million. ONFC owns Black River Juice Company Limited and the Ontario Natural Food Co-op brand. It distributes more than 4,500 grocery, refrigerated, frozen, bulk, and household items to natural and organic retailers in the eastern half of Canada. It is the 2016 Canadian Health Food Association Supplier of Excellence Award winner.

Also dating to 1976, the Horizon Group of companies is a key player in the natural products industry representing a wide array of categories shipped from a number of warehouses across Canada. Its subsidiary, Horizon Distributors, is western Canada’s leading distributor of organic and natural products in the dry, chill and frozen grocery categories, serving 1,800 locations annually including natural and organic retailers, grocery retailers, online retailers, buying clubs and major retail partners such as Whole Foods Market.

Contacts:

John Landsborough, Director of Sales and Marketing, ONFC, jlandsborough [at] onfc.ca905-507-2021, ext. 250

Terri Newell, Vice-President - Horizon Group of Companies, General Manager – Horizon Distributors, terrin [at] horizondistributors.com (), 604-524-6610