A beloved Canadian brand: the Robin Hood Flour Company
FA Bean established the Robin Hood Flour Company in 1910. Over the century, the milling factory has become a recognized brand in Canadian kitchens.
The enormous stone grinding wheels turned with a grand noise. Pulverizing the wheat harvested from the farm fields, the substance was transformed from grain into flour. Texture of finest quality made baked goods a delight to the palate. The mill wheels were the machinery of Robin Hood® Flour Company, opened in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1910.
In 1909, the president of a successful flour mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota thought it was a fine time to open a mill in the Canadian Prairies. A year later, Frank Atherton Bean established a flour mill near the railway in the city of Moose Jaw. A city of 7,000 residents in 1910, Moose Jaw was Saskatchewan’s largest city. “To honour his new staff of 50 workers and 12 field salesmen, Bean held a gala banquet and a ‘christening ceremony’ where a barrel of wheat was turned out,” said the Robin Hood® Flour Company’s special page for the firm’s year-long 100th Anniversary celebrations. (No longer online.) ”Bean had it remodelled, and in less than two years it was producing over 1,600 barrels of flour a day.”
Marketing Robin Hood® Flour in 1920s
The Canadian economy boomed in the early 1920s, and the Robin Hood® Flour Company soared along with it. New president Charles Ritz made sure the public was well aware of the flour firm, attending exhibitions and fairs to display the products. “He also saw the importance of exporting flour and oats to struggling nations,” said the company site. Shipped from Vancouver, BC ports to points around the globe, the products were sent by the millions of tonnes over the next decade. The Canadian-milled flour was popular, admired for consistency in quality.
Generosity of Robin Hood® Flour Company
Exhibiting responsibility and concern for the welfare of Canadians and others in hardship, the firm launched several vital operations. During World War Two, the Robin Hood® Flour Company produced a radio show to brighten the spirits of Canadians. “On Parade,” exuded a game show atmosphere in which prizes were awarded to listeners.
After the war, Europeans were in crisis. Desperate shortages of the most basic of food supplies left many starving. Milling a type of flour called “G.R. Flour,” the Robin Hood® company sent thousands of tonnes overseas by ships. The company was also generous to Canadians in hardship, sending much-needed money and emergency supplies in 1950 to flood-ravaged families in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Flour Mill Expanded Product Lines
Transforming over the century, the logo began as an image of Robin Hood with his large bow and arrow drawn, ready to shoot. Eventually, the logo was simplified to a side view of Robin Hood in his green cap with a feather. The company enlarged their delicious product line, milling a number of flour types, including rye, whole wheat and rye graham, plus cake flour and the staple of all-purpose flour. Adding a variety of oat types and later mixes such as fruitcake, pie crusts, and cookies, the company was able to satisfy the taste-full requirements of Canadians.
Celebrating over 110 years of business success, the Robin Hood® Flour Company remains a constant in Canadian kitchens. The milling company is now part of Smucker Foods of Canada Corporation, located in Markham, Ontario. Robin Hood® Flour Company continually modernizes, their print, television and new media advertising now featuring “Elizabeth and Andrew,” and their mom, appealing characters to entice new young customers to the brand.
“History,” Robin Hood® Flour Company, Accessed September 30, 2010
Enjoy the delightful ad at: Memories,” Robin Hood Flour Company television advertisement, Hatch Studios, circa 2005.
This article first appeared on Suite101.com in October 2010. (C) Susanna McLeod