Beaverton Foods Keeps Adding to its Recipe for Growth

Published Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Beaverton Foods is known in the specialty foods industry for innovative flavors, but the almost 90-year-old family business’s success involves more than the ability to mix ingredients. The condiment maker also has shown acumen at embracing change to help the business and surrounding community grow.

Rose Biggi started the company in her Beaverton farmhouse in 1929, during the Great Depression, with a single product – horseradish sauce. Today, the company has 150 products sold under six brands: Beaver, Inglehoffer, Napa Valley, Charlie’s Salsa, Tulelake and Pacific Farms. All the products are condiments – curry mustard and Japanese mustard are two of the newest – and most are hot and spicy.

As the company’s product line has expanded, so has its reach. Beaverton Foods condiments can be found throughout the United States and in 12 foreign countries, generating about $26 million a year in annual revenue. At the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show earlier this year, CEO Domonic Biggi said he wants his company to be known for innovation. Based on the long list of awards – including a prestigious James Beard Award – it has received for its products, Beaverton Foods has achieved that goal.

Beaverton Foods, a member of Oregon Business & Industry (OBI), could be part of a better-known national brand. At least twice, the Biggi family turned down offers from larger food producers, according to a 2014 article in The Oregonian. Instead of selling, the family invested in a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, moving there from Beaverton in 2001. The Oregon economy and the communities near its headquarters and plant have benefited from that decision.

In addition to building its Hillsboro facility, where about 80 people work, the Biggi family has invested in equipment to create a cleaner, safer and more efficient product process, adjusted its product line to matching consumer tastes and contributed to a range of community events and organizations, including the Police Activities League, Washington County Museum, Oregon Food Bank and Oregon Humane Society.

The company has been recognized by Clean Water Services, a public water resources management utility in Washington County, for a perfect annual compliance record four times.

Throughout the changes, the company has remained true to its roots. The fourth generation of Biggis now is involved in the company. The company has bought most of its horseradish from the same California farm in the Klamath Basin for 60 years. Earlier this year, the family married the past and present by opening the popular BG Food Cartel food cart pod on Rose Biggi Avenue in the heart of Beaverton.

Even successful companies in growing industries face challenges, so the Biggis and Beaverton Foods will continue to innovate while remaining committed to their communities. In response to questions from OBI, Dominic Biggi pointed to food safety and nutrition education as two areas of growing importance in the specialty foods business.

Like many manufacturers, Beaverton Foods also has to work harder to find workers in today’s tight labor market. Despite offering medical benefits, a 401(k) and strong safety record, it has to rely on temporary agencies to help it meet staffing needs, Biggi said. But the track record suggests that Beaverton Foods will endure through changes in economic conditions and consumer tastes.