Canadian Grocer November

Page 1

The growing appetite for meal solutions

Locking in loyalty

What’s driving the surge in sauce sales? NOVEMBER 2021

good as gold Meet the 2021 Golden Pencil winners: Joey Longo and Steve Fox

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Deliver fresh and quality products to customers Maintain high product quality during transport, with automated near real-time alerts when trailer temperatures rise above or fall below thresholds specific to the cargo being transported. Drive efficiencies in inventory and fleet management Follow inventory every step of the way, and allow fleet managers to monitor driver and vehicle performance. Map the location and status of all shipments on a visual dashboard with notification reports, and cross-reference data from multiple operational databases. Prove compliance with food safety regulations View and maintain cold chain records with trip temperature graphs that outline events and range limits. Isolate and address quality issues to maintain regulatory compliance and a trustworthy brand image.

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business just got better


November 2021 || Volume 135 - Number 7

Opinions 5 || Front Desk 22  || Shopper Sense 24 || Eating in Canada

Cover Story


People 8 || Eloise and Jamari Ambursley How Oat Canada’s founders are winning fans with their alt milk

27 Meet Steve Fox and Joey Longo, the 2021 Golden Pencil Award winners!

Ideas 13 || Smart carts for Instacart

With its latest acquisition Instacart is aiming to solidify its place in the grocery world

14 || Going hybrid

TGP’s new Edmonton flagship serves both foodservice and everyday customers

17 || Global grocery


News and ideas from the world of food retail


19 || Business is personal


The Star Women panel on making employees feel valued and heard

Aisles 43 || Pouring it on


Sales and innovations are booming in the sauce category

49 || Across the board

Charcuterie gains momentum with exciting new options

A GROWING APPETITE FOR MEAL SOLUTIONS 32 There’s a huge opportunity for grocers to be the go-to destination for meals THE NEW WORLD OF LOYALTY 39 What will it take to earn customer loyalty in the days and years ahead?

51 || Brewing up excitement

Canadians are thirsty for coffee innovation

52 || Matcha: Four things to know Find out all about this healthy, popular green tea powder

53 || New on shelf

Shining a spotlight on the latest products hitting shelves

Express Lane 54 || An idea too good to waste Too Good to Go Canada’s Sam Kashani on the power of food-rescue apps

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@CanadianGrocer     @CanadianGrocerMagazine     Canadian Grocer Magazine

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 3

Grocery Connex

Front desk PUBLISHER

Vanessa Peters


Shellee Fitzgerald


Carol Neshevich


Kristin Laird


Josephine Woertman


Michael Kimpton


Donna Kerry


Derek Estey

SERVING UP SOLUTIONS Consumers’ hunger for meal solutions is presenting grocers with a big opportunity


Lina Trunina


Valerie White


Katherine Frederick


Karishma Rajani



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When it’s all done and dusted, this late stage of the pandemic (or whatever you’d call the period we find ourselves in currently) will most likely remembered for its vaccine passports, “The Great Resignation,” mounting supply chain woes, and also cooking fatigue. While most of the issues listed above are complex problems with no easy fixes, the latter serves up a real opportunity for grocery retailers. Plenty of research (from the likes of Deloitte, Mintel and others) tells us that in a post-COVID world consumers will not be quick to ditch the cooking-from-home routines they’ve developed over the past year and a half—either out of habit or economic constraints. But while the trend of preparing meals at home is expected to stick, it doesn’t mean consumers are altogether OK with it. To fend off mealtime boredom and cooking fatigue, they want help and are seeking ideas and convenient solutions. The good news is that according to the Food Marketing Association’s (FMI) The Power of Foodservice at Retail 2021 report, grocers are “positioned to be recognized as the ultimate mealtime solution.” In our feature “A Growing Appetite for Meal Solutions” (page 32) writer Rebecca Harris explores the retail meal opportunity and looks at everything from hybrid meals to meal kits, as well as what it will take for grocers to overcome the barrier of getting consumers to think of the grocery store as a go-to meal destination.

