Dare has been a proudly Canadian, family-owned company since 1889. Throughout our long history, we’ve created some of the most loved brands in the country including Bear Paws cookies, REALFRUIT gummies, Breton crackers, Melba Toast and many more. For 132 years, our head office has been based in the same region, but we’ve expanded our roots far beyond. With nine manufacturing plants and over 1400 employees, Dare is part of the fabric of Canada.
No matter how much we grow, we never forget our commitment to “good goods and honest dealing”. A promise our business was founded on over a century ago. It’s thanks to generations of our dedicated family and employees that Dare is able to deliver delicious, quality products, made better to meet the changing needs and expectations of Canadians.
After over 132 years, we’re more dedicated to producing innovative, high-quality food than ever. Manufactured in Canada and the United States, our range of cookies, crackers, fine breads and candy is available throughout North America and in more than 50 other countries around the world. And we’re not going anywhere. Dare plans to keep our family and production based right here in North America, where we began.
Take a journey through our history, starting with our humble roots as a grocery store to where we are today, this is our story.
Charles H. Doerr begins a tradition of favourites by producing and selling cookies and candies from his small grocery store in Kitchener (then, Berlin), Ontario, Canada. Thanks to a strong commitment to the motto “good goods and honest dealing,” it’s not long before these quality products replace sales of general merchandise in the Doerr store.
Now a manufacturing business distributing throughout the region, the C.H. Doerr Company incorporates and expands its baking and candy-making facilities.
Carl Doerr joins the company and learns the business from his grandfather, Charles. With the passing of the founder in 1941, Carl takes over the leadership of the company.
The company and family name are legally changed to “Dare” to ease pronunciation outside of the local community. The company starts to expand distribution to all regions of Canada.
Inspired by coffee packaging, Dare introduces chocolate chip cookies in a bag sealed with a “tin tie” strip, allowing consumers to reseal the bag and maintain freshness. It’s an immediate success and becomes the standard packaging for cookies in Canada.
Now a well-established name in all parts of Canada, Dare introduces its quality cookie products to the United States.
Dare’s flagship cracker brand, Breton, is introduced with extraordinary success! Within a few years, Breton and its companion brands, Cabaret and Vivant, are available across North America.
A fully automated soft candy plant is built in Milton, Ontario. Soon, Dare introduces its highly successful range of REALFRUIT gummies, which bring sophisticated European tastes in soft candy to North America for the first time.
Determined to grow as a truly North American food company, Dare constructs a new cracker bakery on a 33-acre greenfield site in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Iconic and popular chocolate-coated cookie favourites such as Whippet, Wagon Wheels and Viva Puffs joined the Dare family of products as an acquisition was made of Quebec-based Culinar in 2001. Dare also becomes Canada’s largest baker of Melba Toast and other fine breads, sold under the Boulangerie Grissol brand name.
Dare is chosen as the exclusive supplier of cookies for the Girl Guides
In response to growing consumer concerns over nut-based food allergies, Dare becomes one of North America’s first major food manufacturers to declare all of its manufacturing facilities “peanut-free”.
Dare takes Quebec-born brand Bear Paws nationwide for all Canadians to enjoy. Peanut-free, portable and perfect for kids!
Dare partners with Food Allergy Canada to support its leadership position in keeping parents informed and educated about foods that can cause allergic reactions in kids.
Dare partners with the Whole Grain Council. All Dare products with the Whole Grain symbol contain at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving.
Dare launches Canada’s first certified gluten-free cracker, endorsed by the Canadian Celiac Association, in response to the rising number of consumers looking to live gluten-free.
Dare acquires beloved gourmet cracker company lesley stowe raincoast crisps®. The original artisanal crisps – often imitated, but never duplicated. To this day, raincoast crisps® are baked in small batches at our bakery in Richmond, BC. The range has expanded to offer even more choice, without compromising on simple, premium ingredients and great taste.
Dare creates a new line of popped snacks called Veggie Crisps with vegetables as the first ingredient.
Dare celebrates its 125th anniversary of making food better for Canadian families. To commemorate the anniversary, Dare goes deep into the forests of Quebec to make a special batch of Ultimate Dare Maple Crème cookies as old as Dare itself.
After years of expansion, Dare outgrows its original head office and moves to a new home, still in the same region, on Cherry Blossom Road in Cambridge, Ontario.
Canadians say they want it all – a bold-flavoured snack that’s better for them. Dare delivers with a baked (never fried) snack that packs a serious punch!
Canadians want healthier treats for their kids and Dare delivers by putting a new spin on a classic combination. We make our Bear Paws Sandwich Crème cookies better with 45% less sugar than the leading sandwich crème cookie.
Dare acquires Madrona Specialty Foods, adding Croccantini® and Dolcetini® artisan flatbreads and cookies to the family. In keeping with family tradition, Dare preserves the original Italian recipe, baked with highest quality ingredients at our bakeries in Seattle, WA and Charlotte, NC.
Dare packs more nutrients into Bear Paws Veggies + Fruits - the first soft Bear Paws cookies with real veggies + fruits baked right in!
REALFRUIT gummies become a flavour explosion that doesn’t harm animals. The gummies adopt a new plant-based recipe without animal gelatin.
Dare Foods was founded on a commitment to honesty and respect for others. Integrity is a core value that we apply to everything we do.
Family and tradition mean everything to us. Since 1889, Dare Foods has remained a family-owned business producing innovative, high-quality snacks from our family to yours.
Quality is our highest priority. Starting with the best ingredients we are proud of every cookie, cracker, fine bread and candy that hits store shelves because quality is what we do.
We’ve been perfecting our craft for over 132 years thanks to our continued commitment to growth, innovation and change. When our consumer needs change, we change.
Dare Foods started as a local grocery store and now our range of products and snacks are enjoyed in more than 50 countries around the world. As we continue to grow and think globally, we never lose sight of our local mindset and roots.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria is a framework for measuring a company’s sustainability and its impact. At Dare Foods we are continually working towards more sustainable food products through three main pillars: Better Food, Better Community and Better Planet.
Our roots are Canadian, but we now produce our delicious range of cookies, crackers, fine breads and candy in facilities all over North America. No matter where we are, our bakeries and production are deeply focused on serving the communities we’re in by hiring locally and providing support for their efforts to improve and grow.