Canadian Grocer November

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The frictionless future of payments Catering to keto shoppers  It’s back to basics at Nature’s Emporium



From top left:

Christian Bourbonnière  Cheryl Smith  Thomas A. Barlow


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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.


November 2019



Volume 133 Number 07


05 Front Desk 18 Shopper Sense 20 Eating in Canada 58 Checking Out

Meet the winners of the 2019 Golden Pencil Awards


16 The Buzz

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


10 Gus Klemos


The founder of Unbun Foods is putting the “un” in bun


13 Cybersecurity training 101

26  Take a stroll through Nature’s

Want to protect your business from cyber attacks? Shore up the weakest link: employees

Emporium’s newest location in Woodbridge, Ont.

14 Changing spaces

FMI research shows how grocers plan to evolve their space allocation


16 A smarter cart

39  It’s a new dawn for payments

Sobeys rolls out Canada’s first intelligent shopping cart

solutions, as shoppers seek faster and easier ways to check out


49 Drinking it in

From cool coffees to next-gen juice, we explore four beverage categories poised for growth

52 Keying in on keto


Keto is expected to be a $15-billion business globally by 2027. Is your store on board?


54 For the love of chocolate Check out these premium chocolate innovations

56 Savoury snack attack!

From jerky and pretzels to crackers and nuts, Nielsen data reveals how various snack categories have been faring

49 FOLLOW US ON @CanadianGrocer


Canadian Grocer Magazine @CanadianGrocerMagazine November 2019 Canadian Grocer


Congratulations Christian Bourbonnière, Tom Barlow and Cheryl Smith on your 2019 Golden Pencil Award!

from your friends at


Shellee Fitzgerald



Carol Neshevich

Gen-Zers are different from their predecessors and as they come of age, companies will need to make changes to appeal to this group


Kristin Laird


Josephine Woertman


George H. Condon


Derek Estey


Michael Kimpton


Alexandra Voulu


Lina Trunina


Valerie White


Vanessa Peters


Chantal Barlow


Jacquie Rankin


The business of grocery retail is undergoing unprecedented change. Time to embrace it!

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IF THERE’S ONE theme that keeps popping up at the retail industry conferences, trade shows and informal gatherings I’ve had the opportunity to to attend over the last few busy months, it’s change: how technology is changing the face of retail; how consumer behaviours are changing; what changes you need to make in your organization to attract and retain talent; how our food is changing; and, of course, how competition continues to change. All this change is not a bad thing. As Metro’s Christian Bourbonnière, one of our cover subjects, wisely tells us, “Always question what you’re doing.” What has worked in the past might not work so well today, let alone tomorrow. His strategy of always looking for ways “to do things a little differently” has clearly served him well in his more than 40-year career in the grocery industry, and it just may have something to do with his receiving the prestigious Golden Pencil Award this year (read more on page 31). In this issue we have many articles that touch on this theme of change. In our Aisles section (page 49) we take a look at the

changing beverage aisle where a new crop of premium drink categories are answering consumer demands for products that offer something beyond refreshment. We also look at changing diets, exploring the “keto wave” (on page 52). And in one of our feature stories, writer Rebecca Harris dives into the changing payments landscape (page 39) and what retailers will need to do to best serve tomorrow’s customers, especially the up-and-coming gen-Zers. As change expert Stan Goldberg wrote many years ago in Psychology Today, we can be frightened of change and resist it, “but fear of the unknown can result in a clinging to status quo behaviours.” In the retail world we’re facing, it’s becoming clearer that the status quo’s just not going to cut it. Time to embrace change!

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.


November 2019 Canadian Grocer



The latest news in the grocery biz


Marc Giroux

Eataly’s first Canadian location, a 50,000-sq.ft. “Italian marketplace,” opens in Toronto on Nov. 13


Eataly has announced a date for the grand opening of its first Canadian location. The “authentic Italian marketplace” will open its doors on Nov. 13 at Toronto’s Manulife Centre. According to Eataly, the 50,000-sq.-ft. location will offer more than 10,000 products, have seven food counters, four restaurants, a curated selection of ready-made dishes and an in-house brewery. Ottawa is home to another zero-waste grocery store. NU GROCERY opened its second location in the city at 143 Main Street in mid-October. The opening comes just two years after the debut of its first store in the city’s Hintonburg neighbourhood. RED RIVER CO-OP has revealed plans to open a new grocery store and pharmacy in Winnipeg’s St. Norbert neighbourhood. Flooding in early 2018 forced the closure of a Federated Co-op-managed Marketplace at the site, but the damaged building has been demolished and construction is underway on a 31,000-sq.-ft. Red River Co-op, which is expected to open in late fall 2020.


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

Jamie Nelson

Brenda Kirk

Paul Cope

Ben Harrack

Émile Cordeau

Organizational changes were also made at Save-On-Foods recently. Among the changes, JAMIE NELSON, formerly executive vice-president of retail, is now executive vicepresident, Save-On-Foods. And BRENDA KIRK has been promoted from vice-president of innovation and private brands to senior vicepresident of health, wellness and “our” brands. The grocer has also appointed two new vice-presidents: PAUL COPE has been promoted to vice-president of Save-On-Foods B.C., and BEN HARRACK has been promoted president of Save-OnFoods, Prairies. ÉMILE CORDEAU is Agropur’s new chief executive officer. Cordeau joined the dairy giant in 2013 and most recently served as its senior vice-president and chief financial officer. He took over the role from Robert Coallier in mid-October. Coallier will remain at the company until the end of the year to ensure a “smooth handover.”

Hormel Foods International has announced MAUREEN LILLY, the company’s vice-president of the Americas, is retiring at the end of fiscal 2019. Lilly joined Hormel in 2003 as marketing and sales manager, Canada. Lilly has also held positions at Kraft Canada, E.D. Smith and Unilever Bestfoods.


Christian Bourbonnière

Metro has announced some executive changes. CHRISTIAN BOURBONNIÈRE has been named president of Adonis Group. Previously, he was Metro’s executive vice-president and Quebec division head. (Read more on 2019 Golden Pencil winner Bourbonnière on page 31.) MARC GIROUX is now executive vicepresident, Quebec division head and e-commerce. Giroux joined Metro in 2009 and most recently held the role of senior vicepresident, Metro banner.



Canadian Grocer’s 2019 Star Women in Grocery winners were celebrated at an awards ceremony in Toronto on Sept. 18. The winners:


(Back row, L to R) Jana Sobey, Sobeys; Ratana Stephens, Nature’s Path Foods; Fran Mulhern, The Minute Maid Company of Canada; Anna Kolakowski, Metro Richelieu; Heidi Ferriman, Save-On-Foods; Angela Doro, Freybe; Tara Longo, The Healthy Butcher; Rosa Checchia, Parmalat Canada; Michi Furuya Chang, FCPC; Diane Brisebois, RCC; Michelle Benoit, Walmart Canada; Melanie Agopian, Loblaw; Sofia Thompson, Kraft Heinz Canada; Amanda Sztanek, Greenhouse; Tressa Scorziello, Longo’s; Cathy Roufosse, SaveOn-Foods; Sophie Ruel, Agropur; Valerie Mercier, A. Lassonde. (Front row, L to R) Linda Irvine, Pusateri’s; Carolyn Hungate, The Clorox Company; Kelly Herdin, Federated Co-op Ltd.; Tanja Fraser, UNFI; Amy Fox, Kimberly-Clark; Geneviève Dugré, Sobeys; Norma Boyle, Metro Ontario; Cindy Waytiuk, Red River Co-op; Heather Savidant, Sobeys; Bethany Roberts, Colemans; and Stephanie Harnock, Sobeys. (Turn to page 22 for more on Star Women in Grocery 2019.)

At its annual Langley Office Service Awards in October, SAVE-ON-FOODS celebrated the service milestones of 132 of its “rock stars”— team members marking milestones ranging from five years to 40 years working for the Western Canadian grocery chain. Twin brothers Terry and Tony Piwek (pictured right) had the distinction of being the longest-serving team members recognized at the event, each having racked up 40 years with the company. Terry, general manager of retail services and customer experience and Tony, general manager of e-commerce, both began their careers with the company at the former Cooper’s Foods banner in Kamloops, B.C. The Langley Office event is just one of many annual celebrations the retailer hosts. Each fall, every one of the company’s 176 stores holds its own Service Awards event, and in 2019, 1,880 team members were recognized for their service milestones. METRO honoured 18 of its managers and franchisee-owners at its 2019 Customer Experience Awards in late September. The recipients, from Quebec and Ontario, were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the business and efforts to improve store conditions. Among the winners: Richard Lamothe, manager, Metro Plus Messier Mascouche in Quebec and Brenda Mangel, manager, Food Basics in Kitchener, Ont. CAROL STEWART has received Food & Consumer Products of Canada’s 2019 Award of Distinction for her contributions to the consumer products manufacturing industry. Stewart started her career with Cadbury in 1986 and served as CEO of Kellogg Canada from 2009 until her retirement in August.

Twin brothers Terry (left) and Tony (right) Piwek pictured with Save-On-Foods president, Darrell Jones

Food Basics, Kitchener

November 2019 Canadian Grocer



CES 2020 , produced by

the Consumer Technology Association, will take place in Las Vegas from Jan. 7 to 10. For more info, visit The  National Retail  Federation’s Big Show

returns to New York City’s Javits Center in 2020, running from Jan. 12 to 14. Visit for info.  The Winter Fancy Food  Show , staged by the

Specialty Food Association, runs from Jan. 19 to 21 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. For details visit

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Empire Company Ltd. has partnered with the Canadian Olympic Committee to become the first-ever official grocer of Team Canada. “At Sobeys, we believe in the power of sport to inspire Canadians,” Michael Medline, Empire’s president and CEO said at a launch event in October. “We’re not just a company that sells groceries; we are a company that is intertwined with the everyday lives and hopes and dreams of Canadians, and sport plays a big part in the lives of Canadians.” Empire also unveiled a partnership with Hockey Canada that sees it become the exclusive partner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team.






Who you need to know

The Facts Who?

Gus Klemos Position

Founder of Unbun Foods What’s new?

Keto Buns now available at Mr. Sub restaurants across Canada; new burrito/tortilla wraps launching soon

PUTTING THE ‘UN’ IN BUN Gus Klemos is on a mission to bring tasty, low-carb breads to the world By Carol Neshevich Photography by Nikki Ormerod



us klemos will never

forget the date: Jan. 24, 2018. That was the day he quit his job as a sales director at a Toronto-based tech company to focus 100% on his startup food business. “I had a six-figure job. It was stable, it was growing, and I had a team I was responsible for,” says the founder of Unbun Foods. But in the months prior to quitting, he’d been working tirelessly before and after his nine-to-five gig to develop his startup’s first product—a tasty, low-carb bun—and get it off the ground. By January 2018, the buns were already being sold in three Toronto-area grocers (Wild and Fresh, The Big Carrot, and Noah’s Natural Foods); but when he received a purchase order from popular Toronto quick-serve restaurant Burger’s Priest, it gave him the extra boost he needed to take the leap. “I guess I’m prone to being a little bit impetuous. I love risk, and I bet on myself,” says Klemos. “And so far, so good.” Indeed, in less than two years Klemos has expanded the distribution of Unbun products from selling them at just three locations to more than 2,300 locations (in both grocery and foodservice) across Canada and the United States today. Unbun is currently carried by Canadian grocers including Loblaws, Whole Foods, Metro, Farm Boy, Federated Co-op, Longo’s, Choices, and soon Sobeys; while in the United States it’s in Price Chopper, Gelson’s and more. In September, Unbun announced its Keto Bun would be available to customers at Mr. Sub locations across Canada, and Klemos hints at a major announcement coming involving one of Canada’s largest pizza chains. It all began as a personal mission. Klemos wanted to find a low-carb alternative to a standard bun, but something more satisfying than the “lettuce buns” often offered at trendy burger joints. “I love bread—I’m Greek—but I know that when I eat bread regularly, it’s harder to control my weight,” he explains. Unable

to find an appealing solution, he took matters into his own hands. “I took to learning how to bake in advance of my 40th birthday. I think every one of my friends thought I was having some sort of a crisis or a meltdown, but I was like, ‘No, I’m going to do something with this; I’ve got something here!” And that “something” was his first product, the Keto Bun, which is certified keto (meaning it’s suitable for those who follow the popular low-carb/highfat diet), gluten-free, paleo and grainfree, featuring a simple ingredients list: almond flour, eggs, flax, coconut flour, psyllium, apple cider vinegar, and “paleo baking powder” made from cream of tartar, salt, and sodium bicarbonate. Klemos soon realized there was also demand for a plant-based Keto Bun, which meant removing the eggs and finding a feasible substitute—not an easy task. “The egg is a very unique gift in nature, in terms of how you can bake with it,” says Klemos, who notes he didn’t just want it to work in a technical sense, he also needed it to taste fantastic. “I took to figuring out how to recreate an egg in savoury baking … and after, say, 500 iterations, I finally came up with a recipe where I loved the Vegan Keto Bun. And, it ended up winning the gold medal at SIAL [Canada] for innovation.” Other Unbun products now include Keto Mini-Baguettes and Vegan Pizza Crusts; and Klemos has also developed new burrito/tortilla wraps that he plans to launch soon. “We’re really making better-­for-you bakery products,” he says, adding that feedback from customers has been positive, particularly among those interested in reducing consumption of things such as refined sugars, grains and starchy carbs. “People who eat paleo, people who eat keto, they’re buying this stuff like crazy.” Klemos is grateful to be able to do what he loves for a living. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be, at the age of 40 years old, quitting a career job and starting a business that [would] actually become successful.”  CG

GUS KLEMOS What do you like most about your job?

