Canadian Grocer - May 2019

Page 1

Inside McEwan’s new chef-driven Toronto store





Green Grocer Peter van Stolk on spud’s sustainability strategy


2019 TRANSIT • Max. cargo space of 487.2 cu ft (13,795L)* • Max. payload of 4,640 lbs^ • Max. GVWR of 10,360 lbs^

Vehicles may by shown with optional features. *Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and weight distribution. ^ When properly equipped. ©2019 Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved.


May 2019



Sustainability stories from spud, Save-On-Foods and Unboxed Market


05 Front Desk 18 Shopper Sense 20 Eating in Canada 22 Consumer Shifts 62 Checking Out PEOPLE

06 The Buzz


Comings and goings, store openings, awards, events, etc.


08 Josh Domingues

Meet the food waste-fighting founder of Flashfood

32  Step inside Toronto’s


newest McEwan store

11 Ending the plastic age

See what grocers are doing to curb plastic in their operations


14 Waste opportunity

Upcycled foods have the potential to take a bite out of food waste. Will consumers get on board?

37  Check out the 114

finalists that made the cut for the rcc’s annual new product awards

Volume 133 Number 3

15 Show stoppers


A roundup of cool products spotted at cpma 2019 and Grocery & Specialty Food West

17 Greener fleets

How sustainable transportation is becoming a bigger priority for retailers



57 Pushing plants

The plant-based trend is here to stay. How can grocers make the most of this growing category?

59 Top that!

What’s hot and what’s not in condiments? New Nielsen data reveals all

60 Snacks from the sea


Seafood-based munchies are starting to make waves

37 FOLLOW US ON @CanadianGrocer Canadian Grocer Magazine @CanadianGrocerMagazine May 2019 Canadian Grocer


Club House Organics – available now in a wide range of Herbs & Spices and Seasoning Mixes, making it easier than ever to create organic dishes that are packed full of delicious flavour!

® Reg. TM/MD McCormick Canada

BBQ Rubs New Larger Format STUBBSBBQ.COM

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Jennifer Litterick


Michael Cronin


Shellee Fitzgerald


Carol Neshevich


Kristin Laird


Josephine Woertman


George H. Condon


Derek Estey


Michael Kimpton


Alexandra Voulu


Lina Trunina

Unboxed Market is Toronto’s new (and first) zero-waste grocery store


Valerie White


Vanessa Peters


Chantal Barlow



It’s not easy being green, but more and more grocers are realizing it’s a necessary pursuit

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WE’VE ALL HEARD the grim reports: 60% of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted; plastic pollution is choking our oceans; and greenhouse gas emissions are warming up the earth at a rapid clip. Add it all up and it’s very bad news for the planet. Calls for all of us to take meaningful action to mend our wasteful ways are getting louder and more urgent. But change is hard and mitigating environmental damage and creating truly sustainable businesses will require much effort, collaboration and creative new ways of thinking. The encouraging news is we’re seeing many examples of this in the retail food industry. Last month, Walmart Canada joined Project Gigaton, an initiative launched by Walmart Inc. in 2017 that aims to reduce emissions in its global supply chains by one gigaton (one billion metric tons) by 2030. More than 200 of Walmart’s Canadian suppliers have signed on to the effort. In this, our “Green Issue,” we have many more sustainability stories to inform and, hopefully, inspire. On page 8, for instance, we meet Flashfood founder Josh Domingues,

who is tackling food waste with an app that connects grocers offering steep discounts on food approaching its best-before date to consumers seeking a deal. We also look at the contentious issue of plastic and what grocers are doing to curb its use (page 11). And we visit Unboxed Market, Canada’s newest zero-waste grocery store, and talk to Save-On-Foods’ Darrell Jones about the Western chain’s food waste diversion strategy. Finally, reporter Rebecca Harris takes us into the world of spud (page 46), a grocer that considers sustainability in every decision it makes—from its new ReFresh packaging waste reduction program to its Food-X sustainable delivery platform (which it is happily sharing with other retailers). As spud ceo Peter van Stolk tells Harris: “We can make incredible changes, and we can do incredible things.”

Shellee Fitzgerald Editor-in-Chief

The grocery industry is changing rapidly. Keep up to date on the latest news by signing up for our e-newsletter. It’s free and we’ll deliver it to your inbox three times a week. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.


May 2019 Canadian Grocer



The latest news in the grocery biz


The new 2,800-sq.-ft. Sunterra Market in Calgary partnered with District Ventures to showcase products developed by the business accelerator

Sunterra Market has teamed up with Arlene Dickinson’s District Ventures to launch a unique grocery concept in Calgary. The 2,800-sq.-ft. Sunterra Market and Café, which debuted in March, operates in a space adjacent to District Ventures and features about two dozen food and beverage products developed by the business accelerator. According to Sunterra, which has eight markets in Alberta, the partnership is win-win as it gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to test new products while also boosting the store’s lineup of local goods. “What we needed was a way to connect the innovation to the commercialization, because that hasn’t ever happened in this country,” Dickinson told Canadian Grocer at the market’s grand opening. “To me, success is going to be that feedback Sunterra will provide to our entrepreneurs almost immediately; uptake on the product, feedback on pricing, packaging, ingredients. That immediate retail feedback is very difficult to get.” SOBEYS has opened a new CHALO FRESHCO in Brampton, Ont. Chalo FreshCo offers a wider assortment of South Asian products than the retailer’s other banners. The new location is fourth Chalo FreshCo in the Greater Toronto Area.


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

Toronto has its first zero-waste grocery store. Located on Dundas St., west of the city’s downtown core, UNBOXED MARKET had its grand opening in early March. The compact, 1,500-sq.-ft. store features a café (bring your own mug!), butcher counter, hot food bar, cheese counter, fresh produce, groceries and a large re-fill station for cleaning products. (Read more on page 50.)


AWARDS  Mann Packing Co.’s Caulilini Sweet Stem Cauliflower took home the Best New Product Award at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association show in Montreal recently. Pictured at the award presentation (L to R): Carol Neshevich, Canadian Grocer; Jeff Freeman, Mann Packing; Ron Lemaire, cpma; Les Mallard, cpma Chair/Fyffes; Vanessa Peters, Canadian Grocer; and Ben Alviano, Mann Packing

SAVE-ON-FOODS continues its expansion in the West with a new store in Dawson Creek, B.C. The store, which opened in mid-April, offers an extensive selection of local and organic items as well as a large bulk department, made-in-store meal solutions and an in-store pharmacy.



The  Summer Fancy Food Show  will take place from June 23 to June 25 at New York City’s Javitz Center. For info, visit Chicago’s McCormick place will host   Global­Shop 2019  from June 25 to June 27. Visit for details. The Canadian Health Food Association’s  chfa East  conference and trade show runs from Sept. 12 to 15. For details visit  Groceryshop  2019 returns to

Las Vegas, taking place at the Venetian hotel Sept. 15 to 18. Visit for more information. The  dci & cfig ­Charity Golf Classic will take place on Sept. 16 at Crosswinds Golf & Country Club in Burlington, Ont. Visit distri­ for details.


Canadian Grocer’s


star women awards breakfast will take

place on Sept. 18 at Toronto’s International Centre. Make sure to check out our next issue (June/July) where we reveal our 2019 Star Women in Grocery Winners.

Alain Champagne

Metro has announced that FRANÇOIS J. COUTU is retiring from his role as president of Jean Coutu Group, Metro’s pharmacy division, at the end of May, although he will remain a member of the company’s board of directors and keep ownership of three pharmacies. ALAIN CHAMPAGNE

will succeed Coutu as president.

Martin Parent

Carl Colizza

MARTIN PARENT has been named president of Mondelez Canada. Parent is a food industry veteran and most recently was president and CEO of Ultima Foods.

Saputo has made some changes to its senior management team. CARL COLIZZA has been appointed president and chief operating officer, North America at the Quebec-based dairy

Cheryl Smith

giant and FRANK GUIDO has been named president and chief operating officer of the company’s dairy division. CHERYL SMITH is leaving her role as divisional general manager of Parmalat Canada in June. Smith, a CPG veteran, joined the company in 1999 and became part of its executive team in 2006.

Bill Ivany

Tree of Life Canada has announced some leadership changes. BILL IVANY is now president of the specialty food company. Ivany succeeds longtime president JAMIE MOODY who has taken on the role of vice-chairman of the Tree of Life Canada Advisory Board.


Who you need to know

The Facts Who:

Josh Domingues Position: ceo and founder

of Flashfood What’s new?

Partnering with Loblaw brands Maxi and Provigo in Quebec

THE FAST AND THE FRESH Toronto’s Josh Domingues is taking on the mounting food waste problem, one purchase at a time By Carolyn Cooper Photography by Nikki Ormerod




hen josh domingues

learned $31 billion worth of food—35.5 million tonnes— is wasted in Canada each year, while more than 850,000 Canadians rely on food banks and one in eight families live with food insecurity, he knew he had to do something. Encouraged by his sister, a chef, to dig deeper into the issue of food waste, Domingues uncovered more startling facts. “The statistic that really changed my life was, ‘If international food waste were a country, it would be the third-leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions behind the U.S. and China,’” he says. “When food gets thrown out it ends up in a landfill, it gets covered with garbage, and when it rots it doesn’t have any oxygen, and produces methane gas,” explains Domingues. “It started me thinking about how much the average grocery store throws out, and I found that it’s anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 in food a day. That [wasted] food is anywhere from two days to weeks before its sell-by date.” All this would prompt Domingues—a former chl hockey player who was working as a financial management consultant for professional hockey players at the time—to switch career paths in 2016 and launch Flashfood. The free mobile app connects grocers offering discounts on perishable food with consumers looking for ways to stretch their food dollars. “We’ve basically taken the discount rack and put it on your phone,” says Domingues, adding that the aim is to offer a triple-win situation for grocers, consumers and the environment. “We want to reduce food waste, so we want to partner with grocers to help them reduce their shrink while providing consumers with significant discounts on their food,” he says, “and we want to do that with as many partners in as many countries as we can.” Once consumers download the Flashfood app to their smartphone, they can browse participating grocers’ fresh food items (uploaded daily and usually discounted 30% to 50%), make the purchase online, and pick up their groceries

in-store at a Flashfood Zone refrigerator. The average online sale is $10 to $15, while shoppers typically spend one to two times that on other in-store goods. As of this spring, the Flashfood app had been downloaded approximately 80,000 times, and Domingues says more than 75% of the groceries available on the app have been sold, diverting more than 50,000 pounds of food from landfill. “We’ve given operators a simple opportunity to drive new customers in and make more money, and we’re taking away the excuse for dumping tons of food every week,” he adds. Since officially launching in 2017, Flashfood has worked on pilot projects with grocers such as Longo’s and Farm Boy; while those didn’t all result in longterm partnerships, the company has received numerous accolades (including Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next award, which Domingues won in 2017). The founder admits there were hurdles to overcome. “Our biggest challenge initially was that some operators were looking at [Flashfood] as a threat, because they thought that it would make it look like they weren’t ordering optimally and moving product through efficiently,” he says. “But the reality is that this is such a difficult problem that no matter how good your ordering, shrink is always going to be an issue at grocery stores.” While Domingues believes the Canadian grocery industry has been slower to embrace digital technology than in the United States—where Flashfood is currently doing trials with retailers such as Hy-Vee and Target—he does see that changing. In February, for instance, Flashfood announced a partnership with Loblaw, which included a rollout at 140 of Loblaw’s Maxi and Provigo stores in Quebec. Flashfood also announced it had received an investment from U.S. venture capital company General Catalyst, allowing it to grow from eight to 21 employees and expand its reach. “We have an opportunity as a grocery industry to be the leading country in the world for dealing with food waste,” says Domingues. “We all have a responsibility to do better at solving this problem.”  CG

JOSH DOMINGUES What do you enjoy most about working in the food industry?

Food brings people together, and people in the food industry like to sit down together and break bread; it’s such a personable industry. At the end of the day it’s also cool that people are providing for others.

What is the secret to success for you?

We’re not just building some marketing optimization technology—we’re reducing food waste and making food more affordable for people who need it. So, success for me is getting more partnerships and making this happen for more people.

What are the biggest rewards to being an entrepreneur?

Seeing our team develop and having people come along with you for the ride. People are choosing to dedicate a portion of their careers to following this vision, so seeing them grow with you is very rewarding.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Tell everyone your idea when you first have it. You’ll get a lot of different viewpoints, and smart people will poke holes in it. It will make your idea better and allow you to really gauge whether what you’re doing has legs.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I played hockey a big portion of my life at high levels, so I still get on the ice every few weeks.

May 2019 Canadian Grocer





Retailers, suppliers, shoppers, insights



Ending the plastic age Grocers are big contributors of plastic waste, but efforts are underway to curb its use By Chris Powell


t doesn’t matter if it’s a small independent or a major banner, a neighbourhood market or a sprawling supercentre—single-use plastic products are ubiquitous in the modern grocery shopping experience. From the flimsy clear bags that hold our apples to the plastic containers for everything from shampoo to ketchup, to the plastic bags we use to carry purchases home, grocery stores are a big contributor to the plastic waste that fills our oceans and landfills.

Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy and senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, says plastics have become “enemy No. 1” in recent years, and grocers are struggling to find quick fixes to the problem. The good news is the grocery industry has begun rolling out programs specifically intended to curb plastic waste: • Last year, U.S. grocery chain Kroger announced plans to phase out single-use plastic bags by 2020. The country’s May 2019 Canadian Grocer


IDEAS largest grocery chain is said to hand out as many as 100 billion plastic bags each year. • The U.K. chain Morrisons has banned single-use plastic bags and allows customers to bring reusable containers for meat and fish. • Trader Joe’s is attempting to eliminate one million pounds of plastic waste from its network of stores by eliminating single-use plastic bags, reducing the amount of produce sold in plastic packaging, and replacing single-use Styrofoam packaging with recyclable packaging. • Iceland, a U.K. chain, is giving customers a voucher (worth about 18 cents) for each plastic bottle deposited in one of its reverse vending machines. According to reports, about 310,000 bottles were deposited at four stores in the program’s first six months, leading it to extend the program for another half-year. Similar initiatives are underway in Canada. Last month, Metro announced it would allow customers at its Quebec stores to use refillable containers at its deli, ready-to-eat meals, fish/seafood and pastry counters, part of a company-wide effort to reduce plastic waste. Walmart Canada, too, has pledged to reduce plastic waste through a new charter introduced earlier this year that includes reducing plastic bags by 50% by 2025 (a move that would take approximately one billion bags out of circulation); eliminating single-use plastic straws; and achieving 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for all of its private-label products by 2025. Ted Ferguson, president of the consultancy Delphi Group, says Canadian grocers have been “very progressive” in their attempts to curb plastic waste, which has led to changes in customer behaviour. He points to the growing use of reusable shopping bags as one example. “It’s really changed something that was a huge convenience,” says Ferguson. “We have proven that retailers can take a leadership role and change behaviour without alienating their customers.” But despite their efforts, Ferguson says grocers are still at the mercy of suppliers when it comes to the abundance of single-use plastics. “It’s going to get more complicated for retailers to go to the next level, because it’s going to require collaboration with the companies they’re selling the products for,” he says. “It’s out of their control in some sense, but they’re selling the product, so they


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

have to assume some responsibility.” Some big manufacturers are tackling the problem head-­on. Earlier this year, companies including P&G and Unilever announced they had joined a new e-commerce program developed by recycling leader TerraCycle called Loop, where customers receive products such as ice cream, mayonnaise, laundry detergent and shampoo in reusable containers. Introducing the program, Unilever described it as a 21st-century reboot of the 1950s milk man. Smaller chains such as Organic Garage are also working to reduce single-use plastics. President Matt Lurie says the company has eliminated all bagged apples with the exception of royal gala, as well as a long list of bagged produce items including lemons, oranges, clementines, garlic and ginger. The chain has also stopped putting celery in plastic bags, and is considering discontinuing grape tomatoes in clamshell containers, instead selling them loose. “The changes we have made are definitely more proactive,” says Lurie, “because we believe in our role as environmental leaders and will continue to demonstrate to our customers the highest regard for sustainability.” Sarah Dobec, marketing manager for The Big Carrot in Toronto, says her stores are currently tackling the “low-hanging fruit” when it comes to single-use plastics, such as phasing out clear plastic bags in the produce department. One of the bigger challenges, she says, is addressing single-use plastic in its growing grab-and-go business. The Big Carrot has incorporated both recycled plastic and a compostable material called pla in its grab-and-go containers. Consumer awareness of plastic waste has also led to a recent rise in zero-waste stores, but Dobec says it’s difficult for established entities like The Big Carrot to completely change the way they operate. The Big Carrot tried to implement a strict no-bag policy, for example, but discovered the move was “too much of a leap” for many customers. Charlebois says real change will require customers to sacrifice some of the convenience afforded by single-use plastic products. “We have been spoiled by convenience for many years, and only time will tell if many of us are willing to let go of our quest for the easy fixes plastics provide,” he says.


The next disruptor THERE WAS MUCH hubbub about recreational cannabis when Canada made it legal last fall. Now, attention has turned to edibles and their market potential when they become legal this October. At a talk at the Grocery and Specialty Food West show recently, Carman Allison, Nielsen’s VP of consumer insights, told attendees cannabis would be the next disruptor. “It’s one of these things that’s continuing to evolve and it’s really going to shape our industry,” he said. He went on to advise: “Even though you’re not in this space and you have no plans to get into it, you’ve got to pay attention to what’s happening because it is potentially going to impact some other categories as well.” Here are a few key findings from Nielsen’s research on the subject:


of Canadian adults have legally consumed cannabis

thc vs cbd: thc (19%) is the leading format

among those who have legally consumed cannabis, and 11% have consumed cbd (9% are using more than one format)


potentially impacted by cannabis: Baked goods, snacks, confectionery, odour control products and food storage containers may see growth says Nielsen; however, adult beverages, pet foods, supplements and tobacco/vape and related products may not





Legacy, Crosstrek, Outback, Impreza: on models with EyeSight® & specific headlights. Ascent: on models with specific headlights.







5 years in a row



98.3% of our vehicles sold in Canada over the last 10 years are still on the road today.


And for the 5th consecutive year, ALG named Subaru as the Top Mainstream Brand for Residual Value. The numbers speak for themselves. They are proof of Subaru’s reliability. We know there’s a lot to consider when looking for a fleet vehicle to fit your company’s needs. So add low cost of ownership, responsible engineering, legendary safety and capability features into the equation. You’ll find out that Subaru is always a great solution.

Visit us at 1. Safety ratings are awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Please visit for testing methods. 2. ALG named Subaru the Top Mainstream Brand for Residual Value in the 2019 Canadian Residual Value Awards. ALG is the benchmark for residual value projections in North America, publishing residual values for all vehicles in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit 3. Based on IHS Markit Vehicles in Operation as of June 30, 2018 for Model Years 2009 to 2018 vs Total New Registrations of those vehicles.



Waste opportunity A new category of foods created from discarded ingredients is emerging that has the potential to take a bite out of food waste. But will consumers get on board? By Danny Kucharsky

UPCYCLING, A TRENDY new word for an old idea, is a solution that can help take a bite out of our massive food waste problem, say its supporters. The process, which involves transforming the leftovers from food manufacturing into value-added products, is nothing new. After all, it’s been used to make everything from hot dogs to whey. But it’s catching on with a number of startups that are saving potentially wasted ingredients from the bin and turning them into upcycled foods. Upcycling “is here to stay because it is really not rocket science. It’s just about using all parts of the product, if possible,” says Jonathan Deutsch, a professor at the Center for Food and Hospitality Management at Drexel University in Philadelphia, who has been studying consumer acceptance of this new category of foods created from discarded ingredients. Not only does upcycling allow manufacturers

to increase efficiency and make money from food byproducts that may have gone to waste, but consumers are also receptive to the idea, Deutsch says. When consumers are given brief messaging about the value of reducing food waste, “they are much more likely to choose the upcycled product and will even pay more for some product categories than conventional foods,” Deutsch says. Drexler’s research has found that consumers believe upcycled foods are more beneficial to the environment than conventional foods. Drexel researchers are now exploring the creation of a third-party certification for upcycled foods that would give consumers confidence in food quality and help market the products. Deutsch cautions that upcycling can only put a dent into food waste since a lot of food loss occurs at consumers’ homes. Still, “millions of tons of food


From beer to banana snacks – some examples of upcycling in action:


Barnana turns rejected bananas and plantains (those with scuffs, an imperfect size or are a little too ripe) into flavourful organic snacks in the form of chips, brittle and banana bites.


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

Been A Slice

This “beer brought back from the bread” is made from bread nearing its best-before date. Second Harvest worked with a Toronto brewery and a bakery on the ale.

Rubies in the Rubble

Aquafaba is the proteinrich water left over from cooking chickpeas. Here, it’s upcyled into a into a creamy vegan mayo.

ReGrained The folks at ReGrained take spent grains from the beer brewing process and turn them into SuperGrain+ flour that is used in all of its bars, such as the Honey Cinnamon IPA Immunity Bar (pictured above).


can be upcycled in a very tangible way.” “Most consumers are interested in products that are better for them and better for the planet and taste great. The upcycled category really checks all those boxes, when it’s done well,” says Dan Kurzrock, co-founder of San Francisco-­ based upcycler ReGrained. The company uses a proprietary method to turn spent grain from local brewers into a flour called SuperGrain+ that is high in protein and fibre. ReGrained sells three flavours of granola bars made from SuperGrain+ in about 1,000 outlets on the U.S. West Coast. A line of salty snacks is also coming out this summer. The granola bars serve as a calling card and “an educational vehicle to talk about this new grain” to potential supply chain partners, Kurzrock says, noting ReGrained is doing development work with pasta maker Barilla and other multinational CPG companies on a broad array of potential applications—from pasta and pizza crusts to crackers and chips. Last year, Jonathan Rodrigue launched Stillgood, a Montreal company that takes spent grain from craft brewers and juice pulp from fresh juice companies and upcycles them into bars and cookies. Stillgood’s cookies and bars are sold in some IGA (Sobeys) and Metro stores, independent grocers and zero-waste markets either in bulk or with 100% compostable packaging. “I realized there were a lot of local companies that were not upcycling or not composting, that did not have any alternatives for their byproducts,” says Rodrigue, the former development director at the food bank Moisson Montreal. “Food waste is a global problem, which, in my opinion, is something that needs to be tackled locally.” Rodrigue believes the future of the food manufacturing business lies in upcycling. “In a world where you have one-third of the food produced going to waste, there’s no way the industry can just continue like this.” He also sees grocers benefiting from upcycling. A Jumbo supermarket in the Dutch town of Wageningen has already begun selling a line of products made from food waste, and it is reporting that sales have surpassed expectations. “I see upcycling in the same place organic or vegan foods were 10, 15 years ago,” Rodrigue says. “I think we’re in the beginning of a new category of foods.”



There were many innovations on display last month at Grocery & Specialty Food West in Vancouver and at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention & Trade show in Montreal. Here are just a few of the products that stood out. Martin’s Saladitions Made from a mix of dehydrated apples along with other dried ingredients like sweet potatoes, beets, onions and pumpkin seeds, Martin’s Saladitions salad toppers come in three varieties: Crunchy Harvest Mix, Citrus Pepper Blend, and Zesty Fruit Medley. Epic Provisions Egg White Protein Bars (General Mills) Available in flavours such as Peanut Butter Chocolate, Almond Butter Chocolate, and Lemon, Epic Provisions has expanded beyond meat-based snacks to introduce a line of protein bars featuring cage-free egg whites. Giorgio’s Savory Wild Portabella Jerky This new product combines the plantbased and jerky trends all in one tasty snack. Available in three flavours: Roasted Garlic & Black Pepper; Sesame, Ginger & Korean Chili; and Sweet Balsamic & Golden Fig. Salt Spring Kitchen Co.’s Candied Jalapenos The Candied Jalapenos from B.C.’s

Salt Spring Kitchen Co. are spicy/ sweet preserves that can be used to top sandwiches or burgers, mixed into omelettes or added to a cheese or charcuterie plate.

May 2019 Canadian Grocer


© 2019 Penske. All Rights Reserved.

Delays not only hurt your reputation, they also damage your bottom line. It’s why we’re dedicated to getting perishable products to market quickly and efficiently. All so you can keep your promises and your profits. It’s how we deliver confidence. Learn more at

IDEAS Walmart Canada is aiming to convert 20% of its fleet to electric by 2022


Grocers gear up to green their fleets


Making transportation more sustainable in their operations is becoming a bigger priority for retailers  By Rosalind Stefanac AT A TIME WHEN grocers are making efforts to be more sustainable store-wide, retailers large and small are recognizing that reducing their carbon impact on the road has to be just as big a priority. A key reason why is being fuelled by government. Canada’s carbon tax is already impacting current transportation fleets, and with the federal government’s goal to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030, more incentives to minimize pollution could be coming. In the meantime, countries like the United Kingdom are taking more drastic measures to preserve the environment. In April, the United Kingdom implemented clean air zones in London (with more cities to follow) where drivers of polluting cars are charged up to £100 (about $170) to enter the area. Two years after both Loblaw and Wal­ mart announced major plans to convert their fleets to electric and hybrid varieties to reduce carbon emissions, the retail giants remain committed to making good on their word. “As one of Canada’s largest energy users, given the size and scope of our retail network and supply chain, we know we have a critical role to play in helping Canada reach its carbon reduction targets,” says Wayne Scott, Loblaw’s senior director transport maintenance. Although the grocer is still waiting on

pre-orders of electric trucks from a variety of suppliers, Scott says he is optimistic the first deliveries will happen this year. Loblaw is also working with technology providers on alternative energy products to reduce diesel emissions, adds Scott. “For example, we’re now trialling generators that will run off the trucks’ power, which eliminates the need for the diesel engine to run in the refrigerated trailer while it’s driving,” he says. “We also have a number of trucks on the road with solar panels on the roof to power electric air conditioning units, and internal power in sleeper cabs.” John Bayliss, senior vice-president of logistics at Walmart Canada, says the company is well on its way to converting 20% of its fleet to electric vehicles by 2022. The retailer has also committed to alternative power for all its fleet vehicles by 2028. “Walmart Canada is putting sustainability at the forefront of our logistics network,” he says. Walmart recently announced plans to acquire 30 additional Tesla 18-wheeler semi-trucks to add to its original order, in November 2017, of 10 trucks. With a total of 40 trucks, Walmart will have one of the largest electrified fleets planned by any company in Canada. In the meantime, smaller retailers like B.C.’s Save-On-Foods, which has already

implemented various programs to reduce food waste and save energy, says greening its transportation methods is “absolutely” on the radar. Given that sustainability is top of mind for consumers, retailers big and small have to recognize this is an issue that’s important to their shoppers too, says Jason Peattie, director of sales and marketing at chep Canada, which helps companies improve efficiencies around their supply chains. “Independents are close to their local markets so sustainability is especially relevant,” he says. “Even from a marketing perspective, greening your fleet is a good news story.” Over the last five to seven years, Peattie says he has seen a change in mindset from hesitancy and fear of costs involved in greening a fleet, to a realization that doing so will be the most cost-effective way to do business. “As we continue to digitize the physical network and gain more visibility on how products move, it will give us even more insight on how to drive better decisions too.” In fact, he says retailers not already exploring greener transportation options for the future risk being left behind. “We are really at the tipping point where [technologies] are becoming available and that will drive change down the supply chain very quickly,” he says.  CG May 2019 Canadian Grocer