Grocers have an opportunity to be consumers’ go-to meal destination

Staying on the subject of meals, in this issue we also take a deeper look at the booming sauces category in “Pouring it on” (page 43). Consumers are using sauces to add “oomph” to their meals, so much so that Ipsos reports sauce use is up 22% in home cooking compared to the pre-pandemic period. We also look at what’s behind the surging popularity of charcuterie (page 49). Finally, in this issue we’re also excited to feature Joey Longo and Steve Fox, the Golden Pencil Award winners for 2021, as our cover story. Learn why these two outstanding leaders have been honoured with the grocery industry’s most prestigious award (page 27). See you next time!

Shellee Fitzgerald Editor-in-Chief

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 four times a week. Visit to subscribe November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 5

Food Basics’ Emerald Park grand opening: (L to R) John Manax, VP operations, Food Basics; Stan Cho, Member of Provincial Parliament; Umar Ali, store manager; Paul Bravi, SVP, Food Basics


Metro opened a new FOOD BASICS in Toronto’s North York community at Emerald Park in early October. The 18,000-sq.-ft. discounter is located on the second floor of a mixed-use development site. John Manax, vice-president of operations at Food Basics told Canadian Grocer that Food Basics previously operated a store in the area, but it was shuttered three years ago when the landlord opted to redevelop the site. “We were always looking in the area and [Emerald Park] was a really good fit for us,” says Manax. “We’re at Yonge and Poyntz Avenue, right in the heart of the action and just north of [Highway] 401. It’s a great neighbourhood, and one of the things that makes it great for us is we’re the only discounter in the neighbourhood.” The new Emerald Park store is Food Basics’ 140th location in Ontario. T&T SUPERMARKET has added to its network with the opening of a new store in Langley, B.C. The 40,000-sq.-ft. store is located at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre and is the Loblawowned chain’s first Langley location. T&T has been steadily expanding in recent years with the opening of four stores in the 12 months prior to the onset of COVID-19 and this summer it opened a downtown Toronto location. T&T currently operates 29 stores in Britsh Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

Toronto just got another FARM BOY. The fast-growing, Sobeys-owned grocery retailer opened its eighth Toronto location at Dupont and Christie Streets in early November. The 23,225-sq.-ft. store is Farm Boy’s 42nd location in Ontario. Niagara Falls, Ont. is home to a second GIANT TIGER. The discount retailer officially opened the 18,130-sq.-ft. store, located at the Niagara Falls Shopping Centre, in late September. Privately held, Giant Tiger operates more than 260 stores across the country. 6  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021

The latest news in the grocery biz AWARDS/RECOGNITION

The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) honoured its 2021 Life Member Award recipients at its GIC LIVE@ Home virtual conference and trade show in late October. The Life Member designations recognize the lifetime achievements of individuals who have made a significant contribution to independent grocers, their communities and the food industry. The recipients of the awards were Peter Cavin of B.C.’s Country Grocer, who was recognized in the Independent Grocer category while Chris Powell, senior vice-president, business development at Tree of Life Canada was recognized in the Industry Builder category. CFIG also honoured Gary Sands, its vice-president of government relations, with the Spirit of the Independent award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the growth of the entrepreneurial spirit of Canada’s indie grocers.

Peter Cavin

Chris Powell

Gary Sands

Metro’s Paul Gentile secured the title of Ontario’s Finest Butcher at a competition hosted by Meat & Poultry Ontario in late September. Gentile, a first-timer to the annual contest, beat out 16 of the province’s best butchers over two rounds for the title. Paul Gentile


The PATTISON FOOD GROUP is extending its reach south of the border by scooping up Oregon-based grocer ROTH’S FRESH MARKETS. Pending regulatory approval, Pattison will acquire the nine-store Roth’s on Oct. 26., and in a release announcing the deal said the U.S. chain would maintain its name and operating structure while “leveraging synergies and other opportunities for business growth.” Formed earlier this year, Pattison Food Group already operates 300 stores across Western Canada under banners that include Save-On-Foods, Buy-Low Foods, Quality Foods and Choices Market.