I get to make products that I love, products that I think help people, so the level of fulfillment that I get in what I do is amazing.

What are the greatest rewards of being an entrepreneur?

When I had my nine-to-five job, I remember I would need to prepare myself before I would walk into the office every day. There would be this moment where I would have to take a deep breath before I’d open that door. It was a great opportunity; I was making good money to live my life and be able to do the things I liked, but I didn’t want to be there. So when you’re an entrepreneur, you have an opportunity to make a living doing what you love, and that’s the greatest gift.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I’m a pretty intense person and I’m prone to getting all over the place pretty quickly, so meditation in the morning really helps keep me focused. I also do a bunch of different workouts—I live downtown and I go to a number of different group exercise studios. I like to spend time with my girlfriend, and I enjoy seeing my family in London, Ont.

Aside from Unbun products, what’s your favourite food to eat?

Pizza. No question. I love a good Margherita pizza.

November 2019 Canadian Grocer



Retailers, suppliers, shoppers, insights



Cybersecurity training 101 Protect your business from cyber attacks by shoring up the weakest link: employees By Rebecca Harris


s the threat of cybercrime continues to rise, many companies are deploy-

ing advanced cybersecurity technologies to fend off attacks. However, their biggest security risk could be within their own walls. People-based cyber attacks, such as malware and phishing, cost Canadian companies an average of $12.1 million in 2018, according to the 2019 “Cost of Cybercrime” study by Accenture and the Ponemon Institute. Globally, six in seven companies (85%) experienced phishing and social engineering cyber attacks in 2018—a 16% increase over 2017—and three-quarters (76%) suffered web-based attacks. The fallout from cyber attacks is far reaching. “All it takes is for one employee to click on a malicious link or attachment and the entire company could be brought to a halt from ransomware,” says David Greenham, vice-president at accounting and consulting firm Richter. “Depending on how good or bad the organization’s November 2019 Canadian Grocer


IDEAS data backups are, this could result in lost revenue, lost productivity, loss of customers and damaged reputation. In some extreme cases, the company could actually go out of business if they can’t recover their vital data.” With employees increasingly getting duped by cybercriminals, there’s clearly a lot of work to do. While 75% of Canadians feel they are prepared to handle cybersecurity attacks in the workplace, 60% say they have not received any form of cybersecurity training, according to the “The Digital Citizen” study by IT solutions provider Scalar Decisions. “Traditionally, cybersecurity in organizations is treated as a technology approach—they feel the easiest way is to deploy a solution and then they don’t have to worry about their employees,” says Theo Van Wyk, chief technology officer at Scalar. “But the reality is the majority of breaches that we see today involves the human element ... The hackers realized a long time ago that the employees themselves, as people, tend to make mistakes.” Greenham believes cybersecurity awareness training is one of the most important initiatives a company can adopt. “Humans are often called the weakest link in the security chain, which makes it vital that they receive proper training on how to identify and report threats or potential security problems,” he says. Attackers often target employees using social engineering to get the desired response from them, such as clicking on an attachment or providing the attacker with information they otherwise shouldn’t have, he adds. “Awareness training can help employees be more skeptical and think twice before clicking on those links or attachments, and to question when a request doesn’t feel quite right.”

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HUMANS To prepare for a cyber attack, businesses need to arm their employees with the skills and knowledge to recognize and report threats. Here, cybersecurity experts offer their training tips: Make it relevant: Cybersecurity training should be tailored to employees’ specific job functions. “We see a lot of generic training material out there and it doesn’t always hit the mark,” says Van Wyk. “Make sure employees in roles that leverage sensitive data, for example,


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

have training that’s tailored for them to understand the threats they may be facing and how to use the tools that are available to them.” Don’t set it and forget it: “Some companies may do [training] as a one-off effort, but it should be something that’s done year over year to reinforce the message,” says Greenham. He says employees should be trained at the time of hire and then participate in annual refreshers to keep security top of mind. Train for different environments: Whether it’s online, email or the cloud, employees should be aware of the risks specific to each environment. “There needs to be an understanding of how employees should interact with different devices and different environments,” says Ali Ghorbani, professor of computer science at the University of New Brunswick and director of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity. “They have to be knowledgeable enough to know where and how to click, which websites they can go on, and which websites could be compromised or phishing websites.” Make it engaging: As serious as cyber attacks are, awareness training can incorporate a bit of play to make it more engaging for staff. For example, employees can be assigned a score based on how well they do in their training, and on an ongoing basis, they can earn scores for reporting certain threats and attacks. “It creates a community of security awareness ... as opposed to just training and a certificate goes on a cubicle and people forget about it until the next training session,” says Van Wyk. Don’t over-train: “There is a danger in over-training,” says Van Wyk. “If you train too much on the same type of content, people just become stagnant, they start ignoring the threats.” While training frequency may look different at each company, Greenham says, “You have to draw the balance between bothering employees too much and not enough.” Stay on top of threats: New threats emerge all the time and it’s important to inform employees as quickly as possible. “Give them the digested version so they know how to deal with it,” says Van Wyk. “For example, if there’s a new phishing email that is seeing significant success, it’s understanding why is that attack so successful and what are the key things that I can train my employees on to detect and avoid that.”


Changing spaces AS CONSUMERS’ EATING AND SHOPPING habits continue to evolve, grocers are responding by changing up the way they allocate space, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) “The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2019” research. “In the food retail world, nothing is as good an indicator of category momentum as space allocation. In this important metric, some 89% of retailers are planning increases in the allocation for fresh prepared, graband-go sections in the next two years, taking advantage of shoppers’ demands for meal solutions,” said Leslie Sarasin, FMI’s president and CEO in a recent webinar hosted by the institute. Here are other categories anticipated to gain more space at grocery stores (figures below indicate % of retailers planning to give these categories more space):

63% Fresh produce


Deli/Fresh prepared self-serve bars and buffets


Online fulfillment


Diet-focused foods—paleo, keto, gluten free


Meat substitutes And private brands continue to gain traction, said Sarasin, with food retailers indicating they plan to continue growing investments in private brands, with 56% of companies expecting to give more space and SKU allocations to these products over the next two years. The survey captured responses from more than 100 U.S. and Canadian food retailers, representing 36,000 stores.

®Reg. TM/MD McCormick Canada.


A smarter cart ONE OF THE greatest points of customer friction at the grocery store is the lineup at the checkout. To improve this pain point and at the same time make shopping a little more fun, Sobeys is testing a high-tech shopping cart at its Glen Abbey location in Oakville, Ont. According to Sobeys, it’s the first intelligent cart to hit the aisles at a Canadian grocery store. Powered by New York-based tech firm Caper, the Smart Cart scans and weighs products as customers place them in the cart. It displays a running tally of purchases as the customer shops, and allows them to pay on the spot with the cart,

making the checkout process quick and easy­—no waiting, no lineups. Sobeys says it plans to evolve the cart to include additional features using artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. The cart’s screen, for instance, will eventually help customers navigate the store to complete a shopping list, highlight promotions and make product suggestions. The cart is also expected to evolve from “scanning” product to “identifying” product. Each cart has numerous high-resolution cameras that can capture 120 images per second as products are put in the cart, allowing the cart to learn

how to identify each item. Sobeys says customers will eventually be able to just add items to the cart without having to enter any information or scan barcodes. Customer feedback will help shape improvements and additions along the way, according to the grocer. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to evolve the grocery shopping experience,” Sobeys’ vice-president of retail support, Mathieu Lacoursiere, said in a release. “During the Smart Cart pilot, we will engage with our customers in real time to better understand what inspires them and adds value to their shopping experience throughout the store.” CG

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Sobeys rolls out Canada’s first intelligent shopping cart


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Carman Allison


Companies that ditch sexist stereotypes and focus more on lessening women’s loads will win wallets FOR EVERY AD featuring strong women and girls, there’s the inexplicable product marketed specifically to women—even though it doesn’t have to be. From household cleaners to snacks, some brands are creating unnecessarily gendered versions of products and often charging women more for it. The spotlight on this practice, which is referred to as the “pink tax,” is growing hotter. And it’s leaving the door wide open for new brands to make waves by openly calling attention to pink-taxed items, challenging sexist stereotypes,

primary responsibility for daily shopping, household chores and food prep. As a result, they’re also the primary purchaser for everyday household items. But taking on this second, sometimes third job means women have additional demands each week and less time to meet them. This makes women one of the largest opportunities for convenience-led technologies and services. But convenience is not the only chance for brands to make a significant difference in the lives of women. More than half (61%) of women in North America believe that they are worse off or about the same financially, compared with where they were five years ago. While “about the same” might appear positive, a flat income does not help offset rising costs of things such as food, childcare and other costs of living. When shopping online, women are more likely to want risk-free guarantees and convenience. For example, free delivery for online shopping from Tuesday through Thursday particularly appeals to women in North America. Women are also more likely to be interested in receiving notifications when an item ordered is out-of-stock, as well as when products come with money-back guarantees. Despite financial, work and time pressures, women are laser-focused on living healthier, better lives. They aren’t willing to compromise on their health. How do women interpret what’s healthy? They

For brands to succeed today, they need to find ways to address the challenges women face. Comprising half of our pop­ulation, women are key influencers in Canada empowering underprivileged women and creating products that put the comfort and desires of women—rather than society’s expectations—first. For brands to succeed today, they need to find ways to address the challenges women face. Comprising half of our population, women are key influencers in Canada. The reality is that women still shoulder most of the household responsibilities. On average, 72% of women in North America say they have shared or


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

are more likely to scrutinize the items on the shelf than men, looking for transparent labels and for companies that are open about where their products come from and how they are produced. The gender gap is especially large in North America, where 67% of women are reading labels to determine if a product is healthy, compared to 48% of men. So what does this all mean for manufacturers and retailers? It means shifting gender norms are swiftly moving from minority to mainstream, especially in markets dominated by working-age millennial consumers. That said, gender bias remains commonplace in modern-day advertising, and both men and women are noticing. Stereotypes that might have been acceptable just a few years ago now elicit a cringe. While cultural norms vary, it is critical that brands communicate the important role men play in women’s empowerment and equality journey— from encouraging and defending inclusivity in the workplace to sharing the load at home. Patronage is increasingly contingent on a true understanding of a woman’s needs and reflecting her reality on screen, on the shelf and in the store. And brands that are getting it right—be it through social responsibility, sustainability, health or convenience—will continue to win wallets. Those that don’t change fast enough won’t. In short, brands and retailers that focus more on how they can lessen the load off women’s shoulders and less on the colour of their packaging will earn more of this consumer’s dollars.  CG

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






Noel Hayward and Justin Schley of Quality Foods



total impressions/mo.