Carman Allison

FMCG AND THE ONLINE OPPORTUNITY As they gain momentum online, opportunities abound for fast-moving consumer goods. Success will come down to understanding what makes consumers tick TODAY, FOUR billion people (53% of the global population) are connected to the internet, and nearly all of them (92.6%) connect using their mobile devices. And these consumers are spending more time, with increasing frequency, on an expanded range of diverse digital activities. It is undisputed that internet accessibility, mobile technology and digital innovations are redefining consumers’ every interaction, and will continue to enable and disrupt many aspects of consumers’ lifestyles as well as retail stores well into the future. Connectivity today brings the convenience of hassle-free shopping—anytime, anywhere. At no point in time could this be more apt than now, considering the merging of multiple factors that are impacting the complexity of consumers’ lives, as well as shaping new-found shopping experiences. In 2019, online retail trailblazer Amazon will turn 25 years old. It is easy to overlook that e-commerce is still in a nascent stage, despite considerable advances in online retail subscriptions, augmented and virtual reality services, personalized advertising, mobile-connected payments, and experimental drone delivery. With continued technological innovation, e-commerce growth is expected to outpace that of traditional brick-andmortar formats for years to come. And, the number of Canadian consumers who are connected and making online


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

purchases will continue to multiply as newly connected consumers enter the online retail environment. Today’s consumers are looking for e-commerce options for an increasing range of grocery categories, as their more immediate needs for ease and convenience expand. The availability of suppliers, quality products, broader assortment, competitive pricing, alternative fulfilment and delivery, payment options, simpler website/application interfaces and increasing user trust and confidence are all aligning to entice more consumers online, more often. These factors point to significant opportunities for fast-moving consumer goods ( fmcg ) categories, which need to be replenished weekly or daily, and take up a sizable portion of consumers’ time to shop in physical stores. BRINGING FRESH ON BOARD Fresh foods (such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish and poultry) are a large proportion of the fmcg basket as consumers’ focus on health and wellness intensifies. Previously, this category had one of the lowest online penetration levels; however, shopping for fresh produce has gained traction globally with a two percentage point increase. There are a number of specific fresh food purchase enablers that can help encourage more consumers to purchase online. Daily freshness ratings, detailed product descriptors and labels indicating

how many days products will last are important quality indicators to help consumers overcome the physical aspects of assessing freshness. In addition, where consumers’ expectations are not met, refunds and same-day replacements will also alleviate the reluctance of purchasing these items. As e-commerce continues to evolve, there are numerous areas to improve consumers’ overall online experience that will encourage trial and steer conversion to online. With convenience as one of the primary motivators for connected commerce, shoppers are looking for a frictionless experience that saves time, reduces obstacles and provides an enjoyable experience. Consumers’ considerable willingness to try different options for purchasing, payment or delivery has grown over the years. Retailers can further solve consumers’ apprehensions through interactive services as well as guarantees; for instance, same-day replacement, free delivery for high-value orders, responsiveness and money back for incorrect orders feature highly to encourage online purchases of consumable products. In the years to come, the online grocery industry will continue to grow due to the advent of disrupters like grocery delivery services, meal kits and direct-toconsumer brands in the fmcg industry. Understanding the impact of omnichannel performance and shoppers is critical for future success. For retailers and manufacturers, understanding consumers, including where they shop and why, is a vital part in understanding which categories to focus assortment on and how to resonate online with consumers.  CG

Carman Allison is vice-president of consumer insights at Nielsen in Toronto. @CarmAllison.

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Kathy Perrotta


How consumers define healthy eating has changed, as personalized approaches to wellness become the norm THE NEEDS AND desires that drive Canadians’ food and beverage choices continue to evolve and expand. This shouldn’t be surprising, given the constant change surrounding us in all aspects of life. Macro factors such as shifting demography, re-defining convenience, snacking and mini-mealing, individualism and customization, the quest for new tastes and experiences, and information and technology advances, are all influencing consumers’ choices. Canadians’ pre-emptive approach to health and wellness, however, has precipitated considerable—some would say disruptive—change across a broad spectrum of the food and beverage industry. Given consumers’ prioritization of healthy eating, food and beverage businesses will need to continue to modernize and update their understanding of healthy eating to stay relevant and connected with their customers. But what is healthy eating in 2019? The trend towards “health and wellness,” at least at a 20,000-foot level, remains a rather nebulous term. Eating well often means different things to different individuals and is based on their own personal needs and conditions. The view of what’s good for us has evolved and expanded, from focusing solely on nutrient intake to evaluating our choices more holistically, based on a food’s literal and symbolic freshness and goodness. Today, health is defined by an intersection of macro needs such as nutrient intake, metabolic benefits and social


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

needs, all in various forms and combinations. I call it “stacking benefits.” They want it all, and are often unwilling to make compromises. The wellness trend—fuelled by consumers’ insatiable desire for knowledge, an ever-expanding array of health-focused food and beverage products, and evolving purchase channels—is also impacting consumer engagement. Ipsos five research reveals the following: •  M ore than 80% of adult consumers report they always, regularly or sometimes seek product information, revealing a new level of engagement not seen even five years ago. •  Over half of those same consumers say their primary sources for seeking information are family, friends, colleagues or selected social communities when determining what to eat, where to buy food or how to prepare it. They are opting to gather information via trusted sources rather than relying on more traditional or institutional sources they may have relied on in the past. •  The majority of consumers report taking a break weekly from their own eating repertoire to do the following: “expand my repertoire of choices;” “get more taste variety and experience;” “include more premium and high-quality items;” and “expand healthy options.” The increasing level of consumer engagement has opened up a variety of micro spaces that provide unique opportunities

for manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators to target their offers to specific needs. New niche spaces include: nutrient intake expansion (more good, less bad, more protein, less sugar and carbohydrates); fresh focus (local, organic, seasonal); premium options (high quality, real and less processed); ingredient prioritization (minimum of real food ingredients, transparency and noted benefits); personal performance needs (satiety, energy, mental focus, sleep); condition management (diet restrictions, sensitivities and conditions); and conscious consumerism (food lifecycle awareness). The shift in the type of proteins consumers are eating, for instance, exemplifies how they’re balancing emerging macro and micro needs to meet their healthy eating ambitions. While meats are still Canadians’ main source of protein, augmented by premium cuts and ethically-farmed options, plant-based protein consumption rates have continued to rise over the past three years. Almost half of consumers (45%) indicate they would choose a plant-based substitute over a meat option, motivated by their desire to cut back on their weekly meat intake for health-related reasons. Given that health and wellness is such a priority for consumers today, and for the foreseeable future, approaching your customers with contemporary solutions that demonstrate an elevated understanding of individual wellness needs is the new “greens fee” for brands that would like to position themselves as leaders—and winners—in the current healthy eating arena.  CG

Kathy Perrotta is a VP of Marketing with Ipsos Canada and leads the FIVE service, a daily diary tracking of what individuals ate and drank yesterday across all categ­ories/ brands, occasions and venues.

What’sNew NeW products iN grocery

New Condiment for Canada

Topping It Up Martin’s Family Fruit Farm began with their apples. then they made Martin’s crispy apple chips. this year Martin’s Family Fruit Farm is introducing Martin’s saladitions. Made from their freshly-picked, world-famous apples, saladitions are ingeniously dehydrated, diced and mixed with a carefully selected combination of all-natural ingredients. consumers can use these delicious toppings as the perfect addition to a salad, or on top of snacks, or they can experiment by adding them to meals to keep things extra healthy, and extra tasty.

Kraft heinz has combined the delicious taste of ketchup, mayonnaise and a special blend of spices to create Mayochup. in high demand by consumers, Mayochup is the condiment that took North america by storm in 2018. available for a limited time only, make sure Mayochup is part of your condiment aisle this summer season.

Go with the Ebb & Flow A Taste of Italy canadians already enjoy Marcangelo’s line of authentic imported italian deli meats, all lovingly produced, sliced and packaged in italy. coming soon is Marcangelo’s new snackissimo line of products. available in a variety of meat and cheese combinations, snackissimo is perfect for snacking, sandwiches, or as part of any charcuterie presentation. this summer ensure your consumers entertain the italian way and enjoy Marcangelo’s vast selection of imported italian deli meats and cheeses.

Venture off the beaten path with Muskoka Brewery’s brand-new ebb & Flow. at just 2.4% alcohol, this session sour is light, refreshing and tart with unstoppable flavour. perfect for on-thego consumers who want to grab a single 473mL can or a convenient 4x355mL pack to accompany them on their next adventure. Beer is best consumed fresh so check the “Freshest By” date, included on every can of Muskoka Brewery beer.

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–maY 2019


Joshua Levi


How grocers can use data and analytics to grow their online channel ONLINE GROCERY and alcohol sales already top $6 billion in Canada. When it comes to online shopping, the only thing Canadians spend more on is apparel. That’s pretty impressive, considering many of the major players in the grocery world have only started making serious investments in this nascent part of their business. Yet, those billions in revenue represent less than 5% of all spending in the category, making it an expensive channel to maintain considering the high logistics, staff and marketing costs

they’re the biggest purchasers of groceries. These companies appear convinced these same families will welcome the convenience of having groceries delivered to their doors or trunks of their cars. This may sound like a reasonable approach, but is it the correct one? To answer that question, grocers must figure out the “why behind the buy” by taking an analytical approach to understanding what is driving consumers to this channel. Are they motivated by convenience or pricing? Do they have to have a certain comfort level with technology? Are they targeting early adopters, or are they attracting people who like the novelty of buying groceries online but could revert to old habits when that feeling wears off? There is data available that can answer these questions, and some grocers may want to tweak their approach when they learn the answers. While grocers are correct to target families, they may not be targeting the right ones. Interestingly, the typical time-strapped, younger families are not the biggest market for online grocery shopping; it’s the suburban families with above-average incomes and older kids. These are the families you’d expect to find in large homes, in leafy neighbourhoods outside of the downtown cores of Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. While the convenience of online groceries is appealing to these families, their high income is another key driver that shouldn’t be overlooked. A broader

Grocers must figure out the “why behind the buy” by taking an analytical approach to understanding what is driving consumers to this [online] channel involved. It’s a calculated risk, but one with a potentially massive upside if the adoption rates in Canada follow the pattern in places like the United Kingdom and South Korea, where the channel is more developed. It will take time before it becomes a significant revenue stream, but there is a lot the industry can do in the interim to maximize its return. For starters, grocers should focus efforts on the types of consumers most willing to buy groceries online. Based on public statements from grocers, it would seem most companies are targeting online sales to young, time-pressed families because


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

analysis supports this; families with similar demographics, but with incomes closer to the national average are less likely to order groceries online. This is important because both family types are often present in the same market. A grocer may find that one neighbourhood might embrace the convenience of online groceries, while another area, a short distance away, may appeal to consumers who prefer to select their own apples and cuts of meat. Knowing this will help grocers target their message and direct resources. Grocers may also want to consider expanding their focus beyond families. Young, tech-savvy singles living in apartments have shown a willingness to buy groceries online. It’s important to recognize there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding and communicating with these different consumer groups. Where to focus marketing and rollout efforts is just as important as who is targeted. A good place to begin is to analyze online shopping behaviour from a macro market perspective to better understand which parts of the country, province or city already have a higher level of online spending on groceries. Online spending on groceries and alcohol per household, for example, is higher in Ottawa than in Quebec City or St. John’s, N.L. And in the Greater Toronto Area, Halton Region might be a better market than Durham. To succeed in this growing channel, grocers should focus on regions where there is a stronger desire to make online purchases, including groceries. They will also want to reach out to those wealthier urban consumers who are adopters of online shopping. Grocers that take the time to leverage data and analytics to understand their market will be rewarded for their efforts.  CG

Joshua Levi is a vice-president at Environics Analytics who focuses on the grocery sector and consumer packaged goods.


® Registered trademarks and TM trademarks of Kruger Products L.P. © 2019 Kruger Products L.P. ® SCOTTIES is a trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc., used under licence.


of the Pack

Dino Bianco, CEO of Kruger Products

Kruger Products is staying on top by connecting with consumers, building strong partnerships with retailers, and investing in long-term success


what supplier they’re dealing with, or what retailer they’re hen you’re the market leader, it can be working with—has a common way of speaking about who tempting to sit back and ride the wave of we are and what we’re trying to accomplish,” he says. “It success. But Kruger Products, Canada’s gives purpose to everything we do. When you have a number-one tissue products manufacturer, is charting a vision and a mission that becomes the guiding hand, it course for the future. The 115-year-old Canadian company, helps people make the right decisions for the company.” whose leading brands include Cashmere, Scotties, The statements aren’t just something to hang on the wall SpongeTowels, White Swan and Purex, is committed to at head office, either. Kruger Products is delivering on its growing the tissue category, creating deeper connections mission and vision through five strategic pillars: with consumers, and driving its business—and that of its retail partners—forward. “We’re making the right decisions for the • Build “consumer muscle,” becoming more consumer-centric and knowledgelong term, not just the short term,” says CEO able to better align with changing expectations and demographic shifts. Dino Bianco, former president at Kraft Canada • Expand the business in the United States either organically, through who joined Kruger Products in 2018. “We have partnerships or through mergers and acquisitions. to keep our eye on both, but our employees • Build a more efficient supply chain by becoming more cost efficient, more are dedicated to ensuring the company’s responsive, more nimble and more sustainable. success 100 years from now.” • Create a winning team and culture, and strengthen workforce diversity Guiding that commitment is Kruger and inclusion. Products’ new vision: to be the most trusted • Strengthen relationships with customers to continue to grow the category and best loved tissue company in North and increase profitability. America. “Trust and love are high orders and we chose those words very carefully,” says Bianco. “The goal is not just to be the fastestgrowing or the most innovative. There’s an emotional element around trust and love, and it’s really about our connection to consumers. For our stakeholders, it’s about delivering on the metrics that matter.” Kruger Products also has a new mission, which is “making everyday life more comfortable.” The statement While tissue products may not be a game-changer, highlights the role tissue plays in making people Bianco believes there is an opportunity to elevate the comfortable throughout their day, whether they’re in need category, much like the coffee business has done. “Coffee of a napkin, bathroom tissue, paper towels or facial tissue. was viewed as a commodity product until Starbucks came “We have the luxury of interacting with consumers many along and showed the market that you can add value times a day, in many different ways,” says Bianco. “We and change people’s mindsets,” he says. “I believe there recognize that with the category we play in, we’re never are Starbucks-type moments for tissue. Whether it’s our going to be revolutionary or transformational, but we can innovation, our quality or our sustainability, I think we can make people feel more comfortable in their everyday lives.” change people’s perspectives on tissue so they view it as For Bianco, having a clear, cohesive mission and vision a relevant and important product in their lives, and that means everyone in the organization can speak the same brands matter to them.” language. “Everybody—regardless of what facility they’re in,

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–may 2019


Made In Canada Kruger Products is demonstrating its deep commitment to Canada with a new state-of-the-art facility in Sherbrooke, Que.

