ExportWise Magazine, Export Development Canada, 2003
Dietary Fat is Bad – True or False?
By Trish Edwards
|False, according to Rick Kulow Jr., president of Bioriginal Food & Science Corp., the world’s leading supplier of a range of oils rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as flax, evening primrose, borage, black currant, pumpkin and fish.|
|While some fats – saturated and trans-fatty acids – do contribute to cardiovascular disease, others are critical to the proper functioning of the body’s cells and the maintenance of good health.”Good fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, work at the cellular level, helping to keep cells more fluid, allowing valuable nutrients in and keeping harmful toxins out,” explains Kulow. “Essential fats are also needed to produce hormones and absorb vitamins. But good fats, EFAs, like other essential vitamins and minerals, can’t be manufactured by the body and have to be obtained through your diet. That’s often tough to do in today’s fast-paced, fast-food world.”
Research also shows that EFA supplementation holds promise for the treatment of cancer and heart diseases, as well as skin ailments such as psoriasis and eczema.
Bioriginal has focused on science and clinical research since the decade-old union of its predecessor company, PGE Canada Ltd., with Vitality Health and Science Corp., an organization formed earlier by the Government of Saskatchewan to work with industry on opportunities for the health food industry.
Bioriginal’s scientists, who developed and patented manufacturing methods for processing dietary supplements made from seed oils, remain closely linked to the University of Saskatchewan and with the broader North American scientific community. Indeed, the company has received numerous government and industry awards over the years for entrepreneurship and research.
Bioriginal’s core market is the health and nutrition industry, and its products are found in virtually every health food store in North America and in every pharmacy in Canada. Other key markets are the U.S., Europe and Japan. The company has customers across six continents, and some 85 per cent of sales come from exports. While Bioriginal deals primarily with branded manufacturers in the areas of nutritional supplements, cosmetics, pet and veterinary products, pharmaceuticals, and functional foods, it also sells to every level of the supply chain.
When asked about Bioriginal’s success, Kulow says you never really turn that corner, that there’s always more you can do to achieve even greater success. “If I had to pinpoint when I began to have the greatest confidence in Bioriginal, it would be when we finally assembled the fantastic team we have today,” he says.
He points to their strong board of directors as well as to the company’s management team including: Don McGimpsey, vice-president of sales (the first employee Bioriginal hired and still considered by Kulow to be the best in the industry); Jerome Konecsni, vice-president, corporate development; Joe Vidal, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of the company’s North American operations; Jan Summerfeldt, director, administration and human resources (also with direct line responsibilities in operations); Shelagh Jamieson, director of marketing; and, Marcia Black, head of customer service.
“We have incredibly talented and hard-working employees – they’re a tremendous resource. Working together, they’re the ones who pull it all off.”
Kulow is equally enthusiastic about EDC, and advises exporting companies to work closely with its representatives in Canada and abroad.
“EDC performs a really valuable function,” he says. “For example, we had a potential account in the U.S. a few years back – a single owner of a network of companies – where it was impossible to assess the credit risk. EDC had the sophistication and know-how required to pierce the company’s veils and get us the information we needed to go forward confidently. EDC is very effective at this kind of thing, and without their help, Bioriginal wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Does Kulow have any other tips for exporters? “Visit potential customers face to face – don’t just meet them at the airport or at a hotel. Go to the company’s place of business and assess its cleanliness and the calibre of people that work there. Make sure you know exactly who you’re dealing with. It will save you endless time and headaches if you follow this advice,” he concludes.
*updated 2006.08.30 – EDC links/photos no longer available