Willie Pelzer has enjoyed a lot of mileage out of the humble rolled oat and related cereal grains that form the backbone of his Sunny Crunch Foods Limited empire. The Markham, Ontario company, specializing in granola cereals, granola and protein bars, fibre products, meal replacement products and health food items, has carved out a special niche within the country’s highly competitive food industry.
Mr. Pelzer, who left Europe for Lethbridge, Alberta at age 17 to work the sugar beet fields, was immediately struck with the limited way in which Canadian food grains were being used. He devoted his interest to find a better, more appetizing way of enjoying rolled oats.
He is fond of the infamous porridge anecdote. “Porridge was one of the only foods I knew of that used rolled oats and I wanted to come up with a new kind of food that would make use of rolled oats and other healthy grains in an attractive new way.”
With this inspiration, Mr. Pelzer began experimenting with rolled oats, honey and other natural ingredients with an eye to a new line of food products. This new product would capitalize on the virtues of prairie wheat for the quality of its grain product. Ultimately, Mr. Pelzer came up with what today is known as granola – and the rest, as they say, is history.