Official announcement of new $575 million plant Pictured (left to right): Nicole Bergeron, Municipal Councillor, District of Brompton; Steve Lussier, Mayor of Sherbrooke; Dino Bianco, CEO, Kruger Products; Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier of Québec at the time of the announcement, Joseph Kruger II, Chairman and CEO, Kruger Inc.; Luc Fortin, Minister of Families at the time of the announcement; Guy Hardy, MNA for Saint-François at the time of the announcement; and Gene Kruger, VP, Business Development, Kruger Inc.


ruger Products’ storied history dates back to 1904, when Joseph Kruger founded a fine paper business in Montreal. Today, the company is the number-one tissue manufacturer in Canada, with a stable of well-loved brands, including Cashmere, SpongeTowels, Purex and Scotties. Headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., Kruger Products employs more than 2,300 people and operates eight manufacturing plants across North America. “While we have a growing U.S. business, the majority of our products are made in Canada, by Canadians, for Canadians,” says Dino Bianco, CEO of Kruger Products. “We’re heavily invested in the Canadian market—in manufacturing, marketing and sales—because our roots are Canadian.” This homegrown success story is embarking on yet another exciting chapter. Kruger Products is investing $575 million to build a new, state-of-the-art tissue plant in Sherbrooke, Que., adjacent to an existing Kruger Group facility. The new plant will feature Canada’s largest and most modern through-air-dry (TAD) machine, which produces softer, plusher bathroom tissue and more absorbent paper towels, while also using less fibre. It will produce approximately 70,000 metric tonnes of bathroom tissue

and paper tissues every year, and will allow the company to increase its offering of ultra premium and innovative tissue products under the Cashmere, SpongeTowels and Purex brands. “Consumers are shifting to more premium and ultrapremium tissue, and the segment is growing at 2-3% per year,” says Alex Miller, SVP of operations at Kruger Products. “From an industry perspective, there is not enough capacity available to produce this type of tissue product.” Kruger installed a similar TAD machine at its Memphis, Tenn. facility in 2013, but it’s at full capacity. “We started looking at where we were going to expand, and based on a number of criteria, we made a decision to locate it in Sherbrooke,” says Miller. The new facility will create 180 permanent jobs in Sherbrooke and generate one million person-hours during construction of the new plant. In addition, $250 million in construction costs will be spent directly in the local economy. Construction is already underway and the plant is expected to be fully operational at the start of 2021. “I think it’s fantastic for the country and it demonstrates Kruger Products’ commitment to the Canadian economy and how proud we are of being a Canadian company,” says Miller. While Kruger Products’ Canadian roots run deep, many consumers are unaware that its brands are made in Canada. The company is aiming to change that, as there is renewed interest in buying made-in-Canada products given the current political climate. Last summer, Kruger Products conducted a survey with Ipsos, which found that 83% of Canadians would choose a made-in-Canada product over American-made. In addition, 62% of Canadians said they’re more likely to choose Canadian-made products than they were just a few months prior to the study. Ahead of Canada Day this year, Kruger Products is launching a multi-faceted marketing campaign to highlight its commitment to Canadians. “We’re generating jobs in Canada, we’re reducing our environmental footprint and we’re bettering the lives of Canadians through social good initiatives,” says chief marketing officer Nancy Marcus. “Our new campaign will reinforce not just that we’re Canadianmade, but that we’re pulling for Canadians.”

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–may 2019



















OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY Since 2009, Kruger Products’ sustainability initiatives exemplify our genuine and ongoing commitment to make our products and operations safe and sustainable. As 2020 approaches, we continue to take big steps in reducing our environmental footprint and ensuring sustainability is at the centre of everything we do.

* Intensity based since 2009 (baseline year) through 2018. † Since 2015 (baseline year) through 2018. © 2019, ® and ™ Trademark of Kruger Products L.P. ® SCOTTIES is a trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide. ® Forest Stewardship Council and FSC Logo – Forest Stewardship Council, A.C.



With bold initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint, Kruger Products is paving the way to a greener future


ruger Products was going green long before the rise of the modern environmental movement. In 1948, the company launched its first reforestation project, and in the 1970s, it started producing bathroom tissue made from recycled paper. Fast forward to 2009, when Kruger Products installed a biomass gasification system—the first of its kind in the pulp and paper industry—at its mill in New Westminster, B.C. The technology, which replaces natural gas use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. This innovation solution was part of Kruger Products’ Sustainability 2015 program, a five-year sustainability commitment that launched in 2010. The idea was to create a more formalized approach to reducing its environmental impact and incorporate sustainability into every aspect of its operations. Kruger Products set ambitious targets in several areas, including water, waste, energy, transportation and packaging. “Our Sustainability 2015 program was very successful both in terms of the results we achieved and in terms of embedding sustainability in our internal culture,” says Steven Sage, VP of sustainability at Kruger Products. “Our products are very dependent on natural resources such as energy, water and forests. We have a very keen understanding of that and are doing everything we can to reduce our impact.” Kruger Products was also the first Canadian tissue manufacturer to earn Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in 2011. Today, approximately 55% of the company’s fibre is FSC-certified and 30% of its fibre is made from recycled paper. Kruger Products has one of the largest portfolios of third-party certified tissue products in North America, with more than 150 products. The next evolution of its environmental plan is Sustainability 2020. By the end of next year, Kruger Products is aiming to Vision Commitment Ac tion reduce its energy consumption by 15%, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 27% and reduce water consumption by 35%—all versus 2009 levels. In addition, the company is aiming to improve health and safety by 50% compared to the 2015 benchmark. Kruger Products is well on track to meet its targets, having already reduced energy use by 10%, greenhouse gas emissions by 22% and water by 28%. The organization’s sustainability efforts have been recognized by Corporate Knights, which named Kruger Products one of the Best Corporate Citizens in Canada in 2018. Looking ahead, Sage says sustainability will continue to be a key strategic pillar of Kruger Products. “Sustainability is part of our core values,” he says. “As our targets are achieved, the issues become bigger and more challenging to solve, but we’re committed to making that happen for our business.”


387 Richmond Street East Toronto Canada M5A 1P6









FILE NAME 15379 KP Sustainability 2020 Logo_EN






MAY 7 2015












As an employer, Kruger Products has racked up impressive accolades, earning a place in the rankings for Greater Toronto’s Top Employers, Canada’s Best Managed Companies and Forbes Canada’s Best Employers. Mina Fior, SVP of human resources at Kruger Products, says the organization strives to be a great employer and continuously builds upon a winning work culture. “We don’t take for granted that people are our greatest asset, and it’s the strength of our people that allows us to deliver on our commitment to our customers and our consumers,” she says. What makes Kruger Products a great place to work? To start, the organization holds internal focus groups to understand what they value about Kruger Products. “We use that as our guide post and build programs around that value proposition,” says Fior. Key programs that help attract, develop and engage top talent are: supporting local and national charities throughout the year and giving employees paid time off to volunteer; a scholarship program for children of employees; an updated parental leave program for adoptive parents; and training opportunities and mentoring programs. This year, a key area of focus is diversity and inclusion. “The retail landscape is changing, our shoppers are changing, our consumers are changing, and we recognize that having a diverse and inclusive culture is critical to our winning team strategies,” says Fior. “We need to stay relevant and reflect the consumers and customers we’re serving.”

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–may 2019

Marketing with Heart

From a new NHL® partnership to its long-standing support of sports and charities, Kruger Products continues to build bonds with consumers


ruger brands are already found in more Canadian households than any other trademarked tissue brand, but the company is intent on keeping its ties to consumers strong. This year, Kruger Products became the official tissue partner of the NHL® and will create fully integrated promotions and programs to celebrate Canada’s favourite sport. “There are 18 million followers of the NHL® and we’re aiming to engage the fan base with our products,” says Michel Manseau, SVP and GM at Kruger Products. “Hockey is truly a Canadian sport and we’re a Canadian organization, so it’s a good fit for our brands and will allow us to drive exciting promotions at the retail level.” As part of the multi-year deal, Kruger Products’ SpongeTowels, Scotties, Purex and Cashmere brands will be supported across various retail, in-venue and digital channels, and will be featured in NHL® programming during the regular season and Stanley Cup® Playoffs. The brands will also be featured in events such as the 2019 Tim Hortons® NHL® Heritage Classic. While the NHL® partnership is a big score for Kruger Products, the company has a great history of supporting sports and athletes. Since 1981, Kruger Products has sponsored the Canadian Women’s Curling Championships through the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, one of Canada’s longest-standing sponsorships of amateur athletics. “That long-standing support of women’s curling has created a great emotional connection with our principle grocery shopper,” says Nancy Marcus, chief marketing officer at Kruger Products. “The Scotties Tournament of Hearts has strong viewership numbers and we leverage its popularity at retail with awe-inspiring and captivating displays, such as curling rinks made with our products.” Giving back is also central to Kruger Products, and the company is a passionate supporter of charities through numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives. Since 2004, Kruger Products has supported the breast cancer cause with the annual Cashmere Collection. The runway show features dresses and gowns made by top Canadian

designers and crafted with bathroom tissue. The Cashmere Collection is the annual kick-off for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month and marks the return of limited-edition Cashmere, with a portion of sales going to breast cancer efforts at the Canadian Cancer Society. “One in eight women are affected by breast cancer and the cause is of key importance to us as a company,” says Marcus. “We want to do our part to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, as well as resonate with Canadians who support brands that are affiliated with a good cause.” Through its Cashmere and Purex brands, Kruger Products has also been a national sponsor of Crohn’s & Colitis Canada’s Gutsy Walk since 2014 to raise funds for Crohn’s & Colitis Canada. Kruger Products is also connecting with audiences on the arts and culture scene. Four years ago, Kruger Products branched out into the entertainment world with Cashmere’s sponsorship of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), using the tagline “Reel softness” to promote the luxuriousness and softness of Cashmere. While it might seem like a leap to go from causes to culture, the idea is to be involved in what matters to Canadians. “When you look at everything we’re involved with, there is level of continuity, whether it’s a health cause, amateur sports, professional sports or entertainment,” says Marcus. “Our marketing and sponsorship initiatives are all aimed at generating excitement in stores with engaging promotions and activations. At the same time, we want to continue to make a positive impact on causes and communities, and touch the hearts of our consumers.”

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–may 2019


WIN BIG! We’ve hidden three $50,000 winning tickets inside our products somewhere in Canada! Plus $1,000,000 in secondary prizing.



The invisible woman

Women are out of sight, out of mind of senior executives


ith the growing realization that flexible work arrangements—a shift in work hours, working remotely or job sharing—are key to attracting, keeping and advancing talented women, discussion around the relative importance of face time in the office versus results is heating up. Many managers are hanging on to outdated views about face time as a full measure of an employee’s value and are losing outstanding employees as a result. Still, one type of face time is key to advancing a career—face time with senior leaders. Employees who interact regularly with their company’s senior leaders are more likely to ask for and receive promotions, according to McKinsey & Co.’s Women in the Workplace 2018 report. They’re also more likely to stay with their companies and aim to be leaders themselves. Can you hear me now? Makes sense. The problem is 33% of the women surveyed for the report said they’d never had a significant discussion with a senior leader about their work (com­pared to 27% of men surveyed). For some women of

“Women have fewer opportunities to demonstrate their skills, show off work results or make strategic connections” colour, access is even more limited. Forty per cent of black women reported never having a substantive work-­related conversation with a senior leader. At all points in their careers, women

have fewer opportunities to demonstrate their skills, show off work results or make strategic connections with their company’s career-opportunity gatekeepers. The result: when managers are considering candidates for stretch assignments, leadership development or promotions, they’re more likely to choose a man, because it’s more likely a man is on their radar. Seeking sponsors One way to level the playing field is to encourage senior leaders to sponsor women. A full 70% of the 70 organizations named 2019 Top Companies for Executive Women by the National Association for Female Executives have sponsorship initiatives. Companies can support more sponsorship with these five actions put forth by Working Mother magazine: »  Expose senior leaders to high-potential talents from different groups, especially underrepresented populations »  Link sponsorship to senior executives’ goals, performance reviews and compensation »  Have clear objectives for sponsorship and communicate to everyone involved »  Use employee resource groups to find high-potential women worthy of sponsorship »  Measure promotion and retention rates of those who are sponsored versus people not sponsored in similar roles

number of forward-thinking companies that are disrupting the status quo with practices that promote women’s visibility with senior leaders. One of our partners, for example, is piloting a program that pairs individuals who are ready to move up to the next role with members of its leadership team for development discussions. “It’s very straightforward,” the company’s vice president of human resources told us. “Women who may not have a sponsor already are getting that attention.” J.P. Morgan’s Women on the Move initiative’s 30-5-1 campaign brings women and men together for 36 minutes each week to support women’s growth and development. Participants commit to spending 30 minutes having coffee with an up-and-­ coming woman, five minutes congratulating a female colleague on a win or success and one minute talking up the woman who had that win with other colleagues. “It’s up to each one of us—men and women alike—to ensure they have the support mechanisms they need to succeed, and this campaign is one of the most important ways we can do that,” said J.P. Morgan’s Asset and Wealth Management ceo Mary Erdoes, co-sponsor of Women on the Move. Formal, structured development programs that support face time with senior leaders benefit talented women and men, but especially those who may otherwise be unseen—or overlooked.