The Buzz


The Grocery Foundation has “Something Completely Different” lined up for its 2022 NIGHT TO NURTURE GALA on Jan. 29. The Foundation is planning an “entertainment spectacle” of magic, comedy and music featuring top Canadian talent that includes illusionist Darcy Oake, comedian Gerry Dee and musicians Tim Hicks, Alan Doyle, Fefe Dobson, Tyler Shaw and Alan Frew. Also, for the first time, organizers are serving up three ways to view the show: viewers can watch from home via virtual access; attendees also have the option to host a virtual table and watch the show with a group; and there will be two live VIP viewing parties at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with satellite viewing parties also being held in Vancouver and Atlantic Canada. The Gala raises crucial dollars to help fund breakfast programs in Canadian schools and supports the work of Kids Help Phone. “Night to Nurture is going to be very different,” says Shaun McKenna, executive director of The Grocery Foundation. “But what’s not different is that we haven’t changed our resolve to help Canadian children in their time of need.” For more info and tickets visit


Performing at the gala will be comedian Gerry Dee (top), illusionist Darcy Oake (bottom right), and musicians Tim Hicks, Alan Doyle, Fefe Dobson, Tyler Shaw and Alan Frew

You’re invested in your business So are we EVENT

GROCERY CONNEX will take place virtually on Nov. 22. Don’t miss this opportunity to take in three great events—Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next awards, the Thought Leadership CEO Conference and the Golden Pencil Awards—in one virtual experience. Visit for more info and to register.

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Who you need to know

TEAM PLAYERS Oat Canada co-founders Eloise and Jamari Ambursley are winning fans with their milk alternative By Carolyn Cooper Photography by Ingrid Punwani


ot too many people will go to the trouble of launching their own product if they can’t find what they’re looking for in the market. But that’s exactly what entrepreneurs Eloise and Jamari Ambursley did when they had no luck in their search for a healthy, sugar-free oat milk to meet their needs. The couple, who were both athletes, had turned to oat milk because of Jamari’s lactose intolerance and Eloise’s nut allergy. But the high school sweethearts were dismayed to see how much sugar many oat milks contained, especially with diabetes running in their families. “Because of my passion for soccer, I naturally had a very big interest in food and nutrition—I was very cognizant of the things I put into my body because it directly impacted my performance,” says Jamari, who had previously played semi-professional soccer in Europe and also worked in banking. “So when we got married, we both decided we were going to reduce our sugar consumption. But then we realized a lot of labels were misleading, and although they said unsweetened, some oat milks contained up to 17 grams of sugar.” Although neither had any food and beverage experience, the couple took up the challenge and began experimenting in their kitchen to create the perfect sugar-free oat formula. “And then we realized there must be other people who have the same problem as us who just wanted oat milk with less sugar or no sugar,” says Eloise. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just start selling it?’” After working with food scientists on research and development for most of 2019, the entrepreneurs launched Oat Canada Zero Sugar Barista Oat Milk in 2020. Describing it as smooth, neutral and refreshing tasting, the entrepreneurs say their oat milk can substitute for dairy in beverages, cooking and baking. While oats are naturally high in fibre, Oat Canada is also fortified with calcium, and Jamari says future products will include a focus on “providing higher protein and more nutritional value.” The beverage is non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and comes in a shelf-stable 946-mL carton. Produced in Toronto from all-Canadian ingredients, the beverage quickly won fans for its sugar-free recipe, taste,

30 seconds with … nutritional content, and because it’s a more sustainable product. “We’re finding for oat milk, specifically, there are people who are highly motivated by the sustainability benefits and the nutritional benefits of oats,” says Jamari. “These are people who are looking for ways to have a very big impact in a small and meaningful way, whether it’s by changing the way they eat or specifically choosing oats, which are one of the most sustainable crops in the world, or just choosing to reduce their sugar consumption.” In fact, oat milk has overtaken other plantbased dairy alternatives in popularity in recent years, with NielsenIQ reporting a 244% increase in Canadian oat milk sales between 2018 and 2019. “Launching right in the middle of the pandemic, not prolonging our release date, was also a really good milestone for us,” says Eloise, whose background is in digital product design. “Just navigating the climate that we’re in really forced us to be innovative in how we present our brand, to become more resourceful, and do a lot of unprecedented things during unprecedented times.” This has included product “drops” to customers, athletes and social media influencers who are then tagged on Instagram, and an appearance on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. As well as garnering the company a deal with Dragon Manjit Minhas, Jamari says the show resulted in “huge driving sales” that they have been able to sustain. Today, Oat Canada is available in about ­1 ,200 stores across Canada including Loblaws, Highland Farms, Nature’s Emporium, Fortinos, independent retailers and select Costco locations in Ontario and Quebec. The brand just launched in Longo’s, and will appear in Whole Foods Markets across Canada early in 2022. According to Jamari, Oat Canada will announce “new product innovations and partnerships next year,” and says they intend to expand into other categories as well. Chocolate milk and ice cream are two innovations the company has been floating, as well as new carton sizes. “Success to us really means helping more Canadians become aware of how much sugar is actually in their food and beverages,” adds Eloise. “So in the next year we’re excited to show our product innovation and how we’ll be revolutionizing the oat milk industry.” CG

