Above: Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy takes a look at the progress of the new BAFRINO Research and Innovation Centre July 27.
Below: A construction worker runs a packing machine on the job site. Aerial photo of Champion’s Morinville Kitchen facility. – Morinville News Video Stills
Here is our interview with Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy about the company's new research facility in Morinville.
Posted by MorinvilleNews.com on Monday, 10 August 2015
If the video does not appear – click here
by Stephen Dafoe with files from Colin Smith
Champion Petfoods’ $5.9 million product development facility is nearing completion. The 6,500 square foot BAFRINO Research and Innovation Centre announced last November, is being built behind Champion’s existing administrative offices.
“The research and innovation centre is a concept we’ve had for about six years now,” sai d Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy. “It came from the fact that we’re a leader in our industry, making the world’s best pet food. We have to keep getting better at innovation and creating our own foods, looking at ingredient development as well as putting new technology to work for us.”
Burdzy said the build began in April and is curently 90 per cent finished. Over the next six weeks, the company will bring in all the equipment necessary for lab testing, research and innovation.
“It’s very exciting. We’ve been able to hire 10 people over the last three years that are all specializing in food science, food safety, innovation, and technology,” Burdzy said. “They’re all coming together in one location to be able to bring the world’s best pet food to market.”
Plans are for the new facility to work closely with the University of Alberta’s new pilot-scale extruder to develop new fresh meat processing technologies that will enable Champion to include more fresh meat in its cat and dog foods.
“We’re working with the University as well where we can leverage all their resources and bring them in house as well,” Burdzy said. “They will be back and forth on a number of occasions working together.”
It is a partnership with the UofA that began about five years ago to create a pilot facility at the University. The UofA has a pilot extruder and dryer, equipment used by Champion in its Morinville kitchens.
“I think what’s exciting about it is we’re going to be bringing resources together that are going to be doing first ever in the world — right here — for the pet food business,” Burdzy said. “We’re going to leverage ideas from the human food industry, leverage ideas from our ingredients suppliers, and make food and prepare food in a way that never has been done before.”
The BAFRINO Research and Innovation Centre joins Champions other major project, a new kitchen facility in Kentucky, in helping the company supply its customers around the world.
Champion Petfoods products are currently available in 74 countries.
Though the company ships product around the world from Morinville, the community regularly plays host to Champion clients from around the globe.
“We bring them here not only to show them what we do for food production, but we also show them what kind of organization we are,” Burdzy said. “We show them the community that we’re in. We celebrate with them downtown at the Green Bean. We have a lot of time and effort to show them Canada as well as our company as Champion as well.”