The Network of Executive Women’s (new) Blueprint for Gender Equality, which is now being shared with corporate partners, lays out best practices for companies working to create a gender diverse and inclusive workplace. While developing this action plan, we found a


Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing 12,400 members in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at

By Carol Neshevich  |  Photography by Mike Ford

The newest McEwan location showcases the Toronto store’s chef-driven philosophy and dedication to high quality

STORE PROFILE General manager Eric McEwan (right) oversees the new 17,000-sq.-ft. McEwan Yonge & Bloor, which features a 70-seat eating area



IT’S 11:15 A.M. ON a Friday in April, and the staff at the new McEwan Yonge & Bloor location in midtown Toronto are setting out prepared foods ahead of the lunch rush. They’ve literally just placed the final dish on the hot table when a group of customers in their 20s swoop in and fill up their plates. By noon, the hot table and salad bar have steady lineups, and the 70-seat eating­area is packed with lunchtime diners munching on everything from butter chicken to Roman-style pizza. Upbeat jazz music is playing over the speakers, and there’s a lively vibe in the 17,000-­ sq-ft grocery store—the third location under the banner—which opened for business in January. “Our lunch crowd is amazing, we’re very lucky to have that,” says the store’s general manager, Eric McEwan—son of celebrity chef Mark McEwan, head of The McEwan Group (a food empire that includes the McEwan grocery stores, as well as renowned high-end restaurants in and around Toronto including Bymark, North 44, One and Fabbrica). While lunch is currently the store’s busiest time, traffic is steady throughout May 2019 Canadian Grocer


STORE PROFILE the day. The store benefits from a high concentration of condos nearby—in fact, it occupies the basement level of a 75-story tower that’s predominantly residential—as well as a number of office buildings in the vicinity. “[At Yonge and Bloor] you have the residential crowd, the nine-to-five crowd, the tourist crowd, and you just have very busy sidewalks,” explains Mark McEwan. So far, the biggest customer demographic

is professional millennials, he says: “Many of them are not cooking, but they like good food. So if you’re really fresh and you’re interesting and you’re tasty and the perception is that you’re affordable, it’s a win-win for them.” The store is all about being “chef driven” and offering high quality, whether in its grocery offerings or prepared foods. “Quality is No. 1,” says the elder McEwan. The selection of products The aisles are a mix of carefully chosen local and global brands, as well as McEwan-branded items like sauces and dressings


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

and brands is “comprehensive, but it’s edited, so you don’t have big daunting aisles of grocery, which I’ve never related to well. Put it this way: I don’t need 100 different olive oils, but I do need 20 different olive oils,” he says. “It’s carefully curated, and carefully priced. So when people look at our grocery pricing, they say to me, ‘Wow, you’re surprisingly fair’ … [that said], quality is the baseline. We don’t offer any cheap, generic products.” A stroll through the aisles reveals packaged goods from Canadian companies like The Little Potato Company, Canards du Lac Brome, Chickapea, and Hippie Snacks; U.S. brands such as La Tourangelle, Wolfgang Puck, and Lundberg Family Farms; and international brands including Sharwood’s and Conservas de Cambados, to name a few. The store also offers a range of McEwan-branded, house-made items including sauces, salad dressing, rubs and pre-packaged prepared meals—although care is taken not to let McEwan-branded products overshadow the rest. “We don’t want to hide anyone’s brand behind ours,” says Eric McEwan. “We want people to be proud of their brand being in our store.” Among the store’s impressive features: the aged meat locker, where nearly everything—steaks, whole ribs, whole striploins—is aged from 50 to 60 days; an extensive cheese selection featuring high-end local and international cheeses; and a bakery section that showcases house-baked items as well as breads, sweets and pastries from artisanal bakeries around the city. There’s also a smoothie bar that offers eight smoothie options each day, and the popular Roman-style pizza outpost branded with the Fabbrica name (one of McEwan’s restaurants). “Our pizzas are all authentic Roman, with a 72-hour cure on the dough,” says Mark McEwan. And there’s a “gift” section featuring items such as Sugarfina candy from California, locally-made Mary Macleod shortbread, and Chapon chocolate from Paris. The produce section has a focus on local wherever possible, and aims to help make home cooking more convenient. “Not only do we have whole yams or whole butternut squashes, but we also have portions that are cut and cleaned and even cubed for you, so they’re ready to go,” says Eric McEwan. “This is how we really gear ourselves toward the condo [dwellers].”

hmr is "the heart

of the store," according to Mark McEwan; (Lower right): Meat is typically aged 50 to 60 days in the aged meat locker

But it’s the hmr offerings that are “the heart of the store,” says Mark McEwan. The hot table typically features 20 to 25 items prepared by in-store chefs, ranging from chicken biryani and paneer masala to stir-fried mixed peppers, steamed asparagus and chili flake garlic orecchiette. There are four soups offered daily, and a 45-ingredient salad bar. To allow customers the convenience to mix hot items and salads in one container, everything on the hot counter and the salad bar is the same price by weight. There’s a panini station, as well as a carvery, which is next to the freshly prepared sandwich station. The P.E.I. prime rib from the carvery is a big favourite among regular customers, says Eric McEwan: “To be able to come and get hand-cut prime rib any day of the week, whether it be in a sandwich or to bring

home, that has become one of our most popular items for sure.” With interiors designed by Toronto’s Moncur Design Associates, the store’s underground locale helped shape the store’s overall design. “We’re in the basement, so light had to be a big factor in this store,” notes Eric McEwan. “As you can see, there are a lot of lights here.” That said, all the McEwan shops share certain visual similarities. “We try to stick to a lot of the same colour tones so concrete floors, whites, and aubergine, our purple colour—there are always splashes of that.” Interestingly, the neighbourhood will also be home to Canada’s much-anticipated first Eataly location, expected to open later this year in the nearby Manulife Centre. Neither the elder or younger McEwan, however, seems worried about

the incoming competition. “I think it does nothing but rev up the neighbourhood,” says Mark McEwan. As for future expansion, the celebrity chef says he’s “actively looking for key loc­ations” for potential new stores. Meanwhile, at the new Yonge and Bloor location, the team is continuously working to get a better feel for what the clientele wants and making adjustments accordingly. “The store is always in a state of morphing and changing and getting better,” says Mark McEwan, who stresses the importance of consistently raising the bar when it comes to customer service and quality. “We’re not the cheapest in the city, and when customers go home they should really enjoy eating what they’ve bought; it should be something they talk about. If it’s not, we didn’t do the right job.”  CG May 2019 Canadian Grocer


Canadian Grand Prix new product awards

grand prix finalists

The votes have been tallied and 114 finalists have made the cut in the 26th edition of the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards Plant-based sausages spiked with harissa, ultrafiltered milk, crunchy lentil snacks and bold-­flavoured power bowls are among the finalists of the 26th annual edition of the Retail Council of Canada’s (rcc) Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards.

“Canadians are craving genuine newness and retailers have delivered,” rcc president and ceo, Diane J. Brisebois, said of the Grand Prix finalists.

The awards celebrate the most impressive products that hit the Canadian market in 2018, as determined by a 28-member jury of industry experts. Both national brands and private-label products as well as those from established and new suppliers were sub­ mitted for consideration. Check out the full list of finalists here:

May 2019 Canadian Grocer


Canadian Grand Prix new product awards

consumer packaged goods food finalists A. Lassonde Inc. ›› Apple & Eve Vegan Protein Smoothie A vegan-certified smoothie made with fruit juice and puree with no added sugar and 8 grams of plant-based protein. Available in the following varieties: Green – Pineapple Banana Spinach Matcha; Pink – Strawberry Hibiscus Dragon Fruit; and Yellow – Mango Coconut Turmeric.

Winners will be revealed in Canadian Grocer’s august issue

Cedar Bay Grilling Company ›› Sous Chef Kits This meal kit from Cedar Bay Grilling Company makes it easy for home cooks to whip up shrimp pho in just 20 minutes. All ingredients in the kit (broth, noodles, shrimp and veggie mix) are pre-cut and pre-measured and provide two generous servings. Conagra Brands ›› Power Bowls Bold flavours and healthy ingredients stand out in these Healthy Choice Power Bowls. Geared for active consumers, the bowls—which come in a variety of flavours such as Adobo Chicken and Korean Inspired Beef—are made with whole grains, mixed greens, vegetables and natural proteins. This product contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and is served in a plant-fibre bowl that can be composted.


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

Kashi Company ›› Kashi joi - Nut Bars and Energy Nut Bars Kashi Company raises the bar with these snacks boasting clean and simple ingredients. Kashi joi bars deliver robust textures and unique flavour twists (Pistachio Fig & Lemon, Dark Chocolate Espresso Nut) and are gluten free and Non-gmo Project Verified. Hain Celestial ›› Yves Veggie and Grains Gourmet Sausages Described by its maker as a “delicious meat alternative,” Yves Veggie and Grains Gourmet Sausages are packed with veggies and come in unique flavours such as Mediterranean Harissa and Kale & Caramelized Onion. These plant-based sausages can be grilled or used as an ingredient in pasta dishes.

Hempco Canada Superfoods Inc. ›› Planet Hemp Superfood Super-Seeds This pouch packs a “super” blend of hemp, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. The versatile product can be sprinkled on salad or yogurt or enhance snacks such as avocado toast. Superfood Super-Seeds are vegan and Nongmo Project Verified.

Kellogg ›› Vector Protein Bites Made with real nut butter, roasted almonds and peanuts, Vector Protein Bites deliver 11 grams of protein per serving. These bites from Kellogg come in a portable, resealable pouch for convenient snacking. Flavours include Chocolate Peanut Butter. Nestlé Waters Canada ›› Perrier and Juice Perrier’s carbonated mineral water is combined with fruit juice to deliver a refreshing effervescent beverage that is just 60 calories per slim can. Available in unique flavour combos such as Pineapple & Mango, Peach & Cherry, and Strawberry & Kiwi.

we are proud to announce our 2 finalists!

2 6 T H


Trademarks owned or used under license by Parmalat Canada, Toronto, Ontario, M9C 5J1. Š Parmalat Canada, 2019. All rights reserved.

Canadian Grand Prix new product awards Saputo Dairy Products Canada ›› Armstrong Natural Cheese Sticks Smooth, firm and creamy tasting, these natural cheddar cheese sticks also boast a distinctly smoky-sweet aroma. Delicious on their own as a snack or with freshly sliced veggies and crackers.

Oggi Foods Inc. ›› Cauliflower Pizza Crust Cauliflower continues to be a hot ingredient, and here, Oggi Foods cleverly uses it in its gluten-free pizza crust. Based on a traditional family recipe and prepared in a Neapolitan style, the dough (a blend of cauliflower and gluten-free flour) is hand stretched and stone baked, resulting in a golden crust.

Organic Meadow Limited Partnership ›› Organic Yogurt Smoothies To create this nutritionally-rich smoothie, Organic Meadow blends fresh organic milk with seasonal fruits and veggies. Flavours such as Strawberry Carrot & Beet pack a punch with 10 grams of protein per serving while delivering nine essential nutrients.

Parmalat Canada ›› Galbani Bocconcini 200g Consumers seeking authentic Italian fresh mozzarella need look no further. Galbani is a leading brand in Italy and its bocconcini is soft, melt-in-yourmouth fresh moz­za­rella that can be used to ele­vate salads, pastas, pizzas and more.

Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. ›› Adams Dark Roast A peanut butter with nothing to hide! Touted as being 100% natural, each jar of Adams Dark Roast contains just peanuts—dark roasted for a richer flavour—and salt with no preservatives, stabilizers or anything artificial. This peanut butter also comes in a glass jar.

The Minute Maid Company Canada Inc. ›› Fairlife Ultrafiltered Milk - Lactose Free Fairlife ultrafiltered lactose-free milk starts with fresh, highqua­­lity milk that goes through a unique filtration process to remove half the sugars, while also achieving a higher level of protein. The result is a pure, wholesome milk that’s nutrient rich.

Three Farmers Foods Inc. ›› Crunchy Little Lentils These Crunchy Little Lentils are packed with protein, fibre and flavour. Grown and made in Canada, these lentils snack like a sunflower seed but are packed with substance and nutrients— the perfect guilt-free snack.