ELOISE & JAMARI AMBURSLEY What do you like most about your jobs?

eloise: Working with Jamari,

we’re really a team. We just enjoy strengthening each other wherever we have weaknesses, working together and growing together. jamari: For me, it’s about having an impact with the person you love the most; and just the patience and the love that you feel when you work with someone who has the same vision as you.

What do you enjoy most about the food and beverage business?

eloise: To see that our product is

a staple in someone else’s home— it’s so rewarding to see that it benefits someone else’s family.

Where do you see the dairy alternatives category evolving?

jamari: The category is already

expanding into traditional dairy products such as cheese and butter. I think as time goes on and as the population increases, people will be looking for alternative sources of protein, but they also want healthy sources of protein that require less land or water to produce.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

jamari: I love to cook, and soccer

is always going to be my second true love next to Eloise. eloise: I love playing basketball and volleyball, but I’m a real chess nerd. I also do a lot of introspective things like bullet journaling.

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 9


NEW BOURSIN® DAIRY FREE IS ALREADY * NUMBER 1 *among plant-based spreads, AC Nielsen $ sales, Nat excl. NFLD GB+DR+MM, ending Sept. 11, 2021.

Discover now our new brand

Plant-based alternatives for all Mozzarella or Cheddar style

delishh on all plates


and alternatives to please everyone Bel Canada’s General Manager Cristine Laforest weighs in on manufacturers’ responsibilities, as well as the makings of a successful new plant-based line of products with Nurishh.

How are shoppers’ expectations changing regarding grocery store cheeses? While dairy cheese is still very important, consumers are more open to plant-based alternatives, notably younger generations motivated by health/environmental reasons and by new experiences. Currently, 52% of Canadians are on a plant-based diet or looking to increase their consumption of plant-based foods.1 But plant-based innovations need to deliver on taste, too. Bel is really at the forefront of this. We have cracked the taste barrier with the launch of Boursin dairy-free. And this is just the beginning as we gear up with the continued launch of Nurishh, and a pipeline of taste-forward innovations.

Why was this the ideal time for Bel to forge into this new product area? Bel’s mission is to provide consumers with healthy snacks in a sustainable way. As a food manufacturer we have the strong belief that we have an important role to play in ensuring our kids and grandkids have healthy food for years to come. The food system has some challenges with major biodiversity losses, poor nutrition and low access to food in some countries, climate changes affecting crops and more—and in parallel, 10 billion people to feed. We need to change our approach to nutrition and adapt to this changing world. Plant-based is part of the solution.

What went into developing the Nurishh line? Nurishh comes from the passion and know-how of a long tradition of French family cheese makers who began producing plant-based cheeses that everyone could enjoy. In 2020, Bel acquired All In Foods (Nature & Moi) to expand its activities 1 2

beyond traditional cheeses and become a major player in the plantbased field. Just one year later, we launched Nurishh in 15 countries as a global and purposeful plant-based brand. With Nurishh, Canadian families can enjoy the same cooking experiences by simply substituting with plant-based alternatives. Nurishh is free from the top allergens, and all products are vegan and plant-based certified. Behind Nurishh products is all the expertise of the Bel Canada team and its commitment to grow categories it plays in. In fact, Bel Canada has been elected number one among cheese suppliers by Canadian retailers who participated in the 2021 Advantage Group Survey, which speaks to the success of our strategy and talent of our teams.

Any advice for retailers in enticing shoppers to try these products? Those purchasing plant-based foods would prefer to see them in a designated section (45%) or in a natural/ organic (36%) section, while 25% want them next to their animal counterparts.2 As it’s still an emerging market, grouping the different products makes them easier to locate, especially for vegans who do not visit dairy/meat sections. Transferring plant-based products to a dedicated section inside the parent category will also allow flexitarians to see all options at once. This strategy has already proven successful in sales of plantbased milks.

