Quebecers are not about to have tomatoes from their part of the country in their ketchup bottle, according to a senior executive at the American giant Kraft-Heinz.
“For the moment, I do not believe that there is industrial tomato production in Quebec and during our meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture in mid-December, we learned that there is no also no processing plant ”, explained to the Newspaper Ben Auber, tomato purchasing manager for Kraft-Heinz North America.
In mid-November, the Legault government granted a loan of $ 2 million to the American multinational in Chicago on the same day it launched its vast national campaign, Let’s Buy Quebec.
In interview at Newspaper, the director of the Kraft Heinz plant in Mont-Royal, Danielle Nguyen, said at the time that her wish was to source tomatoes from Canada.
“For now, I cannot comment on that, but our goal is really to do that in Canada,” she said.
However, two months later, there is little chance that the tomatoes that will be used to make the famous ketchup in Quebec come from our fields or even those of Ontario. At least in the short term.
This is because for Kraft Heinz, the fruit is not ripe.
In mid-December, members of the Legault government and industry had a virtual meeting to discuss it, reported Our land, but the discussions do not seem to have borne fruit yet.
” The Ministry [de l’Agriculture] didn’t seem to know that the problem would be to have a processing plant close to the tomatoes. This is kind of what was positive in this meeting. We were able to teach each other several things, ”shared Ben Auber of Kraft-Heinz.
“They thought we were just sending the tomatoes to our Montreal plant to make ketchup, so they were missing a production phase,” he continued.
Ben Auber clarified that he buys most of his tomatoes from California and that it is the tomato paste that is exported here to make the red sauce.
For his part, Pascal Forest, president of the Producers of Vegetable Processing of Quebec (PLTQ), said he was ready to try Kraft-Heinz cultivars to grow their types of fruit in Quebec.
“It’s not just the ketchup that will be made at the Mount Royal plant, so maybe our Quebec tomatoes could go in their sauces or other uses,” he concluded.