+40% -0.9%

† ¨


Canadian Grand Prix new product awards

consumer packaged goods more finalists FOOD A. Lassonde Inc. ›› Fruit Drop ››  Oasis Premium Orange Probiotics Agropur Dairy Cooperative ››  Natrel Whipped Dip and Spread ››  iÖGO nanö yogurt with no refined sugar added Bimbo Canada ››  Sanissimo Chia & Flax ››  Sara Lee Little Bites Mini Muffins ›› Takis Angry Burger

Bonduelle ›› Riced Cauliflower Cavendish Farms ››  Cavendish Farms Restaurant Style Drive Thru Fries Chocolat Lamontagne, Inc. ››  Grab & Go Collection ››  White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Almonds

Distribution Missum ››  Moment Krystale Royale Gay Lea Foods ››  Nordica Smooth Dips Hill Street Beverage Company Inc. ››  Vin(Zero)

Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Cooperative ››  SmartKlear

Keurig Canada ››  Timothy’s Colombian La Vereda

Conagra Brands ››  Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1

Krinos Foods Canada Ltd. ››  Krinos Organic Feta Cheese

FOOD COSTCO WHOLESALE CANADA ››  Kirkland Signature Hazelnut




›› Co-op Gold Potstickers ›› Co-op Gold pure Fillets ››  Co-op Gold pure Jam

Type Spread

LONGO BROTHERS FRUIT MARKETS INC. ››  Longo’s Signature Cauliflower

Crust Spinach Alfredo Pizza

METRO INC. ›› All Chocolate Dacquoise ››  Irresistibles Pesto Seafood

Gratin ›› Irresistibles Tree-Shaped Log ›› Irresistibles Cold Brew Coffee ››  Irresistibles Brunch Pork Burgers ››  Irresistibles Carbonated Spring Water


››  Ro*tel

May 2019 Canadian Grocer

Mondoux Confectionery Inc. ››  Sweet Sixteen

››  Organic Extended Shelf Life Milk Parmalat Canada ››  Galbani Pizza Mozzarella Deluxe 250g

Morehouse Foods Canada Ltd. ››  Le Grec Original Dressing

Patience Fruit & Co by Fruit d’Or ››  Chococrunch Bites

Nestlé Canada ››  Nescafé Gold Nutrinor Cooperative ››  Rice Pudding Organic

Perfetti Van Melle ››  Mentos Pure White Gum

Opopee Inc. ››  It’s Souper

Premier Nutrition ››  Premier Protein High Protein Shake

Organic Meadow Limited Partnership

Quality Cheese ››  Bella Casara Burratini

private label finalists ›› Irresistibles Dijon Mustard ››  Irresistibles Fig Balsamic

Modena Vinegar ›› Irresistibles Frozen Fruits ››  Irresistibles Hard Ripened Parmesan Cheese ›› Irresistibles Ice Cream Bars ››  Irresistibles Naturalia Raw Creamed Honey ››  Irresistibles Naturalia Tortilla Chips ››  Irresistibles Naturalia Granola Cereals

Frozen Single Meals

››  Sensations by Compliments

››  noma Neon Rope Light

Pure white

Fruit Bars ››  Sensations by Compliments Extra Crunchy Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips ››  Sensations by Compliments Hand Stretched Frozen Pizzas ››  Sensations by Compliments Hors d’oeuvres ››  Sensations by Compliments Mini Ice Cream Bars ››  Sensations by Compliments Spirited Mickie BBQ Sauce

›› paderno Dutch Ovens, 6.2L

M&M FOOD MARKET ››  Premium Single Serves ››  Stovetop Kits

WALMART CANADA ››  Great Value Battered Dill

PETSMART ›› Habitat Home

REXALL PHARMACY GROUP LTD. ››  Nosh & Co. Munch Madness

››  Our Finest Fudge Selection ››  Great Value Easy-Blends Fruit

REXALL PHARMACY GROUP ›› Kit Silicone Facial Brush

SAVE-ON-FOODS ››  West Coast Wild Pink Salmon

››  Great Value Greek Yogurt Dips ››  Great Value Natural Nut Butters

VETDIET INTERNATIONAL INC. ›› Care line ›› Wellness line


››  Western Family Flavoured

Sparkling Water

SOBEYS INC. ››  Compliments Naturally Simple

Pickle Bites

& Vegetable Mix


Cluster Lights (Light Show)

FEDERATED CO-OPERATIVES LIMITED ›› Co-op Gold PURE Soap METRO INC. ››  Personnelle Microfilter Nasal

Wash System

››  Personnelle Precut

Kinesiology Tapes

›› Personnelle Teething

WALMART CANADA ›› Equate Kids Probiotics ››  Pure Balance Freeze Dried

Treats for Dogs

Canadian Grand Prix new product awards Richardson Oilseed Products Limited ››  Canola Harvest Blends Saputo Dairy Products Canada GP ››  Joyya Ultrafiltered Milk Storck Canada Inc. ››  Werther’s Original Caramel Popcorn Traditional Medicinals ››  Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger The Spice Tailor Limited ››  The Spice Tailor Daal

NON-FOOD Carlton Cards ››  Papyrus – Disney Papyrus greeting cards are standouts in the category and the Disney line is no exception. The Mickey and Minnie Mouse features a new micro gem process that is exclusive to Carlton Cards along with three-dimensionally embossed foils, glitter and a hand-finished gem for Minnie’s bow.

Features a premium quality paper stock and a unique custom designed envelope. ››  Papyrus – Gemmed Thank You ››  Winning Wishes

SodaStream ››  SodaStream Black Fizzi One Touch Sparkling Water Maker

Hain Celestial Canada, ULC ››  Live Clean Mineral Clay Rebalancing Shampoo & Conditioner Keurig Canada ››  Keurig Single Serve Coffee Maker K-Mini Plus

Viau Foods ››  Salciccia -  Italian Sausage for Breakfast

Namëna Biosciences ››  Biosync 24H Continuous Release

Yorkshire Valley Farms ››  Organic Sliced Chicken and Turkey Deli

Nestlé Purina PetCare ››  Beyond Natural Pet Food

Every batch of Beyond Natural Pet Food contains ingredients that can be traced back to trusted sources that pass Nestlé Purina’s 32-step evaluation process. What Beyond does not contain is corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meal or any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Spectrum Brands Canada Inc. ››  Armor All Essential Blends Car Air Fresheners Sunstar Americas Inc. (Canada) ››  gum Activital Sonic Deep Clean ››  gum Soft-Picks Comfort Flex

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! you! Thank Thank you! Thankyou! you!

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Reynolds Consumer Products Canada Inc. ››  Alcan Non-Stick

See you in Thank you to our dedicated sponsors foryour your continued support and enthusiasm. toronto See you See See See you you you in in in in may 12-14, Thank you to our dedicated sponsors for Thank you toto our dedicated sponsors for your toronto toronto Thank you our dedicated sponsors for your Thank you to our dedicated sponsors for your toronto toronto continued support and enthusiasm. Thank you to our dedicated sponsors for Thank you to our dedicated sponsors for your toronto Thank Thank Thank you you you to to to our our our dedicated dedicated dedicated sponsors sponsors sponsors for for for your your your your 2020! continued support and enthusiasm. may 12-14, continued support and enthusiasm. toronto toronto toronto continued support and enthusiasm. continued support and enthusiasm. may 12-14, may 12-14, continued support and enthusiasm. may12-14, 12-14, continued support and enthusiasm. may 12-14,continued continued continued support support support and and and enthusiasm. enthusiasm. enthusiasm. may may may 12-14, 12-14, 12-14, 2020! 2020! 2020! 2020! 2020! 2020!

Thank you to our dedicated sponsors for your

2020! 2020! 2020! CHAIRMAN CLUB







GOLD SPONSORS As of February 25, 2019

GOLDBCFresh, SPONSORS As ofStrawberries, February 25, 2019 California Cascades, AsFebruary of February 25, 2019Larose, GOLDSPONSORS SPONSORS AsWorldwide, of 25, 2019 GOLD Catania Courchesne

As February GOLD SPONSORS As ofAs February 25, 2019 GOLD SPONSORS of 25, February 25, 2019 GOLD SPONSORS Asof of February 25,2019 2019 GOLD SPONSORS As As of Asof February of February February 25,25, 2019 25,2019 2019 GOLD GOLD GOLD SPONSORS SPONSORS SPONSORS Dole, Domex Superfresh Growers, Driscoll’s, BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, EarthFresh, Florida BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, Catania Worldwide, Courchesne Larose, BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, Catania Worldwide, Courchesne Larose, BCFresh, California Strawberries, Cascades, Catania Worldwide, Courchesne Larose, BCFresh, BCFresh, BCFresh, California California California Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries, Cascades, Cascades, Cascades,Group, Tomato Committee, Houweling’s Catania Worldwide, Courchesne Larose, Dole, Domex Superfresh 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CPMA 2019 Campaign – Thank You Ad

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The greening of grocery ASK PETER VAN STOLK why sustainability is so important to him and his first thought is his 25-year-old daughter. “We didn’t inherit the earth from our parents, we are fostering the earth for our children,” says the reflective ceo of Vancouver-­ based spud (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery Inc.). “It was recently announced that Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. But it’s not about me. I’m 55 years old—I’ll be dead by the time climate change really makes an impact. Who it’s going to impact are my future grandchildren. So, it’s not about today, it’s about tomorrow, and we can

make incredible changes and we can do incredible things.” Founded as Small Potatoes Urban Delivery in 1997, the company got its start delivering local, organic groceries to customers in the Vancouver area through Van Stolk, who founded Jones Soda in 1997 and left the business 10 years later, purchased spud in 2010. “I realized that the world doesn’t need another soda and I didn’t want to sell sugar water,” he says. “One of the things about being an entrepreneur is you have to look at the trends—not things that are happening today, but the trends that are coming tomorrow.”

spud is at the forefront of eco-­friendly e-commerce 46

May 2019 Canadian Grocer

gr oc er

n ee gr By Rebecca Harris  |  Photography by Tanya Goehring

— and it’s bringing other retailers along for the ride

The greening of grocery Van Stolk believed online grocery shopping was going to be big; somewhat counter to the perception at the time that people don’t want to buy food online. With spud’s focus on local, organic food, van Stolk liked what the company stood for and saw an opportunity to take a deeper dive into sustainability. When he became ceo, he changed the company name to Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery and developed a plan to grow the company and create sustainable food systems at every stage of the business. Today, brings fresh, organic, local produce and groceries to customers throughout Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary and Edmonton. In 2015, spud branched out into brick-and-mortar stores, opening its first Be Fresh Market in Vancouver. The company now operates five Be Fresh Market and Café locations in the city. In 2017, spud acquired Blush Lane Organic Market, which has five locations in Calgary and Edmonton. spud also has its own line of private-label products under the Be Fresh label, which are made at its commissary in Vancouver. GREEN THROUGH AND THROUGH A Certified B Corporation since 2013, one of spud’s key sustainability pillars is “buy with purpose.” For its online and brick-and-mortar stores, spud works with local vendors on farms that respect sustainable farming practices and the humane treatment of animals. The company supports “transitional” farms that start out as conventional and are in the process of becoming certified organic. Van Stolk says certification is a lengthy, challenging process, so spud wants to support the farmers on their journey, even though they’re not yet 100% organic. spud is also hugely supportive of small, independent businesses. “Independent retailers and producers cannot compete in an e-commerce environment because of all the technology and the cost associated with it,” says van Stolk. “So, you have these massive companies getting bigger but you’re not supporting what’s really driving economic growth for the community, which is independent and small.” To do its part, spud recently launched Be Fresh Marketplace, a digital platform for local food shops, artisanal brands and small, independent grocers. Housed at, the marketplace allows local sellers to set up an online store, much like an Etsy shop. Customers can shop the various local stores as well as the­offering for single online orders. The service is currently available in Calgary and Vancouver, and van Stolk plans to eventually expand it into other markets. On the food waste front, spud is committed to reducing food waste and its e-commerce business has just 0.5% food waste, thanks, in large part, to data and analytics. spud’s inventory technology allows for predictive ordering and better inventory control of its produce, which keeps waste to a minimum. “We’re not purchasing with the hope that somebody buys that product. We’re purchasing with the knowledge that somebody already


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

wants that product,” says van Stolk. “Fighting food waste is one of the benefits of shopping online with a company that has the data to predict and understand the inventory virtually.” Aside from using data to reduce food waste, also sells “imperfect” or "ugly" produce, which often gets rejected by other retailers, and it donates food to organizations that help fight hunger. The company’s retail stores are also working to reduce food waste, and the Blush Lane location in Calgary is currently tracking its food waste through a pilot project with food waste prevention specialist Leanpath. Keeping plastic out of the landfill is another priority for spud. In February, the company announced its ReFresh initiative that will launch various programs related to packaging waste reduction. The first one is the “Pink Bag Takeback” program, which recycles single-use flexible plastic bags that aren’t accepted by city recycling programs. Customers are being asked to give back their Be Fresh plastic pouches, which are used for items like dried fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and granola. They can return them in their spud bin (which is picked up on the next delivery day), or return it to a Be Fresh or Blush Lane location. spud is working with a specialized recycling company that is upcycling Be Fresh bags into new products such as outdoor furniture and paving stones. “It’s the coolest thing we’re doing and I’m so proud of it,” says van Stolk. “With anything we put out there, we have to have a full understanding of the loop. As a retailer, our job is to make sure we will be responsible for that package.” With spud’s reverse logistics model, the company also takes back any packing supplies, such as freezer kits and reusable meal-kit containers. The model is part of spud’s “responsible transportation” sustainability pillar, which also ensures every truck going out for delivery is full and that it takes the shortest route possible. “It’s all about space management and logistics optimization, and that’s one technology we have,” says van Stolk. Technology developed by spud ’s in-house team includes a rapid pack algorithm that decreases packing time and wasted space in packed orders, software that uses artificial intelligence to deliver instructions to warehouse packagers, and delivery route optimization software that uses real-time data to find the best route. In 2018, the company prevented nearly 300,000 kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere through efficient routing. also uses electric bicycles for deliveries in urban centres and is aiming to move towards electric-powered trucks as more become available. SHARING THE WEALTH Having been in online grocery for more than 20 years, spud is sitting on a lot of knowledge and leading technology. Now, the company wants to share its expertise with other grocers to help them become greener. Last year, spud launched Food-X Urban Delivery, a grocery delivery platform that allows local and national retailers to access its technology, warehousing,

