Cereals Canada says the addition of Warburton’s as a member is a big step forward in the organization’s evolution.
“It’s really important to have the voice and input of those end use customers,” said president Cam Dahl. “I think it adds a critically important perspective to the industry.”
Warburton’s produces high quality bread for the British grocery market and has been a steady buyer of Canadian wheat for more than a century.
In the 1990s, it developed an identity-preserved grain system with Canadian farmers and the Canadian grain handling system to ensure it received the exact type of wheat it demanded for its mills.
About 200,000 tonnes of Canadian wheat flows through that system every year.
It was originally developed with the Canadian Wheat Board, which marketed all milling wheat. It was a successful program that the CWB often highlighted as proof that its efforts were reaping extra value for Canadian farmers by being able to tightly control and manage the Canadian system.
Some worried that the Canadian system would no longer be able to deliver consistent quality to picky buyers when the CWB monopoly was broken.
However, Warburton’s stayed active with the Canadian International Grains Institute and other parts of the industry and has now joined Cereals Canada, which gives the organization more justification in claiming to speak for Canada’s milling grains industry.
“It really does lead from seed development and the research side … linked now completely through to the end-use customer,” said Dahl.