AUDITED* unique visitors/mo. For more information and advertising inquiries, please contact: Associate Brand Director, VANESSA PETERS 437.889.0446 *AAM, ALLIANCE FOR AUDITED MEDIA


Kathy Perrotta


The post-pot snacking occasion is shaping up to be a budding growth opportunity HAVE YOU EVER wondered if devouring a bag of chips, ripping through a jar of pickles or indulging in an entire box of chocolates post pot-intake is a real thing? One of the main things people associate with recreational cannabis use is the onset of the “munchies.” There are even some well-documented neuroscience-­ based theories that support this often referenced behaviour. Given the milestone passing of the first year of legalized recreational cannabis use in Canada, where overall cannabis usage has hit the 16% mark (up from 3% post legalization), Ipsos can now confirm that the munchies phenomenon is occurring in a sizeable and targetable fashion. Robust findings from Ipsos FIVE daily tracking of consumption habits, situational dynamics and motivations reveals almost three-quarters (73%) of Canadian cannabis consumers are snacking during post-pot moments and

opting for a wide and varied assortment of foods and beverages within three hours following recreational use. While snacking is an ingrained behav­ iour in almost all Canadians’ daily eating patterns, this new occasion will no doubt expand as recreational cannabis consumption increases, providing an interesting growth opportunity for Canadian businesses. Not surprisingly, cannabis snackers are slightly more likely to be males between the ages of 25 to 34 years, though there is solid development among all consumer cohorts under age 50. Munching mania peaks between 9 p.m. and midnight, with over-development on Thursday and Saturday evenings. Top foods and beverages consumed on munching occasions include a wide variety of both traditional snack foods and beverages as well as non-traditional options that satisfy needs for hunger,

SATISFYING THE MUNCHIES Top over-developed items consumed at snack following recreational cannabis use* TRADITIONAL SNACKS



Chocolate Potato chips Frozen novelties Tortilla chips Candy

Pizza RTE cereal Sandwiches French fries Waffles/French toast/ Pancakes

Carbonated soft drinks Beer Specialty coffee Wine Energy drinks



November 2019 Canadian Grocer

indulgence, craving, taste and experience. These munchers also seek bold flavours that are both sweet and spicy, and they are far less concerned about health or guilt during these moments. Items that are easily available or accessible and ones that require virtually no preparation are also influencing these consumers’ choices. These demands are presenting an opportunity for foodservice. In fact, almost one in five (18%) munching moments are sourced from foodservice establishments, with late night goodies more often sourced from easy access drive-thrus as well as online delivery services. While there is already a clear correlation between cannabis and food consumption, the legalization of edible products (on October 17) marks a new chapter in this relationship. A recent Ipsos poll confirmed that most Canadian cannabis users (70%) admit they have already sampled a cannabis edible or drink, with the overwhelming majority (82%) confirming that their last consumption experience was a positive one. While legal edible or beverage products will not be available to consumers until December 17 (taking into account the mandatory Health Canada new product review period), perhaps the organic connection that already exists, given our current intake patterns, will put edible product launches in a good position to hit the ground running. Undoubtedly, as the Canadian market continues to green, manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators who are well-positioned to capitalize on Canadian munching mania will have budding growth potential in the future.  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 does gen-Z mean for our workplaces? Gen-Zers differ from previous generations—and we can learn a thing or two from them


whole new generation has arrived and is entering the workforce; let’s get to know gen-Z. By the numbers, they make up a third of the world’s population. It’s undeniable that they’re going to make a huge impact on the world, the economy, and the workplace. Anticipating this, Network of Executive Women (new), in collaboration with Deloitte, recently released its Generation Z Report. Based on data from more than 1,500 gen-Z respondents, the report separates the myths about gen-Zers from the facts, and takes a deep dive into how members of this generation will impact our workplaces. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT GENERATION Z?

Most of us aren’t total strangers to this rising generation. Many of us have—or until recently had—gen-Zers in our homes. In fact, my own children are gen-Zers and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve found this generation so fascinating: the world they know is vastly different from the one that I came up in. They grew up totally immersed in technology, they watched their parents struggle financially during the most devasting


Gen-Z is the gener­ ation most likely to demand a shift in the power dynamic between employees and employers points of the 2008 recession and, as they’ve grown, they’ve been cognizant of the rising cost of living and of higher education. What I love about the findings presented in this report is they give a three-dimensional and nuanced look at who gen-Zers are and how they think about the world of work. Some of the key findings:

• Gen-Zers don’t want to be put into a box: One key difference between gen-Zers and past generations is that while they’re willing to sacrifice some level of personal fulfillment for financial stability, they aren’t interested in a job that puts them into a box. They want to expand their skills and actively seek opportunities to do so. • Gen-Zers are diverse … and they care about diversity: Gen Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history, but they’re also diverse in their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. They prioritize diversity and look at it as more than just a box to be checked. • Gen-Zers care about education: GenZers consider a traditional four-year college education highly important and are quickly becoming the most educated (and indebted) generation in history. One of the most interesting findings is that gen-Z is the generation most likely to demand a shift in the power dynamic between employees and employers. The report predicts that shrinking talent pools, combined with the need for next-generation skills, will put incoming employees in a position to ask for the things they want out of the workplace. Gen-Zers don’t want to start their own businesses or work from home like the millennials who preceded them. What they do want is to lend their skills to companies that offer them flexibility and the chance to act entrepreneurially in personalized—rather than cookie-cutter—roles. These young people are attracted to opportunities that will keep them interested while allowing them to continue developing their skills. Many gen-Zers look to tech as an industry where they can attain these things. Out of the 1,500 surveyed, 51% of

respondents ranked tech as a top industry to work in. Interestingly, only 34% of gen-Z females seek technology roles, compared to 73% of gen-Z males. This will certainly have implications for tech companies aiming to bolster diversity among their ranks. Organizations wanting to attract young talent are going to need to change their approaches to hiring, developing, and retaining their workforce. They’ll also need to focus on creating diverse and inclusive workplaces and they may even need to create latticed career paths with multiple work formats or introduce internal marketplaces to match projects to needed skills sets. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM GENERATION Z?

I have thought a lot about the impact gen-Z is having on the world of work. There is something very admirable, to me, about following one’s interests, staying true to one’s beliefs, as well as asking for what one wants in life. At work, too. Those are the hallmarks of this new generation, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what they will bring to the workplace. I can’t help thinking that we, as women, can learn a lot from this generation. There’s something so powerful about being confident in your needs and being brave enough to voice them in your workplace. Asking for what we want could be the key to attaining gender parity. Without speaking truth to power and demanding what we want, drastic change won’t come. Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing nearly 13,000 in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at Visit to download the Gen Z report.


November 2019 Canadian Grocer


the 2019 star women in grocery awards

were celebrated on the morning of Sept. 18, at the International Centre in Mississauga. The grocery industry came out in full force in support of this year’s winners. “We are so thrilled that all 29 Star Women winners from across Canada could join us this morning to receive their award and appreciation from their teams and the industry,” said Shellee Fitzgerald, Editorin-Chief, Canadian Grocer. To ensure that exceptional women at all levels are being recognized, this year’s awards were handed out in three categories: Store Level Stars, Rising Stars and Senior Level Stars. “It is important that we highlight passion and dedication at all levels. From store level to corporate head offices, women are making a difference in this industry,” said Vanessa Peters, Associate Publisher, Canadian Grocer. Keynote speaker Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing, inspired the crowd with her personal stories and life lessons as she stressed the importance of “Always Diving into the Deep End.” This year’s Star Women panel was once again moderated by Tony Chapman and provided an inspirational discussion between Jana Sobey of Sobeys, Sophie Ruel of Agropur, Heidi Ferriman of Save-on-Foods, Carolyn Hungate of The Clorox Company, Anna Kolakowski of Metro Richelieu, and Tanja Fraser of UNFI. The panel highlighted some of the key lessons they have learned throughout their careers and the importance of camaraderie, listening and promoting wellness in the workplace.

“It is important that we highlight passion and dedication at all levels. From store level to corporate head offices, women are making a difference in this industry”


2019 STAR WOMEN IN GROCERY WINNERS Bottom row, from left to right: Linda Irvine, Pusateri’s Fine Foods, Carolyn Hungate, The Clorox Company, Kelly Herdin, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., Tanja Fraser, UNFI, Amy Fox, Kimberly-Clark, Geneviève Dugré, Sobeys, Norma Boyle, Metro Ontario, Cindy Waytiuk, Red River Co-op, Heather Savidant, Sobeys, Bethany Roberts, Colemans, Stephanie Harnock, Sobeys


Top row, from left to right: Jana Sobey, Sobeys. Ratana Stephens, Nature’s Path Foods, Fran Mulhern, The Minute Maid Company Canada, Anna Kolakowski, Metro Richelieu Inc., Heidi Ferriman, Save-On-Foods, Angela Doro, Freybe Gourmet Foods, Tara Longo, The Healthy Butcher, Rosa Checchia, Parmalat Canada, Michi Furuya Chang, Food and Consumer Products of Canada, Diane J. Brisebois, Retail Council of Canada, Michelle Benoit, Walmart Canada, Melanie Agopian, Loblaw Companies Ltd., Sofia Thompson, Kraft Heinz Canada, Amanda Sztanek, Greenhouse, Tressa Scorziello, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets, Cathy Roufosse, Save-On-Foods, Sophie Ruel, Agropur, Valérie Mercier, A. Lassonde



how do we advance future leaders in the

grocery industry? This question was posed to more than 120 mentors and mentees at the Star Women Mentoring Lunch, hosted by Kraft Heinz and Canadian Grocer on Sept 18th at the International Centre in Mississauga. This group mentoring session brought together Star Women Award winners and mentees from across the industry to discuss topics such as fear of failure, imposter syndrome, what makes a great leader and enhancing networks, to name a few. Attendees were also treated to an inspiring talk from Vivek Sood, Executive Vice President, Related Businesses for Sobeys, Inc., who emphasized the importance of mentorship and diversity in the workplace. “The industry has been asking us to grow the Star Women in Grocery Awards, and this year we are proud to introduce this new addition to Star Women with our partner Kraft Heinz,” says Vanessa Peters, Associate Publisher, Canadian Grocer. “A big thank you to our mentors and mentees for taking time out of their busy day to have these important discussions that will help men and women advance their careers in this great industry.”

A THANK YOU TO OUR 2019 STAR WOMEN MENTORS: Carla Anger, Kimberly Clark • Mary Dalimonte, formerly of Sobeys • Lisa Jones, Sleeman Breweries • Josianne Légaré, A Lassonde • Jenny Longo, Longo’s • Tara Longo, The Healthy Butcher • Jo-Ann McArthur, Nourish Food Marketing ­• Christy McMullen, Summerhill Market • Sheila McRae, Kraft Heinz Canada • Fran Mulhern, The Minute Maid Company • Krista Payne, Sobeys • Kathlyne Ross, Loblaw • Shannon Skinner, Metro  • Sofia Thompson, Kraft Heinz Canada • Liz Volk, Longo’s SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE


Presented by

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2019 CANADIAN INDEPENDENT GROCERS OF THE YEAR! SMALL SURFACE CATEGORY GOLD AG Valley Foods, Invermere, BC SILVER Freson Bros., Hanna, AB BRONZE Lakefield Foodland, Lakefield, ON MEDIUM SURFACE CATEGORY GOLD Safety Mart Foods, Chase, BC SILVER Freson Bros., Barrhead, AB BRONZE Métro Plouffe de Farnham, Farnham, QC LARGE SURFACE CATEGORY GOLD Freson Bros. Fresh Market – Fort Saskatchewan, AB SILVER Save-On-Foods, Whitehorse, YT BRONZE Longo's Ajax, Ajax, ON DAVID C. PARSONS AWARD OF EXCELLENCE IN SPECIALTY FOOD RETAILING GOLD Choices Market – Yaletown, Vancouver, BC SILVER Choices Markets White Rock Team, Choices Markets White Rock, South Surrey, BC BRONZE Meinhardt Fine Foods - S. Grandville, Vancouver, BC





November 2019 Canadian Grocer

In a world where more and more retailers are steering us online to shop, Nature’s Emporium has gone back to basics by creating a physical space where shoppers want to gather—in-person! enter this latest Nature’s Emporium


Photography by Tobi Asmoucha

location in Woodbridge, Ont., and you’ll find Juiceppe’s Organic Juice Bar and Cafe offering cold-pressed organic juices and smoothies—with an impressive array of healthy snacks, too. It’s the perfect introduction for what awaits throughout the rest of this 21,000-sq.-ft. space: a mecca of healthy foods and natural products in an atmosphere that lends itself to conversation. “We really want to be a place where people can grab an organic meal and talk to each other in a non-intimidating space,” says president and co-founder Joe D’Addario, who has been heading the family-run, independent retailer since its inception in 1993. “In this day and age, the term ‘brick and mortar’ has taken a negative connotation, but we don’t see it that way. We see it as a place of community where the experience to connect with one another, face to face and heart to heart, nourishes us in a way that online shopping could never match.” (Nature’s has an active social media presence, too, and offers digital flyers so shoppers can keep on top of specials and store news.) D’Addario says the juice bar (which has a walk-up window that opens an hour before the rest of the store) is a natural meeting hub that helps to create a community feel. Having a gym right next door also means there’s a steady stream of customers stopping in for a healthy lunch, snack or dinner to-go option from Nature’s Emporium’s extensive hot tables and salad bar. Here you’ll find large pots of quinoa, brown rice and soups made in-store, along with a variety of freshly prepared vegetables and daily fish and meat specials to fit vegan, keto, paleo and other dietary preferences. November 2019 Canadian Grocer