What does the future look like? Bel invests in a robust innovation roadmap on CSR and anticipates the future by partnering with Plug and Play, the world’s largest start-up network.

Ipsos U&A Study, August 2021. Léger 2021, Plant-based foods Consumer research


Gl b l R l



Instacart has acquired Caper AI, whose smart carts Sobeys began testing in 2019



SMART CARTS FOR INSTACART Online grocery giant Instacart has taken another step to solidify its place in the grocery world—both online and in-store—with the recent US$350-million acquisition of Caper AI, a New York-based smart cart and smart checkout startup. According to Instacart, this acquisition is all about helping retailers “unify the in-store and online shopping experience for customers,” with the goal of making shopping easier for customers in general, regardless of how they choose to shop. “Over the years, Instacart has continued to expand its retailer enablement services, helping brick-and-mortar grocers across North America move their businesses online, grow and meet the evolving needs of their customers. As we look ahead, we’re focused on creating even more ways for retailers to develop unified commerce offerings that help address consumer needs across both online and in-store shopping,” said Fidji Simo, Instacart’s CEO, in a release announcing the Caper acquisition. Caper may sound familiar to those in the Canadian grocery industry—Sobeys began piloting the startup’s AI-powered smart carts in 2019. In the United States, Kroger, Wakefern and

Schnuck Markets are currently using them as well. Caper’s carts work by using an object recognition system that lets customers place items into their carts without having to scan or weigh them (including fruits and vegetables) and then allows them to check out right at the cart, without dealing with a checkout line. In addition to making the in-store shopping/checkout process easier for customers, Caper’s carts aim to foster more personalized shopping experiences. The carts’ touch screens not only help in-store customers more easily navigate the aisles, they also make product suggestions based on what’s already in a customer’s cart. Instacart says it eventually expects to integrate Caper’s technology into the Instacart app to allow customers to build online shopping lists and browse recipes before their shopping trips, and then check off those lists as they shop. Another synergy created by the acquisition: Instacart’s in-store shoppers (who pick groceries for online customers) will be able to use the carts to more easily locate items in-store and check out more quickly, thus, providing faster service for online customers, too.— Carol Neshevich

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 13

The new store’s culinary centre features a full commercial teaching kitchen


Federated Co-op’s The Grocery People (TGP) has opened a new 56,000sq.-ft. flagship store in Edmonton that serves both foodservice operators and everyday consumers  By Chris Daniels IN THE ROCKIES of Jasper and in High Level, Alta., located several hours’ drive north of Edmonton, The Grocery People (TGP) operates two small community-based grocery stores under the banner TGP, Your Grocer. TGP’s retail footprint also includes a pair of foodservice supply outlets in Western Canada: the Lloydminster Cash & Carry in Alberta (along the Saskatchewan border) and Wholesale Kamloops in B.C. At 10,000 sq. ft. and 40,000 sq. ft., respectively, they supply groceries, fresh meat and produce to commercial businesses—think restaurants, convenience stores, cafeterias and caterers. Both are also open to retail shoppers in need of bulk supplies, for events like a community breakfast or family reunion, for example; but the focus of these stores is primarily as a foodservice supplier. But The Grocery People is rolling these two retail concepts into one with the mid-October opening of a new flagship store, TGP Wholesale Market in Edmonton. “This location is a hybrid of the two, serving both everyday consumers and foodservice clients,” says Ron Welke, associate vice-president, food for 14  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021

Saskatoon-based Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), a veteran of the company who has been in his current role for the past 10 years. The umbrella company for The Grocery People since 1992, FCL is owned by 190 independent local co-operative associations. These associations, in turn, own and operate agro centres, food stores, gas bars/convenience stores, liquor outlets and home improvement centres. TGP supplies groceries, including produce, to more than 100 independent full-service grocery stores and 200 affiliate and foodservice operations across Canada. It’s also the distributor to the Co-op’s 250 convenience and food stores. Last year, FCL’s food division was $20 million more profitable than in 2019, with a large portion of the gains coming from COVID-related shifts in consumer behaviour (read: more meals being eaten in the home). A focus this year is to grow the division’s retail presence and awareness in Edmonton, which is “a robust, growing market that we have felt has been underserved,” says Welke. The new TGP Wholesale Market aims to do just that. The hybrid model isn’t new to the company; in fact, it had been operating the concept with a previous location in Edmonton—TGP Warehouse Market— for decades, before the new TGP Wholesale Market replaced it. And earlier this year, TGP also converted its 20,000-sq.-ft. High Prairie, Alta. foodservice outlet to a hybrid format. But in terms of scale, the new TGP Wholesale Market is, by far, its biggest investment to date in the hybrid strategy. “We have a new location and store layout to improve the shopping experience,” says Welke. That includes giving both foodservice and everyday shoppers more choice and menu ideas. With its home at Edmonton’s 11628 142nd St., more accessible to both business and retail shoppers, the 56,000-sq.-ft. store boasts new experiential features. Walk-in coolers have been designed so foodservice customers can more easily pick up products. A culinary centre comes complete with a commercial teaching kitchen. “It allows us to work with our foodservice clients in a completely immersive way,” says Welke, “really exploring how different The walk-in coolers allow foodservice customers to more easily pick up products




