Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Jiffy Products

Taking innovative products further for growers

An employee conducts a quality check on peat moss pellets. Innovation is key for Jiffy Products. Since its inception in 1976, the Shippagan company has made innovation a key priority in its drive to diversify its line of products and respond to the needs of clients.

The company makes peat moss pots and pellets, plastic trays and a wide range of ready-to-use products for retail customers, horticulture professionals and the forest industry. The Shippagan company is a subsidiary of the Norwegian firm Jiffy Products.

Jiffy Products of Shippagan is a leader in environmentally friendly products. A few years ago, Jiffy Products purchased a peat bog to help it meet its increasing need for its main raw material: peat moss. Peat pots are fully biodegradable and lead to substantial reductions in the number of plastic pots ending up in landfills. Peat pots help plants build strong root systems, reduce water consumption thanks to their absorbency, and are also well suited to mechanical handling in nurseries.

“We place a lot of importance on innovation. A major portion of our budget goes to research and development to help us find ways to maintain and increase our market share. Over the years, the new approaches we’ve been able to adopt have helped us to substantially diversify our product line,” explains Zoël Gautreau, Executive Vice-President of Jiffy Products (NB) Ltd.

With people’s increasing interest in gardening, growing demand for environmentally friendly products, and recent increases in the cost of oil, plastic resin and related products, the company is well positioned for the future.

“It’s important to us to listen to our clients and offer them innovative products. We are more determined than ever to innovate and are going the extra mile to meet their needs,” explains Gautreau.

In November 2009, through the Business Development Program (BDP), the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) provided funding to help Jiffy Products expand and purchase equipment.

The BDP helps companies invest in projects that help them grow, boost their competitiveness and create jobs in sectors that have been hard hit by the current economic crisis.

In the spring of 2010, as a result of the ACOA investment, Jiffy Products of Shippagan was able to put the finishing touches on an 11,200-square-foot expansion project, which will increase the company’s production capacity by 40% and help meet market demand.

“We put a lot of work into innovating with new equipment. I would even say we scoured the planet looking for production equipment that met our needs, but then we realized we had all the expertise and manpower we needed right here on our team,” says Gautreau.

The company has a highly qualified team of engineers, draftspeople and machinists who designed and built the new equipment for the expansion. Over the years, the Jiffy Products team has also designed and built a variety of equipment with the help of ACOA funding.

Gautreau explains that the region will also benefit from ACOA’s investment, because the expansion and addition of new machines will lead to the creation of 90 new jobs—excellent news for the region in these uncertain economic times.

Published in 2010