STORE PROFILE Joe D’Addario, president of Nature’s Emporium, and director of health and wellness Miranda Malisani

Even the stone-oven pizzas are made using an organic spelt or gluten-free crust, and the all-organic salad bar features interesting add-ons such as kimchi. Opening last November, Woodbridge is the fourth and most recent addition to the Nature’s Emporium family of stores, which span from Newmarket and Maple to Burlington. It’s the only location with a juice bar, and D’Addario says this first year has proven so successful, they’ll be launching a similar concept in all future locations. More than other locations, he says the demographic for this latest iteration of Nature’s skews towards the health-conscious millennial set, although customers span all ages. “Ultimately, our customers are health conscious and looking for the newest products to help them on their wellness journey.” Beyond the juice bar and fresh bistro, a big draw is the natural and organic bulk food section. It features dozens of varieties of grains, flours, sugar alternatives, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, along with nut butters freshly ground on the premises. There’s also a huge selection of gluten-free foods, supplements, herbs and body products. The design of the store itself also aims to promote a fresh, healthy living space. Modern wood signage amidst a colour palette of fresh yellows and greens provides an ideal canvas to promote a bevy of colourful fresh—and often locally sourced—items. D’Addario worked with

in-house designer Emilie Dennis, who is the creative force behind the look of all Nature’s Emporium locations. “She is originally from France and brings that European style to our stores,” he says. But more than anything, D’Addario says the heart of all Nature’s Emporium locations is education. Woodbridge is no exception. “People often ask us what business we are in, and I tell them we are in the food business where we provide natural and organic foods and products, but really our focus is on education and providing a supportive environment with professional and knowledgeable staff to empower our customers to make informed decisions,” he says. True to its word, Nature’s Emporium features in-store “Living Room” spaces to host healthy cooking classes and a variety of educational seminars led by staff and local health and wellness experts. Topics have covered everything from raising healthy kids and women’s issues to gut health and weight-loss tactics. “We have certified nutritionists and naturopaths here, and our employees are always learning about products from suppliers who do training sessions over lunch, so they can share that knowledge,” he says. Customers can also book a free store tour with one of several registered holistic nutritionists on site who will share nutrition tips and provide expert advice on product options for food allergies and special diets. With a large natural

Nature’s Emporium is filled with carefully curated natural food products, supplements, vitamins, body and home care products


November 2019 Canadian Grocer


The Woodbridge location is the only Nature’s Emporium with a juice bar, but it’s been so successful they plan to launch others

cosmetic section in the store, there’s also a makeup artist for free consultations on the best products to take care of your skin. “We owe a lot of our success to the people who work at Nature’s Emporium, because they are the ones who look after everyone else,” says D’Addario. “My priority as president is to ensure our team members are happy and healthy so that we can offer positive energy to our customers.” With a reputation for knowledgeable staff, it’s no surprise that Nature’s Emporium is a place where suppliers want to be. “When someone comes out with a new product that’s organic, we’re one of the very first companies they call,” says D’Addario. “We support the young entrepreneurs, especially when they’re local, and they support us by coming in and doing sampling and education—we don’t just throw the products on our shelves.” As a result, the store is filled with carefully curated product displays featuring the latest and greatest in natural food products, supplements, vitamins, body and home care products.

Customers can also look to “Miranda’s Picks” throughout the store and in every flyer for a selection of ethically sourced, allergen-free products carefully chosen and tested by Nature’s Emporium’s director of health and wellness Miranda Malisani, who is also a holistic nutritionist. After a successful first year in Woodbridge, and some 26 years in business overall, Nature’s Emporium is proving that independent brick-and-mortar grocers can stay relevant, even in the digital age. But that’s only when they’re willing to evolve, says D’Addario. “We started as a bulk food store that sold vitamins and, over the years, we have evolved into what we are today,” he says. “The real secret to our success is listening to our customers and then providing them with a place where they can learn about living a healthier, longer life.” As for future plans, D’Addario says Nature’s Emporium will keep expanding at its own measured pace. “We grow very organically, pardon the pun, so we’re in no big rush.”  CG

Whether it’s the bulk section, meat section or cheese selection, Nature’s Emporium maintains its strong focus on health

The Golden Pencil Awards ceremony is coming up on November 19 in Toronto


2019 Golden Pencil winners By Shellee Fitzgerald and Carol Neshevich

A grocery exec at the top of his game, a cpg vet now advocating for Ontario’s dairy industry and the former head of a group that champions independent grocers— these are the three outstanding recipients of the 2019 Golden Pencil Awards. The prestigious awards have been presented by the Food Industry Association of Canada since 1957 to recognize individuals who have made lasting contributions to the Canadian food industry and their communities. Read on to learn more about this year’s impressive winners: Christian Bourbonnière, Cheryl Smith and Thomas A. Barlow. November 2019 Canadian Grocer


COVER STORY at an early age, Christian Bourbonnière

Christian Bourbonnière Previously Executive Vice-President and Quebec Division Head, Metro Currently President Adonis Group


November 2019 Canadian Grocer


knew he wanted to work in the food in­dustry. After all, it was kind of the family business, as his father operated a grocery store, a fruit store and even a restaurant at different points. “My dream was to have my own store,” he says, then adds with a laugh, “but things turned out differently.” While Bourbonnière didn’t end up with his own store, his career of more than 40 years has been a steady ascent, from working the checkout at Dominion Stores on weekends to becoming an executive vice-president and head of Metro’s Quebec Division to his new role as president of Metro’s Adonis Group. “[With] each position I had in my career, I had a passion for it, because I always learned something new,” he says, proudly noting that he “didn’t skip any steps” along the way. Describing himself as naturally curious, Bourbonnière says throughout his career he has always sought to do things a little differently. As a produce buyer at Provigo in the 1980s, for example, he sought new ways to buy products that involved working more directly with suppliers and opening doors to countries beyond the United States and Canada. As a merchandiser, he looked for new ways to get shoppers to buy more produce. “It’s important to always question what you’re doing,” he says. “Sometimes we think that because something [worked before] it should still work; but working like that, one day you’re going to face a wall.” Generously, Bourbonnière credits much of his success to the teams that have helped him grow and that have supported him throughout his career. And the advice he would offer those coming up in the industry? “Don’t be afraid to have people around you who are stronger or have better experience in some segment of the business. It’s how you form the best teams,” he says. “It’s always about the team around you.”


COVER STORY hard work has always been part of

Cheryl Smith’s DNA. While she didn’t grow up on a farm herself, she credits her farming relatives for instilling in her the work ethic tied to farm life. “I think I was 13 when I got my first part-time job, and it wasn’t because my mom and dad told me to get a job, I just did it,” she says. “I can’t remember not having a strong work ethic, or not knowing the value of education or the value of hard work.” This can-do attitude has clearly worked for Smith. Right after graduating with a master’s degree from the University of Waterloo, she was hired by Unilever in 1990, where she worked in marketing for seven years before taking on a brand development role with Rogers. She moved on to Lactalis Parmalat Canada in 1999, where she would spend two decades, quickly moving up the ladder joining the executive team by 2006 and becoming general manager of cheese & tablespreads, fine cheese & yogourt in 2016, overseeing a billion-dollar portfolio. Among her other accolades, Smith was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Power­ful Women by the Women’s Executive Network in 2012 and won a Canadian Grocer Star Women in Grocery Award in 2018. Smith left Parmalat in June, but is by no means slowing down: she’s now CEO of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, while simultaneously pursuing a longheld goal—completing the management program at Harvard Business School. Smith says one of the most gratifying parts of her career has been her work with industry associations and charitable organizations. Being on the board of the Grocery Foundation and Kids Help Phone has been a particular source of pride. “I love grocery's capacity to do good. It’s really hard to dwell on competitor and customer issues when you’re all working together to either feed hungry children or answer the phone when children are in crisis,” she says. “It’s important to find a way to give back.”

Previously General Manager, Lactalis Parmalat Canada Currently ceo of Dairy Farmers of Ontario 34

November 2019 Canadian Grocer


Cheryl Smith

Christian Bourbonnière


Golden Attitude Wins Golden Pencil METRO congratulates Mr. Christian Bourbonnière on a lifetime of dedication to the Canadian Food Industry. For 45 years, Christian’s approach has embodied METRO’s values of integrity, humility, rigour and results. His in-depth knowledge and positive attitude have inspired both his fellow workers and the company as a whole to greater heights. Christian has always put METRO’s interests before his own, and this, combined with his passion and instinct for our industry, defines him and makes him the outstanding leader he is. Christian, the METRO family congratulates you on your Golden Pencil Award.

G olden P encil O u t s t a n d i n g S e r v i c e Aw a rd


Thomas A. Barlow

President and ceo, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (Retired) 36

November 2019 Canadian Grocer


“ you could almost say I was born into the business,” Tom Barlow jokes, recalling his first brush with the food business when, as a young lad, he would tag along when his dad went to work at Canada Dry Bottling in Toronto on weekends. When he was old enough, he got his own job at the company, working there during summer breaks from school. That temporary gig turned into a 36-­ year career at the beverage company (which would eventually be acquired by Coca-Cola in 1989). By the time he retired from Coca-Cola in 2013, Barlow had completed every kind of task, from warehouse work to driving to sales. Later on, he was deployed to the United States to rack up some experience in that market before being appointed head of the Canadian business unit and, ultimately, vice-president vending and wholesale for North America. “I think one of the reasons I was able to move forward is that I never shied away from the tough assignments,” says Barlow. “I looked for sections of the business that were broken and where I could make a difference.” Barlow jumped at the chance to lead the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) in 2013. “When John Scott retired as CEO, it was an opportunity. I knew the industry and I wanted to come back to Canada.” Last year, after five years at the helm, Barlow retired from CFIG. Barlow credits his father for helping form his approach to leadership. “My father believed everybody in an organization plays an important role, whether it’s the person working on night sanitation or the president. Everybody has their role to play and when everybody does their role, the organization works better." When asked what advice he’d give to up-and-comers, Barlow is quick with his response: continue to learn. “I’m a big believer in lifelong learning. The skills you have today aren’t necessarily going to be the things that are going to make you successful tomorrow. You have to continue to adapt and improve.”  CG


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A frictionless future It’s a new dawn for payments solutions, as shoppers seek faster, easier ways to check out


By Rebecca Harris


ne day , in the not - too - distant

apps over the same time frame. Globally, payments experience,” says Sangeetha future, we’ll look back on the old days 83% of consumers agreed mobile wallets Chandru, partner, retail strategy and when people carried leather wallets and are more convenient than cash. transformation practice at Deloitte Canhad to fish around for a card to insert The 2018 “Canadian Payment Meth- ada. “To a large extent, the characterisin a checkout device, or dig for coins ods and Trends” report by Payments Can- tics of an ideal payments experience are and dollars to pay for things with cash. ada contends there is a steady migration around it being completely frictionless Advances in technology and digital inno- away from legacy payment methods such or seamless. For example, ride-sharing vation—along with consumer demand as cash and cheques. “While traditional companies and others have enhanced for easier ways to pay—are transforming forms of payment still comprise the the concept of invisible payments—you the payments landscape. For tomorrow’s majority of Canadian payments, there don’t have to touch your wallet, card or shoppers, traditional payment methods is fast growth in the number of transac- phone to transact. That is the best kind just won’t cut it. tions using newer channels ... including of payment experience because it reduces In fact, more than half of Canadians e-wallets, contactless technology and the customers’ barriers to buying.” (52%) doubt whether they’ll need cash e-commerce portals,” the report states. Jonathan Magder, Canadian payments to shop in two years’ time, according to As the payments space accelerates its lead at Accenture Strategy, also stresses the 2018 “Lost in Transaction” study by march to the digital future, retailers need the importance of hassle-free payments. Paysafe, a payments solution company. to think about how they can evolve their “In the time-starved, on-demand world The report says contactless was initially payment solutions to meet the needs we live in, consumers are becoming the main beneficiary of this trend, but of consumers in the future. Payments increasingly demanding on retailers for mobile wallets and other alternative experts agree that regardless of the tech- a more frictionless experience—both payments are quickly gaining ground. nology at play, the name of the game is in-store and online,” he says. “While In Canada, 33% of retailers without “frictionless,” meaning less hassle, more payment method is not typically top mobile wallet payments want to add this speed and greater ease. of mind for a consumer, it is still a key method by the end of 2020, while 30% “If I can be a bit tongue in cheek, I will moment within the overall shopping are interested in adding mobile payment say a great payments experience is a no experience.” Ignoring it, he adds, could

November 2019 Canadian Grocer



result in a poor customer experience and shopping cart abandonment. A recent survey on Canadians’ shopping preferences from Interac bears this out. It found that 75% of Canadians have stepped away from an in-store purchase because of a long checkout line, and 52% tend to avoid entering a store if they see there is a long line. In addition, 60% of Canadians said they are less likely to return to a store if they can’t pay the way they want to pay. “Consumers want to pay more quickly, easily and securely, using the payment method they prefer. If they can’t, they will simply go elsewhere,” says Nader Henin, director of digital payments at Interac. “The survey shows that not only is the payment experience important to consumers, it translates to a stronger importance to retailers as well ... It is clear to us that a bad payments experience could impact a business’s bottom line.”

