( Oppenheimer Group )

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group is celebrating 160 years of business while keeping the future in sharp focus. 

With its roots as a firm supplying fortune seekers bound for the Cariboo Gold Rush, Oppy is celebrating its 160th anniversary this month as a leading international fresh produce marketing company, according to a news release.

The firm is now part of Ireland-based Total Produce. Total Produce increased its stake in British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group to 65% in 2017, up from a 35% stake acquired in 2013.

“We’re blessed with the enormous amount of perspective 160 years in business gives a company,” John Anderson, Oppy chairman president and CEO said in the release. “We’ve had a front row seat to world events, and participated in the initiatives that shaped our industry.” 

Looking ahead, Anderson said the company is focusing on addressing the digital shopping trend, developing sustainable innovations across the supply chain, and driving sales through trade and consumer data and insights.

“Oppy made its mark in fresh produce when we imported the first easy-peel, seedless mandarin oranges from Japan in 1891,” Anderson said in the release. “Now that sweet, seedless oranges are in virtually everyone’s shopping cart, it’s gratifying to reflect on our long-ago contribution to the huge popularity of seedless citrus today, but also recognize that there are endless new possibilities out there.”

Anderson said the company has played a big role in introducing granny smith, royal gala, braeburn, Pacific Rose, Jazz and Envy apples to North America, and also helped build the market for green kiwifruit in Canada and gold kiwifruit across North America. 

The thirst for innovation continues, he said.

“We are challenging ourselves to present solutions that satisfy shoppers’ needs, achieve positive results for retailers and growers, or differentiate in a way that drives profitability across the supply chain,” he said in the release, pointing to Oppy’s recently launched Ocean Spray Family-Farmer Owned berry brand as an example of this holistic approach. “We’re constantly exploring what’s next, be it exciting new grape varieties from Chile, new types of apples, kiwifruit or tomatoes, or a pack that fills a niche — always striving for high quality, safety and an enjoyable eating experience.”