by Stacy Dunn
Island Abbey Foods are the makers of Honibe® products, which use pure dried honey to deliver health and wellness products. They sell their products to customers in Canada and UK, and co-manufacture products for international companies.
Honibe® lozenges use dried honey for cough and cold relief. They also produce the HoneyDrop™, a fully dehydrated piece of honey to sweeten coffee or tea.
They also make Honibe® Gummies to deliver vitamins and health and wellness ingredients such as sleep support and immunity support. The rise in the demand for Gummies has led to current plans to double the size of the 35,000 square foot facility.
New world-class equipment from Europe is set to be installed this year, allowing Island Abbey Foods to expand operations significantly.
“The expansion will allow us to produce five times the volume of Gummies as we do now,” says Denise Gallant, Human Resources Director. “We currently produce 10 million bottles a year, and we are hiring in all departments to support this growth. In the two years since announcing our expansion plans, we have grown from three staff in Research & Development to 10.”
About 130 employees work at the facility located on Innovation Way in Charlottetown. They work in the following departments:
- Research & Development
- Quality Control & Assurance
- Sales & Marketing
- Finance & Accounting
- Human Resources
- Supply Chain Management
Sixty employees work in the Production department to cover three shifts for 24-hour production.
Level 1 Production Associate is an entry-level position. They are required to have a high school diploma or GED. The starting wage is $15 an hour. Wages range up to $18 an hour, depending on experience.
“Before new associates go on the production floor, including Level 1 Associates, they are trained on the latest Good Manufacturing Practices such as wearing hair nets, captive shoe policy, handwashing, and glove and protective gown usage,” says Production Manager David Acquah. “They also learn the best occupational health and safety practices before working on the floor.”
Level 2 Production Associate, Level 3 Production Associate, Team Lead, Supervisor, and Manager also work in this department. Wages increase as workers gain more experience and advance to other roles in the department.
David Acquah’s employment journey
“I was looking to move to Canada from Ghana a few years ago to live and work in a small community that offered a better work/life balance,” he says. “Someone suggested PEI to me.”
“With a background in IT and a certificate in Supply Chain Management, coupled with previous experience in manufacturing, a career at IAF was a good opportunity for me.”
David started at Island Abbey Foods as a Production Supervisor. “My previous management skills in IT and other production roles transferred well to being a Supervisor – setting and achieving goals, people management, and communication are similar to skills needed to excel in a manufacturing environment.”
Within one year, David became a Production Manager.
“It’s a diverse workplace where respect, safety, taking responsibility, and listening to one another’s ideas and concerns are important,” David says. “We want our staff to feel supported and have a sense of belonging.”
“We attract many people who like the fact we are still a young company,” Denise says. “They want to be a part of our success and growth. It’s exciting to see.”
Hiring during the pandemic
“We had a lot of inquiries from people coming from other parts of Canada and all over the world,” she says. “They heard that PEI’s COVID-19 case numbers were low compared to other jurisdictions. Some employees moved from other parts of the country for jobs with us.”
“Many employees have moved within our company from Production to Research & Development and/or Quality Control & Assurance. We are happy to consider employees for promotion opportunities.”
Job postings Along with its own website, Island Abbey Foods posts job opportunities with PEI BioAlliance, Service Canada’s Job Bank, and Work PEI.
“When we need specialist roles, we also advertise in industry-specific magazines or websites, such as the Chartered Professional Accountants of PEI.”
“We hire all of our employees on a full-time, permanent basis,” Denise says. “Our Operations team will see the most increases. There may be 12 new hires within the next three to six months.” Jobs in Operations include Production, Maintenance, Quality Control, Supply Chain, and Health and Safety.
For more information about job opportunities at Island Abbey Foods, visit www.honibe.com