Success Story: A pioneer in gluten-free food-processing

A pioneer in gluten-free food-processing

A diversified marketing strategy delivers a sustainable business model for this food-processing business in Middleton, in the Annapolis Valley.

Valley Flaxflour in Middleton, Annapolis County, is adding products to the Valley Kitchen label.

Howard Selig and his wife, Wendy Rodda, own Valley Flaxflour Ltd. They have the best of both worlds: living in the community of their choice while operating a successful export business.

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Valley Flaxflour Ltd. in Middleton, in the Annapolis Valley, is a pioneer in the growing North American market for gluten-free products.

Founded in 1998, Valley Flaxflour produces premium-quality, gluten-free flours and mixes for a range of markets.

The main ingredients are brown and golden flax seeds imported from Manitoba.

While the range of consumer products has grown in recent years, “health care is our Number One market,” says Howard Selig, who owns the business with his wife, Wendy Rodda.

Their primary market is nursing homes in Canada that include flax in their menus to provide fibre for natural bowel care.

In 2012, the company began processing and selling a range of gluten-free flours and mixes of flax, organic buckwheat, organic corn, and certified gluten-free oats. All the ingredients and mixes meet international and Canadian standards for gluten-free food.

The value-added retail products are sold under the Valley Kitchen label. One of these, Pancake & Cookie Mix, was voted the Taste of Nova Scotia Product of the Year in 2016.

Valley Flaxflour also supplies feed to the equine market.

“We’re always looking to grow,” says Selig. “We’re always looking at market expansion.”

Ontario and Atlantic Canada are the main markets, supplemented with a mail order service. The owners are also in the early stages of developing a market in Iceland.

They are also pursuing productivity improvements by introducing new technology into the processing and packaging.

Location is another ingredient in the long-term success of this business, which is unique in Atlantic Canada.

The retail and production site is located in the Town of Middleton’s industrial park.

Selig said the commercial tax rate for their business was “very reasonable” and property in the industrial park was very affordable.

Howard and Wendy live just around the corner from the processing plant, giving them the best of both worlds: living in the community of their choice while operating a successful export business.