FROM FARM TO TABLE
HONEE BEAR CANNING SERVES UP ONLY THE BEST INGREDIENTS

STORY HEATHER BAKER | IMAGE HANNAH ZIEGELER

COMPANY
Packers Canning Co., dba Honee Bear Canning Co.

WEBSITE
honeebear.com

LOCATION
72100 M 40
Lawton, MI 49065

YEAR FOUNDED
Honee Bear Canning was founded in 1943 and Packers Canning in 1967. The two entities existed as a partnership between the grandfather of Steve Packer, current president and chief executive officer, and another family. The Packer family became sole owners in 1967.

WHAT THEY DO
Process quality fruits and vegetables in multiple packaged options—canned, glass, frozen, and co-manufactured—to enhance customer experience. The produce inside the sealed food packaging comes in a variety of forms including whole, pickled, cut, diced, tips, spears, soup, and pie fillings.

WHAT’S INSIDE THOSE PACKAGES?
Fruits and vegetables sourced from over 100 Michigan farm families and beyond when demand outpaces the ability to source locally. Fourth-generational relationships open doors for the company to source the highest grade:

  • Asparagus
  • Cherries—sweet and tart
  • Blueberries
  • Plums—purple
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Dried beans
  • Pie filling

THAT’S UNCANNY!
In one day, Honee Bear Canning is capable of processing over 60,000 15-ounce cans of asparagus spears or producing more than 250,000 15-ounce cans of asparagus cuts and tips.

REGIONAL FOOTPRINT

  • Almost 300,000 square feet of processing area on over 200 acres supporting food processing, warehousing, and administrative operations.
  • Proximity to I-94 speeds up shipments to and from the site.
  • Plant size enables the company to operate specialized equipment in different sections depending on the harvest season.

HUNGRY?
You’ll find their products on the shelves of retail grocery stores and chains under a variety of labels across North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, and as far away as New Zealand. The company also manufactures products for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for food services programs that aid shelters and schools.

LABELING: WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

  • Co-manufactured production means Honee Bear doesn’t sell certain products lines directly to retailers or foodservice operators. These lines are produced for customers using recipes provided to them. The finished product is labeled with the local, national, or international brand labels and then shipped back to the customer who ultimately sells the branded product to retailers.
  • Private-label products are manufactured and offered under store brand labels like those belonging to a grocery or retail chain. These products are often positioned as more affordable alternatives to well-known brands.
  • And, Honee Bear makes and sells product under its own label—Michigan Made.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
Employing 90 full-time employees year-round, its numbers ramp up to 200 during the height of growing season from May through July to accommodate high volumes of asparagus and cherries.

WHO WORKS THERE
Line and production workers, food safety and quality assurance specialists, mid-level supervisors, maintenance workers, and office personnel.

INTERESTED IN A CAREER?
Contact a Honee Bear Canning representative directly at 269.624.4681.

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