China: China’s retail giant Alibaba

is at the global forefront of new payments technology, harnessing facial recognition, mobile apps and more, according to the firm PSFK. On Alibaba’s Singles Day shopping event last November, 60% of customers paid by taking a selfie or scanning their fingerprint, according to Alipay, Alibaba’s digital wallet. But for some consumers, facial recognition is akin to getting a bad driver’s license photo. In July, Alipay added beauty filters to its “pay-with-face” systems after complaints from users that they look ugly when they scan their face to pay.

Sweden: Sweden has always

been at the forefront of payments innovation. In 1661, it was the first country in Europe to accept banknotes. Fast-forward 362 years to March 2023, when Sweden stops accepting cash as a means of payment— becoming the modern world’s first cashless society. For the past few years, almost all purchases have been made electronically via debit/ credit cards or mobile. The country is currently developing and testing a digital currency called e-Krona. taking a page from Sweden, Amazon is making it easier for its customers to pay with cash. In partnership with Western Union, the online retailer has introduced Amazon PayCode in 20 countries (not Canada). In September, Amazon PayCode was launched in the United States. At checkout, customers select Amazon PayCode as the payment method, and then visit a Western Union location where they pay with cash. The order is then shipped to the customer’s delivery address.


November 2019 Canadian Grocer


United States: Decidedly not

GET READY FOR THE DIGITAL GENERATION Paying attention to the payments experience is especially pressing as generation Z comes of age. According to Paysafe’s Q2 2019 consumer research, 40% of Canadian 16 to 24 year olds have used a mobile wallet, which is above the global benchmark of 34%. Gen-Zers also favour the convenience of contactless, with around half (48%) preferring to shop in a store with NFC-enabled contactless payment, compared to chip-and-PIN only. “Gen-Z is a bellwether of where payments preferences are heading next,” says Daniel Kornitzer, chief business development officer at Paysafe. “The first generation comprised of true digital natives are ready adopters of new payments technologies—from contactless to mobile wallets.” Most significantly, gen-Z is heralding the shift from e-commerce to m-commerce (mobile commerce), adds Kornitzer. Forty percent of 16- to 24-year-old Canadians prefer to shop online using a mobile device, compared to only 23% of gen-X and just 11% of baby boomers, according to Paysafe research. They’re also more likely than older shoppers to use alternative payment methods. For example, over a quarter (26%) of Canada’s gen-Zers have used an online cash replacement tool versus only 16% of all other generations. Biometric and cryptocurrency pay­ ments are also areas where gen-Z is at the vanguard in terms of uptake and

interest, notes Kornitzer. While these payments are far from widespread, 16- to 24-year-old Canadians are interested in experimenting with them, with close to a third (29%) predicting they will make a crypto purchase within a couple of years. “However, despite gen-Z’s tech preferences, it would be a mistake to assume that this generation is dispensing with traditional payment methods completely,” says Kornitzer. “Canada’s oldest payment method—cash—is still used regularly by 78% of gen-Z.” There’s no denying that cash is on the decline, though. Payments Canada is a non-profit organization that owns and operates Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure. Its research shows younger consumers are moving away from cash at a higher rate than other Canadians. A recent survey found that a quarter of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 have stopped using cash for low-price purchases, compared to 17% of all Canadians. And 70% say they’re willing to move away from cash in favour of other forms of payment, compared to 62% of all Canadians. Looking at the 18 to 24 gen-Z crowd, 74% say they have paid using contactless in the last week. “We’re also seeing that



they’re making online purchases more frequently, using game consoles to make purchases and using virtual currencies more than the average Canadian,” says Viktoria Galociova, economist at Payments Canada. “We can see that gen-Z really wants choice in their payments and they’re quick to adopt payment instruments that are new.” HOW TO WIN IN THE NEW PAYMENTS WORLD While younger consumers are driving change, the right payments strategy for grocery retailers is one that offers choice to all customers. “Whether it’s online or in-store, retailers need to provide shoppers with choice so that consumers have the payments method that suits their personal preferences,” says Paysafe’s Kornitzer. While cash may not be king in the future, Kornitzer thinks retailers should certainly retain traditional payment methods such as cash. “But they should also ensure that their traditional payment capabilities feature the latest technology to offer shoppers a frictionless payment experience that is defined by speed and convenience.” Accenture Strategy’s Magder notes that

a number of retailers continue to expand payments ecosystem is easier said than their self-checkout capabilities with tradi- done. Interac’s Henin points out that tional checkout-style kiosks or via mobile every retailer wants to know the upfront device. But with any technology, grocers cost to implement the new systems and should consider how it will impact the technology needed to accept the paycustomer demographics and mindsets ment option, and the cost for internal they serve. “For example, self-checkout employees to support those new paycan be a great experience for shoppers ment options. Retailers “don’t want serwishing to purchase only a few items, vices that impact the bottom line or the but not necessarily for those with a full efficiencies of their employees.” cart,” he says. “I myself have abandoned While the financial challenge is real, a full shopping cart at a grocery store retailers should reframe their thinking and because a particular location favoured turn this challenge into an opportunity. self-checkout machines, with only a few “Payments is largely regarded as a cost cashier-attended lines that were at max- driver ... and they believe this is the cost of imum capacity.” doing business,” says Deloitte’s Chandru. Offering consumers choice is imper- “However, payments is one of the data-rich ative for the e-commerce space as well. sources of customer information available Kornitzer notes that Canadian e-com- today. And there is a ton of contextual merce sites tend to offer shoppers a more information retailers can gather about a limited choice of payment methods. person around their purchase.” According to Paysafe’s 2018 research, So, retailers should be asking this quesU.S. online merchants offer an average tion instead: How can I leverage that data of 4.2 payment methods, while those to create a more personalized experience in Austria offer 4.9, with both exceed- that offers customers something that is ing the 3.9 methods available at Cana- uniquely differentiated? “I think we have dian online retailers. “However, online to shift our thinking and the muscle that Canadian retailers recognize the need to we are used to,” says Chandru. “Today, offer more choice,” he says. “Our 2018 the thinking is that payments is about research revealed that, on average, mer- cost. Tomorrow, it needs to be that paychants want to add two new online pay- ments is a strategic enabler.”  CG ment methods by the end of 2020.” Of course, transforming a retailer’s


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Food and beverage brands are looking to score with football fans gearing up for NFL’s marquee game


re you ready for some Super Bowl sales? While the actual game is what brings football fans together, the snacks and sips are the main attraction. With the big game just around the corner, food and beverage brands are gearing up for one of the strongest sales periods of the year. Frank’s RedHot—the official hot sauce of NFL Canada—is one brand expecting sales to heat up. In fact, Super Bowl is the most important season in terms of sales for the year, says Deborah Sharpe, marketing director of Frank’s RedHot Canada, which is owned by McCormick. She also notes that the Canadian hot sauce category during last year’s Super Bowl season grew 8% in dollar sales, according to Nielsen. “Frank’s RedHot is the country’s favourite hot sauce,” says Sharpe. “That’s because it is the perfect blend of flavour and heat, making it a great add for any food, and why our tagline is: ‘I put that S#!t on everything!’” Of course, chicken wings are a major vehicle for hot sauce and other seasonings. “Buffalo chicken wings are definitely a top favourite for game day food,” says Sharpe. “Buffalo chicken dip and Buffalo chicken nachos have also been popular recipes for Frank’s RedHot.”

The brand is rolling out a multi-faceted Super Bowl campaign centered on the idea of elevating game day foods. At the retail level, floor displays and shelf racks will be leveraged for out-of-section merchandising. Shelf talkers will feature a new contest where customers can win one of 100 custom Frank’s RedHot kegs with hot sauce. The contest marks both Frank’s RedHot and NFL’s 100th anniversary in 2020. The brand will also promote its online recipes through digital, social media and search. Of course, it wouldn’t be a big game party without beer. In the Ontario grocery channel this year, Sleeman Breweries saw +88% growth in the month (January) leading up to the big game versus last year. Its mainstream brands, Sleeman Clear 2.0 and Sleeman Original Draught, grew +66% versus the previous year, and Sapporo grew 109%. “There is a strong consumer base that is shopping for their tried-and-true mainstream brands in bigger volumes leading up to this key sporting event,” says Jessica Embro, The Beer Store and grocery key account manager at Sleeman Breweries. As for the growth of Sleeman Clear 2.0, she says perhaps with all the extra snacking around, game day consumers want to cut calories and carbs where they can.





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For Frank's RedHot - the official hot sauce of NFL Canada Super Bowl is the most important season in terms of sales for the year.

“We do anticipate more consumers choosing grocery for their beer purchases leading into the big game and other winter sporting events due to steady growth of the channel not only in volumetric sales, but also in the increased number of authorizations to sell beer,” she says. “Consumers are getting used to the convenience of purchasing their beer along with their groceries, all in one stop.” On the snack-food front, Reese is hoping to win over chip-loving sports fans of all stripes. During key playoffs series this year, the brand promoted its new Sweet & Salty Reese Popped Mix—a blend of Reese Peanut Butter Cup Minis, Reese’s Pieces peanut candy, pretzels and chocolate-drizzled popcorn. With the tag line, “mix things up,” the brand created a national marketing campaign including We know that TV spots, online video and social media to po- sports fans have sition the product as an routines and alternative to “boring” rituals when it snacks like chips. “We know that sports comes to game fans have routines and time, and this includes their rituals when it comes to game time, and this snacks. includes their snacks,” says Michelle Circosta, marketing manager, Snackfection & Oh Henry! at Hershey Canada Inc. “We want to encourage snacking sports fans to fully embrace the excitement of game time and bring that excitement to their snacks... Our mission is to inspire sports fans to mix things up and upgrade their game-time snack.”





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Products, store ops, customers, trends



Drinking it in From cool coffees to next-gen juice, we take a closer look at four beverage categories poised for growth By Carolyn Cooper


very day, Robin Sukhram hears customers asking “what’s new?” in the beverage section. “Then I see their jaws dropping, and it’s a good feeling to know that we’ve actually gone out and sourced items for them to discover,” he says. Sukhram is store manager of McEwan Yonge & Bloor, the McEwan Group’s 17,000-sq.-ft. store located at one of Toronto’s busiest intersections. “Overall, we’ve seen a pretty good success rate in our drink category,” says Sukhram, adding that the store’s largely millennial, knowledgeable clientele are seeking healthy, high-quality products with grab-and-go convenience, presented in new and surprising ways. Beverages that go well beyond refreshment now act as meal replacements, and consumers are turning to drinks as a fast and easy way to meet their daily nutrient needs. “The way we look at beverages has really changed,” says Jo-Ann McArthur, president of Nourish Food Marketing. “We now see beverages as possible snack or November 2019 Canadian Grocer


AISLES meal replacements, and they’ve taken an expanded role in our lives. So, it’s okay to go into meetings or lecture halls with a drink in your hand, and that never used to be the case. The younger you are, the higher the need for portability.” Consumers today want beverages that fulfill a range of requirements. “There’s such a quest to explore and experience what’s new, particularly among younger consumer segments,” says Ipsos vice-president, market strategy and understanding, Kathy Perrotta. According to Ipsos research, the “top over-developed needs prompting new beverage innovation choice” are: hydration; it’s healthy and nutritious; it doesn’t make me feel guilty; it’s pure and natural/made with real food ingredients; it fits my diet; it feels like an ethical choice; it helps me recover after physical exertion; it’s premium, with high-quality ingredients; it’s fresh or less processed; it makes me fit in; and it’s cool, fashionable and trendy. Here, we take a closer look at four beverage categories with high-growth potential: ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees and teas; beverages promoting digestion and gut health; innovative hydration; and next-generation juices such as raw and cold-pressed juice.