Following Shoppers’ Lead: The Future of Retail in Canada Emprebancoop. Pedro Reales works in finca La Mirada, in the zona bananera of Santa Marta. © Fairtrade International/ Linus Hallgren

Grocery plays a major role in Canadian retail with major grocers holding the top five spots in the retail sector, according to a study from the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity at Ryerson University.


respondents associate Fairtrade with their personal values. grocery is in a good place now, there Incorporating more responsible and transparent sourcare signs of a shift on the horizon. With ing doesn’t have to be hard. Canadian grocers can look to a consumer market seeking socially and environmentally others for examples of how to increase trust and transparresponsible options, the face of retail in Canada is changency. Countries like the UK have seen a dramatic shift over ing. This is a critical time for grocers, and it represents an the last 10 years. Currently, one in every three bananas is opportunity to make the industry ready for the future. Fairtrade, and certified coffee and chocolate are commonAccording to Nielsen’s 2018 report Unpacking the Susplace throughout retail outlets. tainability Landscape, 73% of consumers say they would Here in Canada, Fairtrade products are taking up change their buying choices to reduce their environmental more shelf space with local retail champions like Choices impact. Another study titled Sustainability Sells: Linking Markets, The Big Carrot, Federated Co-op, and others. Sustainability Claims to Sales shows that sales of chocoFairtrade banana sales showed +33% volume growth late with fair trade claims are outpacing the category by a in 2018, and major banners such as Sobeys Quebec, whopping 12%. In Canada, interest in Fairtrade has resultFarm Boy, and Longos are leading the way. Sobeys ed in strong sales. The estimated retail value of Fairtrade recently expanded their Fairtrade flowproducts topped $456M in 2017, an iner offering, and Loblaws, Metro and crease of more than 16%, whereas the 73% of consumers say Costco now offer Fairtrade organic conventional market grew by just 2.7%. they would change house branded coffee. This indicates that consumers are Retail is changing. With the tangible striving to shop in line with their values, their buying choices effects of climate change and increased and they expect grocers to accommo- to reduce their date their needs. This means offering a environmental impact scrutiny of where products originate, this is your opportunity to improve your busivariety of products with attributes like ness and ignite consumer interest. Grocers across Canada organic, Fairtrade or locally-produced. Since products like have dipped their toes in the sustainability waters, but now coffee, cocoa, and bananas cannot be grown in Canada, more than ever it’s time to dive in. products that are Fairtrade certified provide a level of assurance that social and environmental standards are being John Marron is Director of Commercial Relations at Fairtrade followed. According to a 2019 Globescan study, more than Canada. He works with major grocery retailers, distributors, and half of Canadian consumers see the Fairtrade mark as an foodservice providers to grow the market for Fairtrade products in Canada. easy identifier of responsibly produced products, and half of

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–may 2019


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

By Shellee Fitzgerald

Grocers of all sizes are stepping up efforts to make their operations less wasteful

Unboxed Market

Waste has no place at Toronto's Unboxed Market THOUGH SMALL IN SIZE, THIS 1,500-sq.-ft. zerowaste grocery store, which opened in February, thinks big when it comes to sustainability. Nearly all products in the store are package free so customers are asked to bring their own bags or containers (or rent re-usable ones from the store) and encouraged to shop only for what they need (don’t need a dozen eggs? You can buy just one). “It’s very much how we used to shop,” says Michelle Genttner, who co-owns the shop with her partner Luis Martins. The couple previously ran restaurants, which opened their eyes to the problem of food waste. At Unboxed Market, Genttner says the aim of the business is “to operate as circular as possible,” which means minimizing waste and maximizing resources. As such, unsold fresh produce heads to the commissary (located in the basement) and gets used in the prepared dishes that appear on the hot


commissary and delivery services. To serve Food-X partners, spud opened a 74,000-sq.-ft. warehouse facility in Burnaby, B.C. to provide grocery delivery for local and national retailers. “We thought, if every grocery store has its own trucks on the road, are we really doing anything?” says van Stolk. “Spud has been delivering groceries online since 1997, so we have a lot of knowledge and we’re a world-class company in this space. We think our global impact will be bigger if we don't keep our expertise to ourselves. What’s going to impact the world is sharing and being transparent with what we are doing.” Food-X’s launch partner was none other than the world’s largest retailer. Walmart Canada is using the platform to service consumers in the Metro Vancouver area. Customers can shop on Walmart’s website or app and have their groceries delivered by Food-X. Van Stolk says the goal now is to expand Food X across Canada and globally. So far, feedback has been positive. “Retailers are smart. They’re looking at us and saying, ‘You have been delivering groceries since 1997 and you understand all the components of it. You created a facility that has five temp zones, a commissary and food waste management. Why do we need to reinvent the wheel?’” The next phase of Food-X is adding a biodigester at the facility that will process and compost organic waste onsite. “For all our partners, our goal is for this facility to be the most sustainable online grocery platform out there because we’re looking at the things that are truly important in the long run,” explains van Stolk. Focusing on the long-term health of the planet is something everyone at spud understands deeply. “We have amazing people who work for us who are passionate about sustainability and passionate about being part of the solution,” says van Stolk. “We actually just changed’s tagline to ‘Be part of the solution,’ and that’s a call to action. We don’t have to all sit on this bus that’s about to go off the cliff into the abyss. We can all do something about it.”

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The greening of grocery

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©2019 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.

The greening of grocery


As one of the biggest grocery players in Western Canada, Save-OnFoods takes its role in tackling food waste seriously



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EARLIER THIS YEAR, Save-On-Foods, which operates 170 stores in the West, joined other major grocers (Sobeys, Metro, Walmart and Loblaw) in making a formal commitment to take measurable action to prevent and reduce food waste by 50% in their operations by 2025, collaborating with National Zero Waste Council and Provision Coalition in the effort. “We’ve been composting perishable waste for a number of years, and we knew we could do better,” Save-On-Foods’ president Darrell Jones told Canadian Grocer. “So this new goal we have is to take the unusable food in our operation and put it to its best and highest possible use.” Save-On-Foods is taking a three-tiered approach to food waste diversion, with food banks at the front of the line for the surplus food. “We want food banks to be the first to get the opportunity for the food,” explains Jones, noting that donations now include fresh items (meat, produce, bakery deli) as more food banks—thanks to government funding—are now equipped with refrigeration systems that enable them to accept fresh food. Second in line for the surplus food (deemed not fit for food banks) will be farms, and food not taken by food banks or farms will finally be composted. Save-On-Foods has partnered with FoodMesh, a tech platform for diverting surplus food, and Loop Resource, a food rescue facilitator, to help achieve its ultimate goal: zero food waste going to landfill. “No question. [Food waste is] an urgent issue because it’s a huge problem,” says Jones. “And it’s clearly one that we, as a food company, have to tackle.”  CG­


table, rather than being tossed out. They also seek out local, like-minded suppliers such as The Spent Goods Company, which upcycles spent brewer's grains into bread and crisps. The store's butcher counter carries meats from local Ontario companies like Rowe Farms that promote sustainable farming. To reduce single-use packaging, Unboxed Market has a “detergent wall” where shoppers can fill re-usable bottles with shampoo or detergent. There are also olive oil and milk re-fill stations. By Genttner’s calculations, in about one month they helped divert about 1,000 plastic bottles from landfill. Working with suppliers to come up with less wasteful packaging solutions is also a part of Genttner’s job. Sometimes it takes a conversation with a supplier for them to understand what Unboxed is trying to do, she explains, pointing to a recent exchange with pasta maker Chickapea that led to the company providing another packaging format that Unboxed could accept. “You have to have the conversation or you never find the alternative,” says Genttner.

n i W E N

d o o f a Se to Sustainability GREEN OCEAN,

in its very name, suggests a vested interest in protecting the health and future of our supply sources globally. We value not only quality, but also a responsible approach to our products. This is why we consciously and actively source all our products from an accredited sustainable supply. Green Ocean has also taken this one step further by co-branding many of its products to include two levels of sustainability—we have an MSC/Ocean Wise Wild Fish program from Iceland and an ASC/Ocean Wise Shrimp program from Vietnam. Also look for specially-marked packages of Green Ocean products with our Seafood With Nothing to Hide stamp, available in Shrimp, Fish, and Scallop varieties. We aim to always keep our consumers informed, bringing awareness to “Clean” ingredients and processes for Green Ocean products.

Fish With Noth From the purest and most plentiful fishing grounds in the world. Green Ocean Seafood has partnered with the Icelandic Seafood industry for a sustainable line of raw, boneless and skinless frozen fish certified by Ocean Wise. Featuring five wild-caught species: Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Saithe, and Wolffish—and one land-based farmed species, Arctic Charr.

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petfood Better-for-you food isn’t just for humans — pet owners also want the best nutrition for their furry friends. And these days, product innovation adds more and more healthful choices in the pet food aisle. New choices in the dog food aisle Ongoing growth in Canada’s dog population (up from 7.6 million in 2016 to 8.2 million in 2018, according to the Canadian Animal Health Institute) is driving demand for more innovative and healthier products in the dog food aisle. We asked Geraldine Brouwer, owner of Big Country Raw, to talk about Hungry Hunter, a new raw and frozen dog food for the grocery market.

1. What is the concept behind your Hungry Hunter brand? Hungry Hunter was developed by Big Country Raw for grocery. We believe feeding our pets a species appropriate diet requires raw, fresh and nutritious ingredients. We take exceptional care to ensure our products are prepared following standards established for human grade food processors. Our extensive menu selection ranging from dinners with meat, bone, organ meat and fruit and vegetables, to pure formulas and blends, ensures there is something on our menu to suit all tastes.

3. What are the biggest sellers in your lineup of products? While we offer six meal varieties in four protein choices, our top sellers are chicken, turkey and beef. We also have a great selection of raw bones and our Flat Rib Bone is certainly a favourite for dogs of all sizes.

4. How should grocery retailers merchandise raw pet food? To be competitive in today’s pet food market, raw pet food is best displayed in a glass door merchandising freezer that can be designed to fit into the pet food aisle. Hungry Hunter offers beautiful retail-ready packaging that stands out in any aisle!

5. How can grocers educate customers about raw food in-store? Hungry Hunter offers in-store training for staff along with demonstration days for customers. Our packaging and information brochures also contain great tips and advice on feeding Hungry Hunter products.

2. What are the benefits of raw food versus standard kibbletype food? A raw diet provides a range of benefits that a commercially processed diet will never match. These benefits include increased energy, better breath and cleaner teeth, a thicker and softer coat that sheds less, reduction in common allergy symptoms like itching, redness and yeast overgrowth and most importantly - much smaller stools. Free of fillers, questionable ingredients and preservatives, a raw diet is more digestible.

Special promotional feature in Canadian GroCer–may 2019

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september 18 The International Centre || Mississauga || Ontario GOLD SPONSORS







Products, store ops, customers, trends



Pushing plants The plant-based trend is clearly here to stay. How can grocers make the most of this rapidly growing category? By Risha Gotlieb


hile most Canadian consumers still choose meat as their primary source of protein, plant-based proteins are gaining serious traction as interest expands beyond those who follow vegan and vegetarian diets. Recent figures from Nielsen show sales in Canada of plant-based proteins—which include meat and dairy alternatives, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds—grew by 4% to $1.7 billion in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 15, 2018. Who’s driving this growth? According to Nielsen, it’s the consumers opting for regular meat-free days and the meat eaters looking to reduce their consumption of meat. Forty-three percent of Canadians are actively trying to boost their consumption of plant-based foods, while 6.4 million eat meat-restrictive diets. Furthermore, it is estimated that 20% of Canadians plan to increase their intake of fish and legumes, and 15% plan to eat less meat. The top reason cited: “improve overall health and nutrition.” May 2019 Canadian Grocer


AISLES What’s more, the demand for plantbased foods is now getting a boost from the recently updated Canada’s Food Guide. One of the chief recommendations of the new guide is to “eat plantbased foods more often.” Even big meat companies are getting in on the plantbased action. In the past few years, Maple Leaf Foods has acquired two meat-free brands, Field Roast and Lightlife Foods, and it recently announced plans to build a US$310 million plant-based protein food processing facility in Indiana. For all these reasons and more, experts agree the plant-based protein movement is here to stay. “It’s happening in all categories, including desserts and ice cream, alcoholic beverages and ready meals,” says Vancouver’s Jordan Rogers, founder of Lloyd-James Plant-based Sales and Marketing, which acts on behalf of manufacturers to help retailers increase their assortment of plant-based products. Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy and senior director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, concurs: “It’s not just a small fragment of the market.” Plantbased foods are getting a big makeover, he adds, as producers put more research into replicating the taste and texture of conventional proteins. According to Rogers, the movement’s success hinges on offering “awesome-tasting” products. “We’re changing people’s perceptions through their taste buds.” DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO MERCHANDISING With so many plant-based products being launched into the market, which ones do you carry? And the more contentious question: where do you display them? For many years, vegan products were considered “niche” and grouped separately in the store. But in 2016, vegan protein company Beyond Meat ignited a change in the way we market meatless products. Its vegan burger—which is said to look, cook, and taste like an real beef patty—was the first to be displayed alongside packaged meats. Many grocers are now choosing this approach, especially as vegan products become more mainstream. Christy McMullen, co-owner of Summerhill Market in midtown Toronto, says she stocks the vegan cheeses, snacks, beverages and desserts in with their non-vegan counterparts. As for plant-based hot dogs, they can be found in both the vegan and


