Government of Canada supports Barrie manufacturer’s recipe for success

News release

$500,000 for family-owned wholesale bakery to install leading-edge equipment and quadruple production

January 12, 2022 – Barrie, Ontario

Canada’s food and beverage producers are vital to our nation’s food security and economic stability. The Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), is committed to ensuring businesses have the tools they need to scale up and create new jobs and opportunities as communities continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, announced a $500,000 repayable contribution for Zappia Fine Foods Ltd., operating as Via Oliveto Bakery. This funding will allow the company to outfit its new Barrie facility with a leading-edge bakery production line, including a tunnel oven and mixer. With this support, Via Oliveto Bakery will quadruple its production, launch new products such as flatbread pretzels, and secure new contracts with large retailers. The contribution will leverage $1.5 million in private investment.

This family-owned and operated company began in 1988 when Pasquale Zappia started baking artisanal flatbreads from his home basement for Toronto-area hotels, restaurants and businesses. The company now employs four people and is expected to add two new jobs to its roster.

This expansion project will allow the wholesale bakery to pursue market growth opportunities and drive economic growth in the region. Rachel Zappia, manager of Via Oliveto Bakery, is from the M’Chigeeng First Nation and leads the company’s new inclusive hiring plan of Indigenous Peoples, which is a direct result of this funding.

Today’s announcement reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting Canadian businesses and stimulating job creation in our communities as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.


“With the Government of Canada’s investment, Via Oliveto Bakery will quadruple its production capacity at its new Barrie facility. This growth will have a direct economic impact in Barrie, including creating jobs, strengthening the local food sector and enabling the company to better serve its customers.”
- The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“We could not accomplish our goals of growth without this support from the Government of Canada. We look forward to increasing our capacity, adding new product lines, reaching new customers.”
- Pasquale Zappia, CEO, Via Oliveto Bakery

Quick facts

  • Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector is the largest in Canada—accounting for 37 percent of the industry’s revenue in the country. The sector has more than 4,000 establishments in the province, employing more than 95,000 people.

  • Since November 2015, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has invested over $57 million in almost 50 food production projects and nearly $480 million in almost 180 projects in the advanced manufacturing sector.

  • Canada’s regional development agencies continue to deliver targeted support for economic recovery in the region. Application intakes for the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative, Jobs and Growth Fund, Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative and Tourism Relief Fund are open in southern Ontario through FedDev Ontario.

Associated links


Jeffrey Woodland
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Allison Watson
Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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