Cool coffee and tea Coffee and tea consistently top lists of consumers’ preferred beverages, so it’s no surprise the category was an early adapter to RTD formats. That said, sugary specialty coffee concoctions and artificially sweetened iced teas have given way to craft-style cold brew coffee and iced herbal teas with wellness benefits. “RTD coffee is small but growing,” says Perrotta, adding the category now represents 0.8% of commercial beverages in overall “share of throat” (CB share of throat)—a percentage of all beverages consumed in an average day—at grocery, a 0.4% jump from 2018. “[It is] also playing a really big role in our robust snacking behaviour as a nice indulgence between meals that’s tasty and satisfying but that also offers energy and satiety.” Station Cold Brew Coffee was one of the first Canadian RTD cold brew coffees to hit grocery shelves in 2013. The


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

company uses organic, fairtrade coffee, which is brewed in cold water for 18 hours then infused with nitrogen, making Station Cold Brew less acidic and bitter than some canned coffees. Even without dairy, and just five grams of organic cane sugar, the coffees are “smoother and cleaner tasting” than higher-calorie rivals, says co-founder Mitchell Stern. “It’s a permissible energy boost— we like to use the term guilt-reduction.” As the cold brew category moves to mainstream, producers are widening their offerings by adding fibre, protein and dairy alternatives. “Oat beverage is quickly becoming quite popular and is expanding outside of the milk alternative category and showing up in other beverages, such as being combined with cold brew coffee to make lattes,” says Rob Luscombe, senior buyer at Whole Foods Market. “We are also starting to see mushrooms and adaptogens show up in beverages such as RTD teas.” Non-traditional iced teas packed with functional benefits include Spruce Tip Tea (a citrusy blend of wild harvested spruce tips and organic honey) from B.C.’s GnuSanté; and That Dam Tea, an iced blend of black tea and damiana, a herb native to Mexico, with 25 mg of caffeine. “Damiana has traditionally been used for a wide variety of uses. We use it as an enlivening tea,” explains Tyler Steeves, founder of That Dam Tea and owner of the brand’s parent company, Longevity Ventures. Station Cold Brew also recently released Cascara Sparkling Iced Tea, produced from the shell of the coffee bean—something that had previously been discarded or used for livestock. “It’s high in nutrients, has a ton of antioxidants and potassium, and we’ve carbonated it so it’s sparkling,” says Stern. The 355-mL cans, with about 50 mg of caffeine per can, come in original, lemon and grapefruit varieties. Because many of these beverages will be unfamiliar to customers, Luscombe says in-store demos are key. “Demos that provide information about the unique features of these products also

help to facilitate the education that’s required to get new consumers to trial.”

That gut feeling Kombucha, a fermented tea made with probiotics, has been consumed for centuries as a digestive aid and health restorative. It’s been on the market in the natural health channel for almost a decade, and as it finds a space in mainstream grocery, brands are battling it out for attention. “Beverages are looking even more medicinal in terms of consumers wanting more out of them for their health,” says Perrotta. “Gut health is the largest metabolic reason people choose a beverage, but there are others growing in prominence. The biggest opportunity in the future will be this notion of personal wellness.” Ipsos figures show kombucha now represents 0.7% of CB share of throat, up 0.3% since 2018. When Montreal’s Rise Kombucha launched in 2008, the drink was new to grocery. “Buyers didn’t know where to place us in the store,” recalls David Côté, co-founder of Rise Kombucha and LOOP Mission. “Within the last four years, way more products have started to appear, so now there’s a kombucha category and fridge in most stores.” Rise comes in eight flavours, including new Lychee & Jasmine, and Orange & Turmeric. “Citizens want to be healthy, but they don’t want to compromise on taste,” says Côté. “Kombucha tastes amazing; it’s fizzy, fun, you can mix it with alcohol, and you still get all the nutrients out of it.” Tonica Kombucha is produced in craft-style batches from certified organic ingredients, slow-fermented naturally without any synthetic probiotics or vinegars to maintain the live yeast and probiotic. “We have customers who buy it for the health benefits, and others who drink it because it’s low sugar, it’s natural and they like the taste—it tastes a bit like a soda,” says the Toronto-based company’s founder Zoey Shamai. The six varieties are available in 350-mL bottles, with top-sellers—blueberry, ginger and peach—also available in one-litre bottles. The company’s new line of Supertonics pushes the boundaries of kombucha, with fruit blends like Goji Grapefruit and Turmeric Lime.

AISLES “Right now, there’s an oversaturation of kombucha brands in the Canadian market, and grocers are seeing that it’s really cannibalizing,” says Shamai. “A lot of brands will probably fall off in the next few years, and those of us who have a really good customer base, great flavour and authentic benefits, we’ll stay.” Mike Dziadyk, space and category management director at Quality Foods, says kombucha is the largest-selling segment of its functional beverage section. The chain, which has 13 stores on Vancouver Island, offers standalone fridges dedicated to innovative and local beverages, including kombucha. “People are also realizing that some brands have a fair amount of sugar, so we’re also bringing in sugar-free kombucha, which I think will do well.”

Hydration-plus “As we’ve seen sodas fall off, we’ve seen a huge rise in functional water,” says Nourish’s McArthur. “There’s such a trend among consumers to be hydrated and to have more functional benefits in your refreshment.” Some functional waters currently on the market contain caffeine for energy, collagen for healthy skin, melatonin to promote better sleep, activated charcoal to detoxify, and alkaline waters as a source of electrolytes. “This time next year, we could also be seeing a whole generation of CBD beverages that are going to espouse new benefits,” adds Perrotta. Functional waters now hold 0.7% of CB share of throat (up from 0.4% in 2018), according to Ipsos, while sparkling water makes up 2.2%. “Part of the success of sparkling water is that it’s a better way to get the bubbly,” says Perrotta. “Sparkling water also comes in when we talk about enjoyment and permissibility.” Because younger demographics are drinking less alcohol, McArthur says they’re instead searching for unique beverages like sparkling and flavoured water to take with them to celebrations (in lieu of things like champagne), and to display on social media. TreeWell Sparkling Oak-Infused Maple Sap by Longevity Ventures is a non-­ alcoholic, “uniquely Canadian champagne for people who don’t drink,” says

Steeves. A 750-mL bottle of TreeWell comes adorned with a handmade coaster. With manganese, zinc and iron, TreeWell has “a subtle yet sweet maple flavour. It has the nuance of a good wine, and yet it’s also refreshing,” he says. GnuSanté’s 52° North Birch Water is made with 100% pure B.C. birch sap, which is naturally high in antioxidants, electrolytes and protein. “But really the exciting part is the phytonutrients that come directly from the tree,” explains co-owner Sarah Wall. While GnuSanté supplies many sports teams and professional athletes, Wall says “the broadest group of consumers are people looking for a plant-based hydrator that is healthier than the alternative, both physiologically and environmentally.” 52° North Birch Water is available in an unflavoured variety, as well as four flavours containing 95% sap and 5% organic juice: cranberry, cucumber, blackcurrant and raspberry. A ginger variety is due to launch next spring. McArthur says “sampling and tasting is always believing in this category,” and McEwan’s Sukhram agrees: “Because there is quite a bit of the market that is uneducated on the benefits of these products, we promote sampling, tasting and demos.” Packaging plays a role, too. “A lot of smart companies are educating consumers on the package,” explains Sukhram. “So, I look for products with information on the package to help push the consumer with purchasing.”

Drink your fruits and veggies Consumers already recognize the benefits of drinking their daily fruit. What they may not be familiar with is the cold-pressed process, which extracts juice without using heat, preserving more nutrients and flavour from the raw produce. These juices combine superfruits, vegetables, spices and a host of immune-boosting nutrients. Although Ipsos research shows premium raw and cold-pressed juices comprise just 0.5% of CB share of throat at grocery, that’s likely to grow. “People are definitely moving towards cold-pressed and

raw juices just for the health and nutrient value of it, and if you can get your full serving of vegetables in a drink, it makes it pretty convenient,” says Dziadyk. At Quality Foods, shoppers from age 25 to 45 are often “looking for quick morning nutrition, so they’re grabbing a cold-pressed juice and away they go.” Dziadyk admits that when the beverages first hit the market, the price point was surprising for some customers. “When they first see an $8 juice on the shelf, it’s going to raise some eyebrows, but as they become more popular people are realizing exactly what it is they’re paying for, and they’re willing to pay for it.” “Sustainability also plays a part in our beverage choices,” adds Perrotta, noting this is particularly true in the juice category and with younger consumers. “Grocers can’t forget that they want things that are good internally and externally.” Sustainability is at the heart of LOOP Mission; its LOOP Juices are made with fruit and vegetables diverted from waste by Montreal produce wholesaler Courchesne Larose. “They throw out more than 16 tons of fruit and vegetables every single day for a variety of reasons, including ripeness and aesthetics of the produce,” explains Côté. “Compared to any other business model in the juicing world, we don’t have to aim at the less-expensive product to make our juices profitable. It allowed us to disrupt the market a bit when we launched in 2016. We forced our competitors to bring the prices down, and we opened the market to a wider audience.” It also means LOOP can offer 12 flavours, as well as seasonal varieties, featuring ingredients that are often too expensive to include in commercial juices such as fennel, yellow pepper, pineapple, parsley, turmeric and jalapenos. Each bottle of LOOP contains 1.5 kilograms of produce. Perrotta expects to see additional global flavours appear in the premium juice category, especially as consumers become more adventurous in their beverage choices. “Given consumer sensitivity to sugar, we’ll likely see different spices like cardamom and gingers, and there’s a real opportunity for savoury beverages.” November 2019 Canadian Grocer



Keying in on keto Keto is expected to be a $15-billion business globally by 2027. Is your store on board? By Chris Powell jill van gyn launched her high-fat,

low-­sugar peanut butter company, Fatso, from the back of a Victoria, B.C. health food restaurant in November 2016, selling about $50,000 worth of product in the first year. Three years later, Fatso is sold in more than 1,200 stores coast-to-coast, and includes three SKUs: Classic, Cocoa, and Crunchy Salted Caramel. Originally developed for the cross-fit community, Fatso has benefited from the skyrocketing popularity of the keto diet, whose followers eschew carbohydrates in favour of so-called “good fats” and protein. “I didn’t realize I was on a keto wave until I was on it,” says Van Gyn. “I got really lucky because keto started to explode into the mainstream.” Van Gyn expects to do about $2.2 million in business this year, while a recent listing with


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

Whole Foods Market stores in Washington and Oregon is expected to push sales to nearly $7 million by the end of 2020. About 4% of Canadians responding to a recent Mintel survey said they were currently following a keto diet, while a recent report from Research and Markets is calling for the global keto market to grow by about 5.5% per year, reaching US$15.6 billion by 2027. Joel Gregoire, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, says keto still remains “relatively niche,” but could have a lasting impact in terms of consumers continuing to question what foods are right for them. “I know many people who have reached their goal [weight] and have decided to stay with the keto diet because they now consider it a lifestyle,” agrees Shakzod Khabibov, who founded the on­line health food store two years ago. Keto-friendly products now account for between 500 and 800 of the approximately 2,000 SKUs sold through The company currently has around 100,000 customers—with an average basket size of $91—and is adding between 3,000 and 5,000 new customers each month. About half of its business comes from repeat customers, says Khabibov. “This diet gives people a lot perspective about food,” he says. “They don’t want to go back, not because they don’t want to gain weight, but because

they know what that food contains.” Suzie Yorke, founder of Toronto-based keto-friendly snack bar company Love Good Fats, agrees. “We have noticed that more consumers have shifted to more health-conscious lifestyles; therefore, they are making more thoughtful choices when it comes to nutrition and being more mindful of what they eat,” she says. “With the number of health benefits that the ketogenic diet has, the popularity of the diet will only continue to grow as it has improved our lives and health in numerous ways.” The keto diet works by depriving the body of carbs, placing it into a metabolic state called ketosis. Without carbs, the body adapts by burning stored fat reserves for energy, leading to weight loss. Studies have shown that keto may also have a number of ancillary benefits, including significant reductions in blood sugar and insulins, as well as improved brain health (it was actually started by doctors at the Mayo Clinic in 1923, as a way to treat childhood epilepsy). It is part of the broader consumer trend towards healthier eating, says Jo-Ann McArthur, president of the Toronto food marketing agency Nourish. McArthur says there are now more “selective eaters” than true omnivores in Canada, while the number of people who are following a specific diet is doubling year-over-year. Meanwhile, the most recent iteration



of the “What’s Trending in Nutrition?” study from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian—based on responses from more than 1,300 U.S. nutrition experts—identified keto as that country’s most popular consumer diet for 2019. While trends like keto stem from a general desire to lose weight and eat better, they’re also growing exponentially because social media has enabled people to more easily find like-minded people and create communities. “You’re able to find your tribe,” says McArthur. Because it shares some characteristics with predecessors like the Atkins diet and South Beach diet (both of which were low-carb in character), the keto diet is dismissed in some corners as merely the latest in a string of fad diets. Its proponents, meanwhile, counter that it is a gateway to healthier eating. What’s not up for debate is the growing number of companies, including Canadian success stories like Toronto-based Love Good Fats, that have sprung up in recent years to meet the dietary needs of keto adherents. According to a recent U.S. Statista report, the number of new products making a keto claim rose from just 30 in 2015, to 300 in 2016 and 520 in 2017.

