ADP Direct Poultry / Premium Foods

Speedy secondary poultry processing in Ontario
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Dana MerkWynne

According to Chicken Farmers of Canada, there are some 2,700 poultry producers from coast to coast. While chicken is produced in all provinces, the majority of farms are located in Quebec and Ontario. In Etobicoke, Ontario, ADP Direct Poultry Ltd. (ADP) has offered fast, secondary chicken and turkey processing for over seven years, bringing Canada’s favorite protein from the farm to the grocery store shelf.

Since its launching, the company has built a name for rapidly turning over poultry products to retailers in record time. “As a secondary processor, we bring in either the whole bird or in parts; we don’t do slaughtering here,” explains Augo Pinho, president and owner of ADP. “From picking up to deboning, packaging and delivery, our business has grown by supplying customers usually within same-day service.”

The freshest poultry possible

This timely turnaround means chicken and other poultry items go from farm to shelf to consumer faster, ultimately ensuring a fresher protein. “I call it the 911 business,’” says Pinho. “We have product picked up and brought to our facility where it’s deboned, packaged and shipped to stores usually within a 12-hour window. That’s one of our biggest strengths – accommodating stores and warehouses within the same day.”

Known for rapid secondary processing, ADP has built business with most of the major retailers in Canada. “We also debone products for large retailers,” adds Pinho.

To serve its current customer base and a growing interest in food service, in the last year ADP has branched out into a line of fully cooked products and prepared foods. “We sell nationally coast to coast and even into the U.S. and Barbados, but our main focus is local Canadian markets,” says Pinho. “We have sought to diversify in recent years and we’re keeping ourselves open to new markets south of the border in cooked products.”

In Etobicoke, ADP currently has 22,000 square feet of processing and office space, alongside a recent 45,000-square-foot addition of a half-cooked, half-raw facility. “In the last year ADP started producing items such as fully-cooked quarter chicken dinners, turkey and chicken patties and other fully-cooked items,” says Pinho. “Between both facilities we currently employ 140 people.”

Seeking diversification

Pinho says ADP has really focused on diversification in recent years. “We want to diversify as much as possible. One reason why we’ve brought in the cooking side of the operation and we’re really trying to learn the ins and outs of this industry,” he says. “We currently have several contracts we have been working on for a year or so. In the next couple of months, as some contracts expire, I expect us to gain many more.”

While ADP processes and packs under customer’s labels and generic brands the company maintains its own brand called Chef’s Kitchen. “We have slowly adapted ourselves to focus on foodservice pre-cooked products and prepared meals by creating our own cooking platform,” says Pinho. “We’re adding new products as we’re approached by customers and when the demand is there.”

Along with the push to enter new markets is a strong branding initiative at ADP. “We’re working on launching a new website and focusing on building our brand based around what we have done for 10 years and where we’re heading in the pre-cooked foods market,” says Pinho. “This will help increase our visibility to retail and foodservice customers.”

Visibility online is important as ADP continues to compete with larger companies in the secondary processing business. “For us it’s not about competing in terms of quality – we’ve never had issues with that – it’s price that affects us,” says Pinho. “In order to reduce price, you have to reduce quality and that’s something we won’t compromise and we’ve lost some business over it in the past.”

But Pinho, who’s a poultry industry veteran of 25 years, says ADP is well positioned in a viable market. “Even in poor economic times, chicken does well because a consumer can always afford a piece of chicken; it’s a main staple,” he says.

In fact, Chicken Farmers of Canada cites chicken as the most widely consumed protein in Canada. Secondary processors such as ADP are needed to turn product from farm to consumer. “We continue to grow and expand by constantly buying and upgrading machinery and doing our best to be number one in the market,” says Pinho.

With an eye on diversification ADP is well positioned for future growth. ADP Direct Poultry Ltd has and will continue taken great pride in rapidly processing poultry products ready for the end consumer.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Royal Bank of Canada