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Food Processing Companies Honoured by the BC Food Processors Association

Abbotsford, BC, June, 2011.

Vanderpol Food Group received the BC Food Processors Hall of Fame Award at FoodProWest on Thursday June 9th, 2011. The Leadership Award went to Yves Potvin of Garden Protein International, and the Rising Star Award to Vikram Vij of Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine, while Sunrise Soya was awarded the Sustainability Award. Two new awards were added this year: Bill Vanderkooi of Nutriva Group received the Innovation Award, and the Member of the Year Award was awarded to KPMG.


Hall of Fame Award:

The Vanderpol Food Group is a family owned group of companies specializing in food ingredient processing, customization and creation.  Specializing in all things egg and dairy, and provide nutritional and functional products to the food industry.  Their passion has always been to Make Good Better.  Their logo, inspired by the infinite configurations of the Chinese Tangram, is symbolic of the endless possibilities that exist to create and innovate.  With this belief in mind, Vanderpol Food Group’s passion is to lead the changing demands of the food industry – from ideation to commercialization. Vanderpol Food Group joins Avalon Dairy Ltd., Purdy’s Chocolates and Freybe Gourmet Foods in the BC Food Processor’s Hall of Fame.

Other finalists for the Award were:
•    Duso’s
•    Gizella’s Pastry

This Hall of Fame Award was sponsored by Reliance Insurance Agencies.


Leadership Award:

Yves Potvin created North America’s first veggie dog in the 1980s and continues his innovative journey today with Gardein™, an award-winning line of healthy and delicious meat-free foods. Following the success and sale of his first company, Yves Veggie Cuisine to the Hain Celestial Group, Potvin founded Garden Protein in 2003 to create Gardein™, a center of the plate option which has redefined the protein alternative category. Available in 12,000+ stores, it has received many accolades including Shape Magazine's Best Snack Award and Natural Health Magazine's 'Good Food' Winner. Gardein™ has been featured in the past year on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Ellen deGeneres Show, and on Good Morning America. Potvin was recognized as one of Canada’s top 40 under 40 by the Financial Post magazine, and also named Pacific Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Agriculture and Food. 

Other finalists for the Award were:
•    Richard Harris, Golden Boy Foods
•    Bill Vanderkooi, Nutriva Group
•    Joe Zallen, Que Pasa Foods

The Leadership Award was sponsored by KPMG.


Rising Star Award:

The Rising Star Award celebrates a processor who has demonstrated innovation, shown leadership in industry and the community. Vikram Vij opened Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, BC in 1994 with the premise that there is no such thing as a typical Indian curry. Vij’s blossomed quickly and won its first award from Vancouver magazine for Best Asian restaurant in March 1995. In February 2004, Vikram and wife, Meeru opened Vij’s Rangoli, a café and retail store that serves as a casual companion to Vij’s. Vikram maintains the same vision today as he had 16 years ago, when he first opened Vij’s: to be the unappointed ambassador of India and share his native cuisine and culture with the world.

Other finalists for the Rising Star Award were:
•    Jonathon Markham, The Chai Company
•    Ian Walker, Left Coast Naturals

The Rising Star Award was sponsored by Revenue Services Group.


Sustainability Award:

The Sustainability Award recognizes a processor which has demonstrated energy conservation and sustainability in their operations. Sunrise Soya committed to purchasing of core ingredients within North America, cutting supply chain emissions. Sunrise manufacturing plants recycle all of their wastes – from bean bags to soy pulp residues, resulting in 40% reduction in land disposal pickups. As part of Sunrise Soya's efforts to conserve energy, Sunrise plants have effectively reduced water usage by 5%, electrical usage by 7% and natural gas usage by 8% on an annual basis.

Other finalists for the Sustainability Award were:
•    Libra National
•    Que Pasa Foods

The Sustainability Award was sponsored by BC Hydro.


Innovation Award:

The Innovation Award recognizes a processor which has demonstrated innovation in any aspect of the company (e.g. processes, technology, ingredients, human resources, culture, engagement, sales and marketing, product development, health and safety, research and development).

Bill Vanderkooi, of Nutriva Group was raised on a local dairy farm in Abbotsford. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1993 with Master of Science in Animal Science, specializing in dairy
cattle nutrition and physiology. He contributed to the launch of the Clearbrook Grain and Milling dairy feed program in 1994 and became more involved with the family farm in Abbotsford, milking 80 cows at the time.  For 15 years, Bill was involved in growing the Clearbrook Grain dairy feed business and family dairy farm and led the expansion with operations in Saskatoon and milking a total of 800 cows on 3 farms. In 2000, Bill started Nutritech Solutions, a specialty feed ingredient business with a focus on distribution and product development.  In 2008, the Vanderkooi family farm business was re-organized and a succession plan was completed.

Bill was recognized for his work with the Nutriva Group of companies, especially the Bakersview EcoDairy as well as Vitala milk and eggs.

Other finalists for the Innovation Award were:
•    Greg Blake, Daiya Foods
•    Yves Potvin, Garden Protein International

The Innovation Award was sponsored by Grant Thornton.


Member of the Year Award:

The Member of the Year Award recognizes a BCFPA Member (processor or associate) that has demonstrated a high engagement level in BCFPA activities and made a contribution to industry efforts. KPMG excelled by supporting the BCFPA on many fronts including bringing in more than 15 new members to the organization, as well as several young Board members. KPMG is also always ready to support industry and association activities including facilitating the BCFPA’s strategic planning sessions, making boardrooms available, and much more. 

Other finalists for the Member of the Year Award were:
•    Purdy’s Chocolates
•    Reliance Insurance Agencies

The Member of the Year Award was sponsored by the BC Food Processors Association.


The awards were presented at FoodProWest, the premier annual gathering of BC food processors. The event included a Professional Development Day, then the New Trends and Innovations Welcoming Kick-Off Reception, followed by the Main event on the next day.

During the event, attendees networked and browsed the trade show with over 15 exhibitors.

The Keynote Speaker, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers since 1991, John Scott spoke on the theme of “Retail Trends in the Food Industry”.

The day concluded with a lively Industry Leaders Forum. Bill Vanderkooi of Nutriva Group, Vikram Vij of Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine, and Richard Harris of Golden Boy Foods shared an insight in their worlds as leaders of their companies.

Photographs, videos and more are posted http://www.bcfpa.ca/node/548.

“We are delighted with the fabulous work of all nominees, finalists and recipients of our awards”, said Dave Eto, BCFPA President and Chair of the Board. “They all are worthy and totally inspirational. We are delighted that we could honour them in this way.”

“This is the third year of FoodProWest,” added Nico Human, BCFPA CEO. “We are very happy to see the event grow into a two-day event. It is also a fundraiser: Proceeds of the event are used to leverage funding for industry projects that will benefit the entire industry. The event therefore not only celebrates the industry and brings its participants together; it also raises funds for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

“We are already working on FoodProWest 2012,” Human added. “The provisional date is June 6-7, 2012. Please pencil the date in immediately!”