“With the number of health benefits that the ketogenic diet has, the popularity of the diet will only continue to grow as it has improved our lives and health in numerous ways” And keto-friendly products now span multiple categories—from tortilla substitutes (Flatout Flatbreads’ ProteinUP Carb Down) to ice cream (Halo Top) to candy (SmartSweets’ Sweet Fish and Sour Blast Buddies), to chocolate (Quebec-based artisan chocolate company Ketolat) and snack bars like Love Good Fats. Then there are the established brands jumping on the trend, such as SlimFast’s new line of keto meal bars, shakes and snacks. “You know it’s mainstream when you see products like that,” says McArthur.  CG

Five ways grocers can cater to keto The keto diet continues to gain in popularity, but the sheer number of products—not to mention information—can be confusing for consumers. Here are some ways your store can help.

1 ensure keto products are visible: Love Good

Fats’ Yorke says placing keto products in high-profile locations such as checkouts and endcaps can help drive sales, particularly as keto is becoming more top-ofmind for consumers.

2 store-within-a-store:

Keto products cover a broad array of segments, meaning they can be difficult to find nestled among their

non-keto counterparts (ask anyone who’s tried to find a keto-friendly snack bar at a major grocer!). Toronto’s Summerhill Market solved this problem by creating a dedicated section for keto products within the store, making it easier for customers to discover and explore, says co-owner Christy McMullen.

3 education: Diets

inevitably come with questions. Ontario grocery chain Goodness Me! offers both keto cooking classes and an introduction to keto class, as well as “keto crawls,” where experts walk customers through the stores highlighting products that work with the diet. It

also has an in-depth page called “The ultimate guide to keto” on its website.

4 mail it in: In September, a keto-focused specialty grocer in Colorado, Explorado Market, announced a monthly subscription box. The US$55 Keto Bake Box is filled with its most popular items, and changes according to season.

5 shelf talkers: Similar

to the store-within-a-store concept, flagging products with a “keto-friendly” cal­ lout can make it easier for consumers to spot them. “It makes it more convenient for consumers to locate their favourite keto products,” says Yorke.


For the love of chocolate Who doesn’t love chocolate? Nielsen data shows confectionery chocolate is a nearly $1.84-billion business in Canada—growing 4% over last year. Analysts partly attribute the recent growth in sales to the rise of indulgent, premium-style chocolate. From organic and fair trade to vegan and keto-friendly, here are just a few of the chocolate innovations to hit the marketplace. BROOKLYN BORN CHOCOLATE

THEOBROMA Theobroma’s new milk chocolate sticks come in three varieties: Organic Milk Chocolate with Quinoa Crisp and Coconut; Organic Milk Chocolate with Quinoa Crisp and Moka; and Organic Milk Chocolate with Quinoa Crisp and Salted Caramel. All of the Quebec company’s premium chocolate confections are fair trade and organic, as well as gluten free and GMO free.

BARRY CALLEBAUT Barry Callebaut Group, one of the world’s largest chocolate makers, made headlines this fall when it launched a new ingredient innovation: WholeFruit Chocolate. Callebaut’s new chocolate is unique in that it’s made from 100% pure cacaofruit—it uses the entire cacaofruit as opposed to just the beans, reducing waste. The result is a fruitier flavoured chocolate, which chocolatiers around the world can use in their own creations.


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

Initially a private-label chocolate manufacturer, Brooklyn Born Chocolate now has its own branded premium product line, which includes a new Keto Bar line. These ketofriendly bars are low in carbs, so followers of the keto diet can indulge in them without guilt. Flavours in the Keto Bar lineup include Coconut Milk, Himalayan Sea Salt, Lemon Coffee, Mint Cacao Nibs, and Salted Almonds.

GALERIE AU CHOCOLAT Quebec-based Galerie au Chocolat has three new bars in its fair trade line: Dark Chocolate (72%) with Coconut; Milk Chocolate (36%) with Almond and Sea Salt; and Milk Chocolate (36%) Caramel Pecan Crunch. Galerie au Chocolat’s fair trade line features fine Belgian chocolate in simple, no-nonsense packaging that reflects the simplicity of the product: the company doesn’t add oils, emulsifiers, preservatives, flavours or anything artificial.

Ingredient innovation

CAMINO Camino’s Coconut Milk Dark Chocolate Bar is a rich and creamy bar that contains no dairy milk or cane sugar; instead, it uses coconut milk and coconut sugar to create this milky smooth, indulgent treat. The Ottawa-based brand’s new vegan-friendly bar is 55% cacao, and is certified fair trade, organic, kosher, and gluten free.

CANADA’S #1 ORGANIC CHOCOLATE BRAND HAS A NEW LOOK But some things don’t change: sustainable and ethical cocoa sourcing principles, based on our conviction that great taste comes from the finest ingredients.

Available through Tree of Life Canada Surrey 19488 Telegraph Trail Surrey BC V4N 4H1

Montreal 5626 Boul. Thimens St. Laurent, PQ H4R 2K9

Calgary 6745 76th Avenue SE Calgary, AB T2C 5M1

Mississauga 6185 McLaughlin Road Mississauga, ON L5R 3W7




Whether it’s grabbing a bag of tortilla chips to munch on the go, packing crackers in your child’s backpack for snack time, or sitting down in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn, savoury/salty snacks remain a popular option at multiple occasions throughout the day. From jerky and pretzels to soda crackers and mixed nuts, this Nielsen data reveals how various categories of savoury snacks fared over the past year.

From ribs and kids’ meals to curry and chocolate, these new products might be just what your customers are looking for.

Savoury snacks - 52 weeks, ending Sept. 14, 2019 $ Sales (000s) CRACKERS


$ Vol % Chg

Units (000s)



Units Vol % Chg 1































































































































1  While crackers overall are showing solid

sales growth of 3%, traditional soda crackers are losing steam—dollar sales of soda crackers dropped by 7% to $75 million in the latest 52 weeks ending Sept. 14, 2019. 2 The meat snacks category is still going strong. Meat sticks, in particular, rose by 13% in dollar sales over the past year, hitting nearly $211 million.

3 Canadians may say they’re on a

health kick, but “potato snacks” (which includes all varieties of salty, crunchy potato chips) are still the top-selling salty/savoury snack, by far, at more than $1 billion in sales with growth of 2% over last year. 4 Pass the pistachios, please! Pistachios showed strong growth this year, rising in dollar sales by 14% to $106 million. SOURCE: NIELSEN, NATIONAL, ALL CHANNELS, ALL SALES, EXCLUDING N.L.


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

MONTANA’S SMOKIN’ HOT RIBS Ready-to-eat ribs in Montana’s signature sauce Montana’s BBQ & Bar restaurant chain is making its foray into grocery retail with its fully-cooked, ready-to-eat smoked ribs. These “fall-off-thebone” ribs are cooked in Montana’s Texas-style barbecue sauce. Sold in the refrigerator section, they can be heated in the oven or on the grill.

THE SPICE TAILOR – KERALAN COCONUT CURRY Authentic curry evokes Keralan region of India The state of Kerala has one of the most diverse cuisines in India, according the founder of The Spice Tailor line of curries. To help home cooks easily achieve an authentic taste of the region, The Spice Tailor is launching a Keralan Coconut Curry. This versatile curry sauce works with fish, chicken, veggies, eggs and more.

GREEN & BLACK’S NEW LOOK Same premium quality and ethical sourcing, new design U.K.-based premium chocolate brand Green & Black’s has launched a new package design for its line of sustainably sourced bars. According to the company’s Canadian distributor, Tree of Life, the new look features stronger branding, highlighting the products’ premium ingredients and ethical sourcing.

PURELY KIDS FOOD CO. Healthy, bite-sized meals and snacks for kids Purely Kids Food Co. has launched a line of frozen bite-sized meals and snacks for children. Shaped like small muffins, they’re packed with veggies, fruit, and a boost of chia in every bite. They’re suitable for meal time or snack time—just heat and serve. They come in three varieties: Monkey Macaroni, Porcupine Pizza and Beaver Brownie.




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Mark Ayer 416.906.8431 416.300.1328


George Condon


Two prominent french-fry makers are engaged in an international legal battle over curvy spuds IT’S NO SECRET that Canadians sometimes view Americans as excessively litigious, believing our neighbours to the south regularly sue each other over almost anything. And the food industry is certainly not immune to those lawsuits—especially these days, as people become more internet-informed about products, ingredients and claims, leading them to file suit more frequently against manufacturers, grocers and restaurateurs. And with competition being so fierce, we see companies going to great lengths to protect themselves.

been launched in Canada, the United States and the European Union. Needless to say, McCain has countersued. Simplot alleges that McCain’s Twisted Potatoes infringe on the industrial design of what it’s calling a “distinctive” spiral in its Sidewinders product. According to an article in The Globe and Mail: “In Canada, having an industrial design registered with the government gives a company the exclusive rights to sell products with that design for up to 10 years from when it was registered. The Sidewinder debuted in Canada in 2013 and five related industrial designs were registered on May 5, 2014. McCain registered its industrial design for the Twisted Potato on Sept. 24, 2014 and the product hit the market in 2016.” Simplot wants the courts to put a stop to the production of McCain’s twisted product. McCain, however, is denying any wrongdoing, arguing their product differs substantively from Simplot’s. As the Globe article explains, McCain’s defense noted its own product is “thicker than the Sidewinders (10 mm to 12 mm compared with 5 mm to 6 mm), has fewer turns (one twist instead of two or three) and rotates in different directions (McCain’s fries twist either clockwise or counterclockwise, whereas Simplot’s potato product turns only clockwise).” McCain also noted the Sidewinder has ridged surfaces, which its own Twisted Potato doesn’t have.

The food industry is certainly not immune to lawsuits—especially these days, as people become more internetinformed about products, ingredients and claims And then there are occasions where a food manufacturer sues a direct rival— which is exactly the situation Canada’s McCain Foods finds itself in. U.S. frozen french-fry maker J.R. Simplot Co. commenced legal action against McCain over its Twisted Potato fries, claiming McCain copied Simplot’s Sidewinders frenchfry design, essentially stealing Simplot’s “intellectual property.” Legal action has


November 2019 Canadian Grocer

In its countersuit, McCain alleges that Simplot actually infringed on McCain’s intellectual property and, essentially, that the Sidewinder design isn’t actually all that unique. According to a legal expert quoted in the Globe article, “the degree of distinctiveness will likely be a central issue in the cases.” One might guess that means the court must decide whether 5 mm is that different from 10 mm, and perhaps whether there is enough difference between clockwise and counterclockwise to issue a ruling. At first blush, this whole french-fry battle could seem almost humorous. But it’s not at all humorous, really, because millions of dollars in product sales could hang in the balance. In its suit, Simplot said McCain’s activities are an attempt to “piggyback” on its investment in Sidewinders by launching a copycat product “without investing its own time, research or money into making a distinctive and successful product of their own.” Clearly, McCain sees the matter differently. These suits stretch back as far as 2016, but are still working their way through the courts. In Europe, the Court of Appeal at The Hague just recently upheld an injunction to prevent McCain from selling its curvy product (called Rustic Twist there), while Canada’s Federal Court is scheduled to hear the case next spring. We’ll just have to wait and see how this twisty tale turns out.  CG

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




An Industry Leadership Supplement from

COFFEE Coffee is the largest sub-segment of the total beverage category ($1.3B)1, and the number one beverage consumed at breakfast. For over a decade Canadians have consistently consumed an average of 2.8 cups of coffee per day2. Coffee consumption has remained flat, while coffee dollar sales have consistently grown year-over-year +5% compound annual growth rate (5yr CAGR). Canadians are increasingly willing to spend more per cup of coffee, encouraging premiumization within the category. Consumers are looking for more beyond their regular cup of joe. Consumers are becoming more educated on what is involved in making their preferred cup of coffee3 – whether it be the bean origin, roast, or brew method. Many coffee drinkers are interested in the latest trends and are willing to pay more for products offering a higher level of quality or something unique.




