January 22nd, 2021

Business Beat: Where are all of our salsa producers?

By Medicine Hat News on October 26, 2016.

When it comes to greenhouse vegetables, Medicine Hat is the provincial leader, representing nearly 70 per cent of Alberta’s total growing area.

Yet with such a large specialty crop sector in Medicine Hat, there are next to no food processors in the city. So where are all of Medicine Hat’s salsa makers?

If Canadian economist Jeff Rubin is correct, globalization is being replaced by local economies, essentially making our world smaller. Certainly we’ve already seen a version of this in the booming popularity of local breweries, with two on tap (pun intended) for Medicine Hat this year alone.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, interest in local food has increased dramatically in the past ten years. As consumers continue to eschew foreign and mass-produced food for home-grown product, there is an opportunity for Medicine Hat entrepreneurs to take advantage and add value to our existing vegetable supply.

For starters, Medicine Hat offers two great opportunities to get home-made salsa directly into the hands of Hatters. Market @ Medalta is a year-round opportunity while the Stampede Farmer’s Market is a busy seasonal market. Both are well-established, with a steady base of consumers. And with the emergence of locally-focused eating and drinking establishments, entrepreneurs are using locally-sourced food as their unique selling point.

For entrepreneurs with broader ambitions, Medicine Hat is an excellent base to distribute beyond city limits. Restaurants and specialty food shops in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and elsewhere in Alberta would likely be interested in a good, regionally sourced and produced salsa. All it takes to find out for sure is a few phone calls and day trips to let prospective customers taste test.

Salsa and other food products that add value to our local greenhouse vegetables would be a win for everyone. And it doesn’t need to start big to be successful. In fact, supplying Medicine Hat would be an excellent first step.

As business owners ourselves, Invest Medicine Hat is here to help entrepreneurs or existing businesses to capitalize on opportunities like salsa. Salsa is an untapped opportunity that would do well in Medicine Hat thanks to a healthy vegetable supply and access to local and provincial markets.

Now it’s up to you to take up the challenge.

Ryan Jackson is the general manager for Invest Medicine Hat, which helps new, expanding and relocating businesses access markets and business resources in Medicine Hat. For more information on investment opportunities, visit http://www.investmedicinehat.ca



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