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

With so many plant-based products being launched into the market, which ones do you carry? And the more con­tentious question: where do you display them? meat sections of her store. And burgers? It depends whether they are fresh or frozen. Fresh-prepared beef burgers are sold in the meat case, says McMullen, “so the vegan burgers are not in the same section. But we do put [frozen vegan burgers] beside the frozen meat burgers.” Another approach is to sell plant-based products in the fresh produce section. “It’s a real destination and it has a health halo,” says Sandro D’Ascanio, vice-president of marketing and R&D at Hain Celestial Canada. D’Ascanio argues that if you stock meat alternatives in the meat section, you run the risk of alienating your core consumer, the vegans and vegetarians: “Although they make up a very small per cent of the population, their consumption of these brands and categories is very high.” Save-On-Foods in Western Canada and Metro Ontario are among the grocery retailers who have adopted this merchandising strategy. Metro Ontario houses its plant-based offerings in the produce department, including vegan burgers, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, ground meat, cheeses, and salad dressings. They do, however, also display their vegan burgers in the meat section. “It’s a reminder to our customers to pick up something for their vegan guests,” says Charles Buhagiar, Metro’s category manager, otc, Health and Wellness. Some categories do well when placed in different areas of the store, says Margaret Coons, founder of Nuts for Cheese, a vegan cheese company based in southern Ontario. “Because our product is in a unique category it sells really well when it’s in a variety of locations, including

the deli and natural foods sections,” she says, adding, “It helps that our cheeses are packaged in distinct, triangle-shaped boxes, which makes them easy to spot.” EFFECTIVE PROMOTIONS With health food specialty stores now saturated with plant-based products, the companies that make these foods will vie for growth within traditional grocery stores. Grocers, therefore, would be wise to leverage this and turn to manufacturers to invest in full-fledged promotional campaigns, from cross-merchandising to building endcaps to product sampling. Coons says close collaboration with her retail partners has helped to boost sales for her products. “Farm Boy featured our cheeses on its in-store pizza as a way to expand their vegan offerings, and Sobeys included us in their ‘Look for Local’ program.” When it comes to cross-merchandising,­ ­­grouping several plant-based options together “really communicates that you’re leading in this category,” says Hain Celestial’s D’Ascanio. And if you’re trying to attract mainstream consumers, “avoid words like meat-free, vegan, vegetarian, and healthy restrictive,” says Rogers. He uses U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury’s to illustrate his point. At one time the grocer offered its café customers “Meat-Free Sausage and Mash.” When it re-named the offer “Cumberland-Spiced Veggie Sausage & Mash,” sales increased by 76%. Flyers can also be an effective sales tool. In its flyers, Metro Ontario calls out the product’s attributes along with several offerings for meal solutions. “Our meat department features plant-based products on the meat page of our flyers and also supports with in-store features,” says Metro’s Muhagiar. He adds, “Product sampling is also encouraged with our vendors.” Summerhill’s McMullen offers an example of a successful product sampling she did recently. “We sampled our in-house-made vegan cream cheese with our non-vegan flat bread. We put it up against a dairy cream cheese so customers can see that there’s not much difference in taste between them.” Ultimately, retailers would do well to think outside the box for plant-based merchandising. “Try something new,” advises Rogers. “Excite your customers when they come into the store. Make their shopping experience easier.”  CG




As barbecue season begins, let’s turn our attention to the condiments and sauces that make those grilled creations truly sing. Whether it’s a hot dog topped with a traditional ketchup/ mustard combo, a Mexican-inspired veggie burger slathered with salsa, or chicken breast covered with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, sometimes the condiments are what really make the meal. This Nielsen data reveals how various condiments and sauces have been performing in the past year.


$ Vol % Chg


Units Vol % Chg



























































































$ Sales



1 Ketchup is still a big deal in condiments, with dollar sales growing by 6% to nearly $148 mil­lion in the latest 52 weeks ending March 2, 2019. 2 Mayonnaise (and spoonable dressing) is the top-selling category in this group, at nearly $242 million—but it’s the trendy flavoured mayo that’s really making gains with a whopping 35% growth in dollar sales.

MAISON RIVIERA VEGAN DELIGHT Plant-based yogurt made from coconut milk

CONDIMENTS  -  52 weeks, ending March 2, 2019


From meaty salads and vegan yogurts to baby finger foods, check out these new innovations hitting store shelves.













3 Is mustard starting to lag? The dollar sales for ketchup’s best buddy are down by 2% to $67 million, with unit sales inching down by 1% to 28 million. 4 The Mexican salsa, dips and garnishes category is second only to mayo on this list when it comes to total sales, with the category growing by 2% to exceed $204 million.

Quebec’s Maison Riviera has launched a plant-based yogurt alternative. Called Vegan Delight, this new line is made with coconut milk and comes in three fruity flavours: Pineapple and Coconut, Raspberry and Blackcurrant, and Mango and Passion Fruit.

BABY GOURMET FINGER FOODS Nutritious and easy for baby to eat Calgary-based Baby Gourmet launched two new plant-based puffed snacks that babies can feed themselves: Tomato Basil Slices and Carrot Sticks, both made from organic lentils and chickpeas. They’re rice and corn free, gluten free, dairy free and have no added sugar or salt.

BONDUELLE FRESH PICKED READY-TO-EAT SALADS Convenient, fresh and packed with protein Bonduelle’s new protein-packed, ready-to-eat salads come in five varieties including Greek Inspired with Chicken, Cobb Salad with Turkey and Bacon, and Santa Fe Style with Chicken. The “Fresh Air Seal” technology extends the salad’s shelf-life without preservatives.


May 2019 Canadian Grocer


The Wild Salmon Jerky from B.C.’s River Select is locally and sustainably produced


Snacks from the sea

Seafood-based munchies—particularly those with a focus on sustainability—are starting to make waves By Dilia Narduzzi CANADIANS ARE hungry for snacks. According to the Ipsos five Canadian Snacking Nation 2018 report, a whopping 67% of food consumption now happens outside of the traditional three meals a day. And with the rise in snacking, of course, comes an increased desire for variety in those snack foods. Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing, says “protein is hot button” at the moment so there’s a rise in meat snacks, in part, due to the “popularity of paleo, keto, grain-free, and pegan (paleo plus vegan) diets.” And although consumers have expressed a desire to eat more fish, many Canadians avoid traditional seafood fillets because cooking them can be intimidating, says McArthur: “It [fish] can be perfect one minute and rubber the next.” Put all of this together—a fear of ruining a good seafood dinner combined with the desire to eat more fish, a focus on lean protein for sustained energy, and


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

the predilection to snacking—and the emerging trend of seafood snacks makes complete sense. For several years, there have been products such as mini-canned tuna snack packs in a variety of flavours (spiced sriracha, sundried tomato, dill), popcorn shrimp, and seaweed-based snacks. But now, there’s an expansion in seafood snack offerings. While beef jerky and other meat-based snacks have been booming in recent years, consumers can now choose fish jerkies, for instance. Popular meat snack company Epic Provisions now offers dehydrated fish snacks such as Smoked Salmon Maple Fillet Strips and Maple Glazed & Smoked Salmon Bites. Meanwhile, U.S.-based Fishpeople has a new Wild Alaskan Salmon Jerky available in flavours such as Rainbow Peppercorn and Sweet + Smoky, in addition to its more traditional seafood product lineup, says Ken Plasse, Fishpeople’s ceo. “We created this unique jerky to bring

the benefits of truly wild protein to the snack aisle,” says Plasse, noting the company’s typical consumer is the millennial who is concerned with health and wellness. And all of Fishpeople’s products are sustainably sourced and traceable, something more and more consumers are looking for in their seafood-related products. “We source our fish from Marine Stewardship Council (msc)-certified fisheries; our supply chain is transparent and 100% North American, which means no mystery fish, guaranteed traceability back to the source, and more jobs in rural coastal communities.” River Select, a Canadian company owned and operated by a network of First Nations salmon fishing enterprises around British Columbia, is unique because its products come from B.C.’s First Nations river fisheries instead of the ocean, says business manager Dave Moore. Once salmon enters the rivers, their attributes change, he says—the colours of the fish change, becoming less oily and not as dense. “It becomes really hard to market a fish like that as a frozen, vacuum-packed fillet.” So, River Select redirects those salmon that don’t fit the fillet category toward their snack line. The company offers a locally and sustainably produced Wild Salmon Jerky, as well as candied pink and sockeye salmon—their biggest seller—which is sold in the frozen aisle (presently only in local B.C. stores; River Select is currently looking for Canada-wide retailers to distribute its snack products). QR codes on the products provide consumers with a guarantee of origin and information about specific fishery locations. What Fishpeople and River Select are doing with their labelling and sustainability isn’t necessarily market standard for seafood products in Canada yet, but today’s consumers definitely want to know where their food is coming from, says Moore. This is especially true when it comes to fish because it is “the most globally traded commodity there is” and not as easily traceable as chicken or beef, says Liane Veitch, Seafood Supply Chain Analyst at SeaChoice, a Canadian seafood sustainability watchdog organization. Other new and interesting entrants gaining attention in the seafood snacks category include SeaChips, a U.K.-based company that’s been getting tons of press for its innovative salmon skin




fmi’s recently released Power of Seafood 2019 report explored U.S. crisps—crunchy chips made from a part of the fish often thrown away during processing—and plant-based kelp jerky from U.S.-based Akua, popular with vegans. To make the most of the seafood snack upswing, retailers should consider adding more products like these to their assortment and once they do, inform customers of these items through promotions and sampling. While Whole Foods Market’s trends list for 2019 included “Marine Munchies,” the majority of Canadian retailers contacted for this story said they don’t yet carry many seafood snack offerings. “We do sell some salmon jerky, but it’s not a great seller at this point in time and not something our customers are asking for,” admitted Christy McMullen, co-owner of Toronto’s Summerhill Market, although she did say she planned to explore the trend further. It’s a trend at the beginning of its life that could grow rapidly—as soon as your customers know it’s an option.  CG

shoppers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviours regarding grocery, frozen and fresh seafood. Here are a few highlights:

42% of seafood sales come from fresh seafood, 39% is frozen, and 18% is grocery seafood (including shelfstable seafood in cans, jars, pouches, etc.)

87% of households purchase some sort of fresh, frozen or grocery seafood, but they only make 8.4 purchases a year, on average

69% of seafood consumers say their primary seafood store is the same as their primary grocery store, while 31% cite a different store as their primary store for seafood

62% of baby boomers are seafood consumers, compared to just 49% of millennials

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CHECKING OUT George Condon


Among the many changes grocers have had to adapt to over the last decade, the shift to more plant-based eating is undeniably a significant one GROCERS HAVE always faced change, and they’re becoming pretty nimble at grappling with it. Over the last 10 years, they’ve faced a barrage of challenges that have tested even the most adaptable of grocers. They’re not only facing competition from other mainstream grocers— they’re also duking it out with ethnic specialty stores, health food stores, drugstores that sell groceries, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, convenience stores, and, of course, online shopping. Ten years ago, few people would have anticipated the impact smartphones would have on consumer buying habits, yet the mobile phone has become a go-to shopping tool, whether it’s just browsing for info or for actual purchases. And who, 10 years ago, would have predicted the massive change we have seen in eating habits? From the rise in specialized diets and demand for more “free-from” products to the current plant-based eating boom, there are foods


May 2019 Canadian Grocer

showing up on grocery shelves that few would have predicted a decade ago. The plant-based trend, specifically, is on the rise wherever you look, including, perhaps surprisingly, at fast-food burger chains. Several popular burger chains in North America have successfully launched plant-based burgers, with the 2018 launch of A&W’s Beyond Meat Burger garnering much attention across Canada. The burger was in such high demand that the chain sold out of the vegan patties within weeks of the initial launch last summer. And it’s been such a success that A&W has recently launched the Beyond Meat Sausage & Egger on its breakfast menu. And now, grocers across Canada are able to get in on the Beyond Meat action, as the California-based company’s wildly popular plant-based burgers become available in major grocery chains across the country this spring. Popular introductions like this are all

due to changing consumer demands— but it’s not just about strict vegetarian or vegan diets; today’s consumer is more likely than ever to follow the “flexitarian” path, which means focusing primarily on veggies and plant-based proteins, but still occasionally eating animal proteins. This shift is leading marketers to aim plant-based products at people who might have a fully vegan dinner one night, but a steak dinner the next. It’s one thing to cater to vegans, but a totally different thing to cater to flexitarians in the grocery aisles. That said, brands and retailers should avoid the “flexitarian” jargon, says Laurie Demeritt, ceo of food culture consultancy the Hartman Group. “Flexitarian is very much an industry term. We rarely, if ever, hear consumers describe themselves that way,” she explains, in the April AdAge article, “How the rise of ‘flexitarians’ is powering plant-based foods.” Interestingly, while conversations about food used to be more about flavours and traditions, now there seems to be more of a moral element to the way we discuss eating, wrote Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy and senior director of the AgriFood Analytics Lab, in a Canadian Grocer blog last summer. “Today, we talk more about morals and values linked to how we consume food, simply because we can afford to do so,” he wrote. Indeed, the economy is relatively healthy right now and the unemployment rate is almost at an all-time low. The rise in more people choosing a vegan diet is linked to the strong economy, he argued. Regardless of what’s driving the trend, navigating the growing interest in plantbased foods is something all grocers must be on top of to stay competitive. Once grocers learn to compete on plant-based foods, their next challenge may be to face the rise of smartphone-based cashier-free stores already popping up. Just another challenge, in a decade full of them.  CG

George Condon is Canadian Grocer’s consulting editor. He’s based in Toronto.


Beyond Meat burgers are being rolled out at Canadian grocery stores this spring

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