products might meet their business needs.” The culinary centre will also be leveraged to engage everyday shoppers. “We plan to use the culinary centre for more in-depth product demonstrations that allow consumers to learn more about the food that they are buying,” he says. TGP Wholesale Market also aims to provide a wide variety of product sizes. “For example, we have seven sizes for ketchup, from cases to individual servings to 50-litre pails,” notes Welke. Also, he says, “our model allows restaurants to purchase split cases, and with no minimums, which isn’t something offered by competitors. As a more urban market, the Edmonton location does have a greater selection of foods from around the world, as well.” Taking a lead from the Co-op’s International Food program, the store is introducing shoppers to an assortment of Filipino, South Asian and Chinese products. The store also marks the company’s first foray into online shopping with its click-and-collect option. “We recognize that it’s a service consumers are after,” says Welke. Available as an app on Apple and Android devices, or on the web (clickandcollect.tgp. crs), customers can search for products, add them to their cart and complete checkout, arranging for a pickup time at store. TGP’s previous Edmonton store had a 60/40 split between foodservice and retail shoppers prior to the pandemic. However, noting the temporary closure and scaling back of foodservice establishments, “COVID-19 had a significant impact on that ratio,” says Welke. “We anticipate getting back to that [previous] ratio in the new year.” And, the company is also hoping the new year will bring more customers than in the past, as well as more buzz in the city. “We’ve long been called Edmonton’s best-kept secret. With this new location and our robust marketing plan, we aim to change that,” Welke says. The plan includes a 30,000-print flyer run across local neighbourhoods as well as digital flyer distribution. TGP has also engaged digital marketing agency, Edmonton-based LoKnow, for targeted social and online advertising. “We’ll aim to drive awareness of the great value we offer to both retail and commercial customers,” says Welke. In store, TGP Wholesale Market is engaging shoppers with video screens. They’re currently streaming weekly specials and short food-related videos, with the aim of making them available for their suppliers to advertise on. “With this location, we’re really trying to build awareness and equity in our Wholesale Market brand in Edmonton,” says Welke. At the same time, the store will serve as a testing ground for new concepts (such as the foray into online shopping), before possibly expanding to other stores, and as a source for intelligence gathering to possibly be shared with retail partners. “The Edmonton location is truly one of a kind,” says Welke. “We’re excited to launch this refreshed model and to learn and see where it can take us.”


LEADING THE WAY IN CANADA? Announcing the inaugural

Canada Animal Welfare Scorecard

The 2021 Canada Animal Welfare Scorecard is the first report focused exclusively on Canada to rank the country’s major food companies on their animal welfare policies, progress, and transparency.

To find out how Canada’s top companies scored, download the full 40-company report for free at



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Carrefour and Delipop deploy first robotic pickup point


French supermarket giant Carrefour has partnered with startup Delipop to open the first fully automated clickand-collect location in Paris in October. Delipop touts itself as a more cost-effective and eco-friendly solution (“10 times fewer cars on the road”) than home delivery models. Carrefour is the first retailer to partner with Delipop, but the startup has ambitions to open 1,000 single retailer or multi-brand pickup points in France by 2025 with the capacity of 200,000 daily orders. Delipop is aiming to woo consumers by offering a unique experience with a bit of “magic” in the form of ambient sounds, lights, colour and aromas within the pickup stations. The technology at the stations, powered by Poland’s Retail Robotics, also promises a smooth customer experience with same-day pickup, a wide range of pickup slots as well as a choice of 15,000 SKUs (including frozen goods) available on Carrefour’s website.

