Mitchell Family

The Mitchell family of Saskatoon has a longtime association with the meat processing industry in Saskatchewan. The founding of the family company, Mitchell's Gourmet Foods Inc. (formerly Intercontinental Packers Ltd.), can be traced to the early 1800s, when the Mendel family of Westphalia, Germany, opened a successful meat-packing business. Decades later, Robert Mendel started an international canned ham business, packing and selling his product across Europe and the United States. In 1940, Robert's son Fred Mendel left the family's European operations and imported the canned ham business to Saskatoon, where it later became Intercontinental Packers. Fred's daughter, Johanna Mitchell, was appointed director, and later president, of the new company. In 1976, Fred Mendel's grandson, Fred Mitchell, became the fifth generation to preside over the family company. Under his leadership Intercontinental Packers grew into one of the largest value-added pork processors in Canada. In 1986, Fred Mitchell launched the Mitchell's Gourmet Foods line of products; in 1998, Intercontinental Packers was renamed Mitchell's Gourmet Foods. That same year, Fred Mitchell passed away unexpectedly, leaving the company to his widow, LuAn Mitchell. LuAn led Mitchell's Gourmet Foods through a remarkable growth period, earning herself recognition as one of Canada's top female entrepreneurs. In 2002, LuAn sold her interest in the company to the Schneider Corporation.

Iain Stewart

Further Reading

Block, Sheri. 2004. “Mitchell-Halter Aims to pass on Secrets of Success,” Regina Leader-Post (March 8): B3.