Emperor Specialty Foods was founded in 1986 as a producer of fresh shiitake mushrooms. In 1993 Emperor began importing fresh product by air from China to supplement its continuing in-house production. Early on, fresh product was destined to local Safeway's and other Western Canadian retailers.
In 1995, a fundamental change took place when Emperor shut down its own production facility of fresh shiitake and focused exclusively on importing various fresh and dry mushrooms sourced locally and also imported from China.
1998 brought further change to the growing mushroom company by being the first Canadian company to routinely import containers of fresh mushrooms from China by ocean shipment. With larger inventories, distribution has expanded to cover regions all over Canada and some major retailers in the Northwest US.
In 2001 Emperor opened an office in China and began importing other fruits and vegetables for re-packing in its facility near Vancouver. The staff stationed in China are focused on developing new suppliers and products which has enabled rapid growth through product diversification.