1 Nielsen, MarketTrack, National GB+DR+MM, All Coffee, L52 Weeks Period ending August 24, 2019. 2 Coffee Association of Canada, 2017 Canadian Coffee Drinking Trends, Tracking Report, Dig Insights, July 2017 3 IPSOS Consumer Trends 2017




L52 Weeks $1,250,423,975

25% 0



L52 Weeks 2yr Ago $1,207,450,013


Source: Nielsen Homescan Total Coffee, National, L52 Weeks Period ending June 22, 2019 vs YA, 2YA

L52 Weeks Yr Ago $1,228,749,527

Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, National, L52 Weeks Period ending Aug 22, 2019




700 600 500 400



646 +0.9%*



417 -0.9%*

300 200 100 0


L52W 2YA






Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, NAT’L GB+DR+MM L52 Weeks Period ending Nov 22, 2018





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CONDIMENTS Condiments show a modest upward trajectory with forecasted annual growth of 1-2%, combining for a total growth rate of approximately 7% between 2017 and 2022.1 Total revenue in the Sauces & Condiments segment amounts to US$2,245m in 2019.2 Consumers’ expectations of their food are evolving with Canada’s changing demographics. Condiments play a major role due to the convenient way in which this medium can enhance everyday meals. To sustain modest growth the Condiment category will need to keep bringing excitement and experimentation to meals. Opportunities to build upon this strong foundation come through upgrading users to premium offerings, enhanced usability and flavour exploration.

Source – Mintel, Condiments & Seasonings Canada, Apr 2019


Statista, Sauces & Condiments Canada report, 2019



Condiments is a sizeable and diverse category with extremely high penetration







Source: Nielsen Homescan, National, L52 Weeks Period ending June 23, 2019 vs YA, 2YA



They have many uses.


They are affordable options for adding flavour to foods.


Refrigerated options are fresher than shelf-stable.

31% 28%

Base: 1,919 internet users aged 18+ who purchased condiments in the last 6 months Source: Lightspeed/Mintel Nielsen Homescan, Condiments, Dec, 2017

Mainstream $18MM, -8%


I would pay more for premium varieties.

International varieties help me experiment with cuisine.

Super Premium $8MM, +2%

Premium $39MM, +1%

Source: Nielsen MarketTrack Total BBQ sauces, National GB+DR+MM, Period ending Aug 24, 2019


PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE Available in the refrigerated section

PHILLY GIVES CONSUMERS WHAT THEY WANT! • Cream Cheese is the #1 flavour in shelf-stable frosting, but is not made with real cream cheese1 • Philly Frosting is made with REAL cream cheese, milk and cream • Responds to consumer need for fresh, homemade and time saving

CONSUMERS LOVE PHILLY! • Brand Equity is 10X stronger than next leading competitor2 • 71% of consumers agree that frosting is a perfect fit for Philly!3


Nielsen Strategic Planner, Icing Mixes, L52W $ Vol, period ending July 22, 2017 Cream Cheese BVC Equity, January 2018 3 Philadelphia Brand Stretch Study, August 2017 2

CREAM CHEESE Cream Cheese is a mature, saturated category ($236M), which has experienced a 2 year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of + 2.1%1. Cream Cheese can be divided into three segments: brick, soft and whipped. Soft is the largest segment in dollar sales (56%)1, used mainly as a spread during breakfast meals. Brick is a highly seasonal segment with over 60% of the volume sold during key festive seasons, as it is predominantly used for baking.2 Whipped is the newest segment that was introduced in the early 00’s and dollar sales have experienced steady growth over the past three years (+28% CAGR)1. While breakfast is the core usage occasion for Cream Cheese, newer segments like Whipped offer unique benefits suitable for a variety of usage opportunities in snacking or entertaining. Accordingly, retailers should ensure optimal assortment by segment on shelf to effectively fulfil different usage needs of consumers.






150,000,000 100,000,000












2yr CAGR








99 %


50% 25% 0





Source: Nielsen MarketTrack GB+DR+MM, Total Cream Cheese, L52 Weeks Period ending August 24, 2019

SHARE OF REQUIREMENTS Toast Bagel Bread (un-toasted) Cold sandwiches / wraps (e.g. turkey, ham and cheese) Dip or spread for crackers Egg dishes (scrambled eggs, omelettes) Pasta dishes (with sauce or filled like Ravioli) Baked Potato / Mashed Potatoes Dip or spread for veggies English muffin Chicken / turkey dishes Hot sandwiches / wraps (e.g. paninis) Rice dishes Dip or spread for fruit Macaroni and Cheese Muffins Beef / Pork dishes Hot or cold appetizer Cheesecake Casseroles Soups Fish / seafood dishes Pancakes, waffles, French toast Burritos / Enchiladas / Tacos / Quesadillas / Fajitas

2016 Ipsos Cream Cheese Usage & Attitude Study January 2016



$ SALES (MM) 250,000,000

Nielsen MarketTrack GB+DR+MM, Total Cream Cheese, L52 Weeks Period ending August 24, 2019


Source: Nielsen MarketTrack GB+DR+MM, Total Cream Cheese, L52 Weeks Period ending August 24, 2019

SOFT CREAM CHEESE 62% 64% 60% 59% 56% 53% 50% 53% 55% 58% 49% 55% 48% 49% 50% 52% 46% 47% 28% 46% 49% 49% 53% 49%

Source: 2016 Ipsos Cream Cheese Usage & Attitude Study January 2016

BRICK 16% 16% 14% 20% 19% 29% 34% 27% 21% 18% 35% 25% 33% 20% 34% 20% 36% 34% 59% 39% 33% 31% 19% 30%

WHIPPED 22% 20% 25% 21% 25% 18% 16% 20% 24% 24% 15% 19% 19% 30% 16% 28% 18% 19% 13% 15% 18% 21% 29% 21%



Good service. Good insights. And most importantly, good food. Our approach is simple: connect retailers with the foods Canadians are craving, fueled by market trends and delivered with a smile. With one of the highest fill rates in the industry, we keep your shelves stocked and your most profitable customers satisfied.




Tree of Life Canada

HEALTH & WELLNESS Walk any tradeshow and you are sure to encounter the latest plant-based burger, a new protein source or coconut infused beverage. Compared to generations before, our tastes have evolved, the portion size has changed and the food that’s on our plates is substantially different. Many Canadians (66%) see their lifestyle as ‘somewhat healthy,’1 and our choices in food are a clear reflection of this mantra. Consumers are looking for foods and drinks that not only satiate their thirst and hunger, but that also provide a positive effect on their body. Drinking kombucha as a digestive aid, adding turmeric to your diet to help with inflammation, and even swapping out meat for a plant-based protein are all common for today’s consumer. This approach to consumption is functional by nature. Consumers have moved beyond the simple mantra of eat because you are hungry; and nowhere is this more evident than in the beverage category. Gone are the days of ‘don’t drink your calories,’ replaced with energy & functional drinks that have clean labels, sports drinks that are organic and low calorie, waters that are fortified and juices that contain antioxidants.2 Today’s consumer is vastly aware of what they are putting into their bodies. Understanding the differences and allowing for numerous options on shelf is key for growth and future success in all health & wellness categories.


Mintel Group Ltd., Healthy Lifestyles – Canada, June 2019.


Mintel Group Ltd., Nutrition and Performance Drinks – US, March 2018



Not very healthy 14% Not at all healthy 2%


Very healthy 18%

Identified low/ no sugar followed by both

Somewhat healthy 66%

Source: Mintel Group Ltd., Healthy Lifestyles – Canada, June 2019.


All natural

Source: Mintel Group Ltd., Beverage Blurring – Canada, March 2018.














15% 10% 5%

Source: Mintel Group Ltd., Sports Nutrition - Canada, July 2019.

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Good service. Good insights. And most importantly, good food. Our approach is simple: connect retailers with the foods Canadians are craving, fueled by market trends and delivered with a smile. With one of the highest fill rates in the industry, we keep your shelves stocked and your most profitable customers satisfied.




Tree of Life Canada

ITALIAN FOODS In recent years consumers have been taking the lead to overcome the dreaded question of “what’s for dinner?”. This is no wonder, with the proliferation of decadent Instagram accounts, ample YouTube cooking channels (for beginners and experts alike!), and cookbooks catering to every taste imaginable. With resources like these, Canadians know their way around a kitchen. In fact, 42% of Canadian consumers consider themselves “Cooking Enthusiasts”, citing that they cook at least once a week and enjoy the task at hand.1 Besides functionality, the draw of home cooking has a strong emotional aspect with 84% of consumers feeling accomplished and 66% reporting that cooking reduced stress.1 Italian foods have taken a ubiquitous turn in North America, with dishes like pizza and spaghetti showing up most often on basic menus. However, a resourceful home cook inherently knows that the

simplest ingredients given to higher quality and regionally sourced will elevate every dish. Sourcing Italian products can be made easier with a bit of geographical background. Italy is made up of 20 regions, each of which has a specific gastronomic specialty. The region of Campania, with its fertile volcanic soil, is known for its San Marzano tomatoes. The hot and humid climate of Calabria has mastered the art of food preservation and boasts a wide array of cured and smoked meats: think Calabrese, Soppressata and Salsiccia. And finally, the region of Lombardy, home to the widely known Milanese Panettone – traditionally made, and can only be called Milanese, using fresh eggs and real butter. This is a small example of the regional gems that Italy has to offer, and worthwhile considering these areas at retail. Authentic, quality Italian cuisine has never been more accessible at home.



Cooking Enthusiasts 42% Unenthusiastic Cooks 26%

Mintel Canada, Cooking Enthusiasts Report, December 2018


Trentino-Alto Adige


Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Valle D’Aosta

Infrequent Cooks 9%

Veneto Piemonte

Conflicted Cooks 19% Non Cooks 4% Source: Mintel Canada, Cooking Enthusiasts Report, December 2018

Emilia-Romagna Liguria

Marche Tuscany





of Canadians have eaten Italian food in the last 6 months, second to Chinese at 68%2

• Pasta continues to be an important category in Canada, with revenues amounting to $399M in 2018

• In the last decade, imports of Italian food into Canada has grown 213%3 2

Mintel Canada, Ethnic Foods, September 2019


Italian Trade Commission

Molise Puglia

Lazio Campania Sardinia

Basilicata Sicily


PEANUT BUTTER Peanut Butter is the main draw for shoppers visiting the Spreads grocery section with $283 million in annual sales,1 making it one of the top 10 fastest growing categories in Canada.2 Over the past year, the category has benefitted from inflationary growth with dollar sales +9% and tonnage volume +3%, the successful result of key brands and retailers decreasing their dependence on aggressive discounting to drive sales.

of 10 peanut butter consumers eat it weekly or more often with breakfast and snacking as the most popular occasions; it is also a versatile product with 53% of consumers eating it in a PB&J sandwich and 35% using it as an ingredient in cooking and baking.4 Since the majority of Canadians consider that an ideal breakfast needs to be high in protein5, peanut butter benefits with 84% of Canadians identifying it as “high in protein”.

Regular (Stabilized) Peanut Butter is the segment with the largest share (81%) of sales in the category, which should be the focus of shelf space and promotions, with Natural Peanut Butter as the second largest segment.1 In line with the total category, the main subsegments are all growing, including Creamy (+9%), Crunchy (+8%), and notably Light (+4%), which reversed its -11% decline the year prior with new SKUs in market.

To disrupt auto-pilot shopping behaviour of the Spreads sections, a horizontal planogram layout with peanut butter on the lower shelves can result in a +7% category development index and increased spreads cross-category purchases.6 Retailers should ensure a proper shelf assortment of value and premium peanut butter brands to satisfy distinct purchase behaviour and basket makeup: value options for larger households in search of cost-savings products, premium options for smaller households in search of healthy and quick snack and meal solutions.3

With a household penetration of 75%, the peanut-based spread continues to be a staple of Canadian pantries.3 Almost 8 out



267 -1%

200 100

57,947,296 (+4%)


L52W 2YA

Nielsen MarketTrack, National All Channels, L52 Weeks Period ending Aug 17, 2019


Nielsen Canada, President’s Report, Q2 2019 (Categories > $50M)


Nielsen Homescan, L52 Weeks Period ending January 6, 2018


Erikson Research: American Peanut Council 2018 Evaluation – Canada


Nielsen Canada: Healthy Happy Home, 2018 Edition


Smucker Foods of Canada, Spreads POG Study 2018, Virtual Reality Qualitative and Quantitative


Tonn Vol (KG) 283

260 -3%


55,200,359 (-5%)

56,722,833 (+3%)



Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, National All Channels, L52 Weeks Period ending Aug 17, 2019

19.1% 80.9%

Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, National All Channels, L52 Weeks Period ending Aug 17, 2019

Natural PB $54,031,419 +12% Regular PB $228,565,057 +8% Total PB $282,596,476 +9%



300 200

230 +9%

100 0


53 +8%

39 +4%



Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, National All Channels, L52 Weeks Period ending Aug 17, 2019

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