When the company began planning their move out of the APBI, Siwin first considered a short list of pre-existing facilities that it could possible convert, in Leduc, Strathcona County and within the city limits. But their time in the incubator had reinforced the importance of food safety, and none of the buildings it saw satisfied the company’s strict standards in that area. The team quickly realized they would have to start from scratch and create their own infrastructure.
“We knew we wanted the interstitial space, we wanted to eliminate any horizontal surfaces where dust can collect … we designed it bare bones,” DeJong says. “(Taking into account) product flow, people flow, air flow … ” and things like avoiding the flow of wastewater into raw cooking areas. “We learned a lot of that at the incubator. The government invested a lot into designing that facility, and whatever we were able to take from that, we incorporated into our building.”
Shortly after moving into its own facility, Siwin knew it would need more than just the kitchen/lunchroom they were using for culinary testing. So the team built their own lab for research and development, modelled closely on what they had experienced at the FPDC, with all the equipment necessary for testing and evaluating the foods they produce.
In building their own facility from the ground up, says DeJong, “We were able to incorporate a lot of energy efficiency,” something he says was not as much a focus at the APBI. “We use our waste refrigeration to heat the water, we use high-efficiency lighting, building materials that prevent heat infiltration.”