PepsiCo announces closure of Bow Island Spitz plant

(USDA photo by Bruce Fritz)

Two years after the closure of its Medicine Hat distribution facility, PepsiCo has announced it will close the Spitz International Inc facility at Bow Island.

PepsiCo first acquired the Alberta-based company ten years ago.

The food and beverage giant sent this statement to RealAgriculture, February 16: “Yesterday we announced our difficult decision to close our Spitz plant in Bow Island, Alberta. This facility will close later this year, and Spitz production will be moving to an existing contract manufacturer partner in the U.S.

“This was a business decision based on an extensive evaluation of the long-term viability of this site and its ability to meet our increasing volume requirements for the brand, which will continue to play an important role in our North American portfolio.  We are committed to assisting our impacted associates with financial support, access to financial counselling and job placement services.”

According to a tweet sent out by Drew Barnes, Member of Legislative Assembly for Cypress-Medicine Hat, the move will directly impact just over 50 employees.

“Losing a business in a rural region is difficult for the communities involved but our concern…is really for the people who work at Spitz; all 53 of them,” said Gordon Reynolds, Mayor of Bow Island. “For Bow Island and the County of 40Mile that is a very significant number of jobs to lose and we will feel the impact, but of course the greatest impact is on those individuals.”

Reynolds hopes the facility will be re-purposed to process another local agricultural product, re-instating “some or all” of the jobs lost.

Spitz International was founded in 1982 by Dutch immigrants Tom and Emmy Droog. The first products were marketing as bird feed before the company moved into the consumer confectionary market.

In a press release in 2008, Tom Droog said, “Our modest plans have surpassed our expectations and now with a company like Frito-Lay behind Spitz we know our legacy will continue and our company will be in a better position to reach our goal: to become the leading sunflower and pumpkin seed brand in North America .”

The town of Bow Island is located approximately 300 km southeast of Calgary, and 100 km north of the U.S. border.

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