Droog, Dr. Thomas Wilhelmus - 2012 Hall of Fame Inductee

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From the beginning, Tom and his late wife Emmy Droog approached farming with a keen eye for business. While they quickly mastered the art of farming, Tom disagreed with the role of the Canadian Wheat Board and decided to grow an alternate crop that he could market himself. Tom and Emmy were the first in North America to produce flavoured sunflower and pumpkin seeds snacks, called Spitz, and the first to sell these snacks in re-sealable bags. Tom also contracted directly with southern Alberta farmers and worked very closely with them to build their capacity and helped to ensure their enterprises were profitable. Spitz became the number one selling sunflower seed in Canada capturing over 75 per cent of the Canadian market. Spitz was also sold in 42 states and became the number three selling brand in the U.S. In 2008, the company was sold to PepsiCo, but remains an Alberta-based business. Tom Droog was at the forefront of the value-added trend in agriculture, which is based on the ability to adapt in the face of new challenges. Tom’s innovative approach to business made him a leader, with increased value coming from improved production, marketing and processing strategies.

Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame main page

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This information published to the web on September 17, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on September 20, 2012.