Scoular opened their new high speed flax processing plant this week at Regina.
Stats show that Saskatchewan farmers grow more than 80 per cent of the Canadian crop.
Jeff Vipond is Scoular's Vice President and General Manager for Pulses, Seeds, Distilling and Milling.
He says the new high speed facility is focused on bulk, bagged, and milled flax and is also organically certified.
"We produce a flax flour type product, a milled flax, that we do at that location. We view this as step one in our expansion and are looking for opportunities to expand our product portfolio."
He says he logically can view the next step as being extra value added processing like the oil sector.
In terms of capacity, this facility will give them the opportunity to continue to grow the market share they have with Flax.
"It will allow us to source more acres close to that Regina facility, obviously. So, I'm not about to put a total volume that we plan to put through the facility, but it will allow us to substantially increase our product offerings to the marketplace. Our ability to handle significantly higher volumes of flax as a company. When you look at where we're going to source flax from, Regina was selected for a reason. When you look at Western Canadian flax and where it's grown, when you look at Regina as a logistical hub, not only for the inbound, but also for the outbound. Whether that's servicing the North American marketplace or the International marketplace. Regina was strategically selected for the reasons that it will allow us to be competitive in the marketplace. So we're excited about the location, and it was picked for a reason."
According to Scoular, the facility incorporates technology that enables it to deliver some of the highest purity flax available on the market. The facility also meets the highest level of food safety
standards certified to the rigorous Global Food Safety Initiative benchmarked to the FSSC 22000 standard.
Vipond notes they expect to attract flax from growers throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba, possibly even Alberta.
"We built the new flax plant at our existing pulse plant that we had at Richardson, just outside of Regina. On that site existing already, we have a cleaning plant that focuses on peas, lentils, and canaryseed. So having this complimentary facility on the same site creates efficiencies for us from an operational perspective. And I think it's important to highlight that at that location, we've continued to invest. So with the new flax plant, and the upgrades, the additional cleaning line that we've added at that site, we've invested north of $10 million in that site over the last 36 months."
The plant's opening coincides with a strong flax market and record-high prices with a tight global supply, and a growing demand for pet food and flax oil.
There's also been more consumer interest in the health benefits of flaxseed (a non-GMO source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber) which has helped boost demand.
Scoular and its predecessors have been a partner in the Canadian flax market for more than 30 years.