New packing equipment increases output and creates new jobs

Cavalier Candies best-selling product, Pizzazz fruit jelly candies are now wrapped and sealed quicker thanks to new machinery.

When employees are packing 1,000 candies per minute there's no time for bottlenecks on the production line.

"We had too much demand and couldn't keep up with orders," says James Fletcher, vice president of Winnipeg's Cavalier Candies.

The new machines, one that individually wraps the company's candy fruit slices and the other that shrink-seals gift box packages, were installed and ready to use by the beginning of December 2014 - their busiest time of the year. Cavalier Candies was able to purchase the machines with cost shared funding from Growing Forward 2's Growing Value - Commercialization program.

Shipping more products in less time

"We're a large supplier of Passover confections. Every December we shut everything down and clean the entire facility from top to bottom under the close supervision of a rabbi," Fletcher says. "With the new machines we were able to increase our output by 40 per cent for December, and January sales were the highest in the history of the company."

The faster production means faster shipments too. Fletcher and his customers are happy that shipment lead times have gone down from an average of four weeks to an average of two and a half weeks.

According to Jeff Fidyk, business development specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Cavalier Candies is a great example a business successfully following through with their intentions to expand.

Economic growth and job creation

The company said it expected to create 10 new positions to operate the machines. "A month after receiving the grant, James called to let me know he'd already hired eight new employees and the other two would be hired soon," says Fidyk.

Fletcher believes that food manufacturing is set to boom in the province and has plans to reinvest and expand manufacturing capabilities. He is now planning to obtain the Safe Quality Food designation - something that would allow him to export products globally and to further increase production capabilities.

"We wouldn't have been able to take these first steps without the funding from Growing Forward 2," he says. "It feels really good to be able to keep up with the demand and look into further expansion soon."

Cavalier Candies has been manufacturing their famous Pizazz Juicy Jellies fruit slices, along with other candies in Winnipeg since 1922.

Growing Value program encourages growth and transformation

Adding new machinery is just one way Growing Value - Commercialization helps Manitoba businesses grow in a competitive market. The program also supports market research and development, adoption of environmental sustainability practices and skill development associated with using new or innovative technologies.