The Taste Your Future team spoke with Sarab Hans, President of Hans Dairy, about her family’s South Asian dairy company, why she loves her job, and tips for a successful career in the industry.
Let’s start with Hans Dairy.
Quality dairy products made by two sisters — Sarab and Mandeep Hans — with love, using only clean and natural ingredients.
Established in 1997, Hans Dairy is a family-owned South Asian dairy that makes products like smoothies, lassi, makhan, full cream milk, dahi and kheer with a South Asian taste profile of all natural ingredients. The company has a 100% natural philosophy, and all products are free of any artificial sugars, flavourings, colourings and preservatives. You can find these delicious products in Ontario and Quebec at select Coppa’s, Food Basics, Fortinos, FreshCo, Loblaws, Longo’s, Metro, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Sobeys, Valu-Mart, Walmart, Your Independent Grocer, Zehrs and other specialty grocery stores.
About Sarab Hans
Sarab took over the helm at Hans Dairy, from her father in 2006, after a career in banking and finance. She quickly realized that the food industry is tightly connected across the supply chain from farm through to retail grocery — and food and beverage manufacturers are sandwiched in the middle.
For businesses like Hans Dairy, this means having very little control over the cost of input ingredients and even less control over selling channels.
Manufacturing is also a process-intensive industry and Sarab admits to spending a full year working on the production floor to understand the technical, food safety and quality assurance aspects of the business. All key to success!
“My day is non-stop, and I love it! On any day I might be getting feedback from consumers on our new products, talking with our technical experts on process design, reviewing business financials or working with Mandeep on sales and marketing. Our 30+ employees are family.” Sarab Hans, CEO, Hans Dairy
What about skills and training at Hans Dairy?
No food company is identical in the equipment and processes they use – there is a learning curve at a new company no matter your job experience and education. Positions at Hans Dairy are available in production and management, and standard training for new hires includes reviewing GMPs, WHMIS training, health and safety, and use of personal protective equipment. Soft skills are also central to the company’s success. Employees work together collaboratively and within a team-based culture.
“When people join the team at Hans Dairy we want them to enjoy our culture. It feels like a family here, and this was always our main goal. It’s a family business, and it should feel like a family.”
At Hans Dairy, the typical hiring process includes Indeed and job banks or jobs posted at Humber College and Centennial. Humber has new immigrant programs which is a great way to connect with new Canadians.
What’s changed at Hans Dairy because of COVID?
With the Covid-19 global pandemic came the recognition that people working in the food and beverage industry are essential workers.
Hans Dairy used to rely on staffing agency for busy times, but they are no longer doing that, in order to minimize number of different people coming and going. They now have more permanent employees, instead of using temporary workers from an agency.
Sarab and her sister Mandeep took a lot of time to speak with employees during the early days of Covid-19 to make certain everyone understood how important and protected they are. There was a huge increase in the use of PPE and lots of planning and protocols for a safe work environment. The team culture at Hans Dairy has ensured success — with employees adapting to changes in the workplace and staying positive and motivated.