News and ideas from the world of food retail


A next-level curbside pickup service has popped up in South Carolina. OPIE Drive-Thru Grocery, which made its debut in the town of Mount Pleasant in October, is upping the ante when it comes to convenience. Open 24/7, OPIE boasts no service fees, no minimum orders or time slots and orders are ready to be delivered, from its 3,000-sq.-ft. store, to the customer’s car in mere minutes. OPIE customers have three shopping options: they can use the drive-through (express option) and tell a clerk what they want; they can pull into a parking space and place orders from their car; or they can order ahead on the retailer’s website. OPIE has three more locations planned and is seeking capital partners to “continue our aggressive expansion plans.”


Aldi U.K. ramps up


Discount chain Aldi has revealed plans to open 100 new grocery stores in the United Kingdom over the next two years. To achieve the goal, the Germanowned supermarket chain, already with 920 U.K. outlets, has pledged to invest $2.2 billion to expand its real estate as it “pushes ahead with plans to open one new store a week.” The discount space is heating up on the other side of the pond with Russian-owned deep discounter Mere opening its first U.K. location in August, with plans to open more than 300 stores in the country over the next eight to 10 years.

The fierce, six-month long battle for ownership of U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons appears to be over. The retailer’s shareholders have approved a US$9.4-billion offer from U.S. private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). The deal is expected to be completed in late October. Egg and butter merchant William Morrison started the business in 1899 at a Bradford market stall; today the company has a network of 500 stores, making it the U.K.’s fourth-largest grocer.

Tesco unveils GetGo

U.K. grocer Tesco is taking on Amazon with the debut of its checkout-free store in central London in October. The GetGo store at High Holborn allows customers with the app to enter the store, pick up groceries and “walk right out” without using a checkout. Cameras and weight sensors in-store determine what shoppers have picked up and they are charged through the app upon exiting the store. On the retailer’s website, Tesco convenience managing director Kevin Tindall says GetGo is currently a one-store trial “but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond.” For its part, Amazon has launched half a dozen Amazon Fresh stores featuring its “just walk out” tech in the U.K. this year. November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 17

GS1 Canada is a proud industry partner of

Congratulations to all 2021 Winners!

As a strategic partner to the grocery industry, GS1 Canada supports data excellence through global standards and industry-directed solutions. Through our Women in Leadership program, we are also committed to supporting the success of women across our organization.


BUSINESS IS PERSONAL At a recent Star Women in Grocery panel, four of this year’s winners discussed how important it is for employees to feel valued and heard It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s an adage we’ve all heard before. And yet, during the pandemic, taking a personal approach with employees has been critical to the success of any business. Human connection, relationship-building and organic interactions—hellos in the hall and run-of-the mill banter over morning coffee—among co-workers has been, to say the least, a challenge to maintain since the onset of COVID-19. How do you replicate those daily, in-person interactions in an online work world? How do you create a culture where everyone feels included? Communication, creativity and “being grounded in purpose” is key, said Katelin Mailer, vice-president, human resources, Lactalis Canada, and a 2021 Star Women in Grocery winner. Mailer was joined by fellow winners Sarah Joyce, senior vice-president, ecommerce, Sobeys; Geraldine Huse, president, P&G Canada; and Penney McTaggart Cowan, vice-president marketing & member experiences and chair, Calgary Co-op Foundation, Calgary Co-op, for a panel discussion during the Star

Survey says: employers must step up mental health support

Geraldine Huse

Sarah Joyce

Katelin Mailer

Penney McTaggart Cowan

A NEW SUN LIFE SURVEY reveals many Canadians continue to suffer from mental health challenges. The majority of the country’s workforce (62%) said emotional, mental and physical fatigue was the top issue affecting them negatively. In a previous Sun Life study, released in December 2020, nearly 60% of Canadians said the pandemic continued to have a negative impact on their mental health. In the most recent survey, a third (37%) of respondents indicated they feel unsafe to talk

Women in Grocery Awards, held virtually on Oct. 20. “You want every individual within your organization to understand how they contribute to that purpose and how the role that they do every day leads to the success of the organization,” said Mailer, adding that Lactalis ran its first-ever all-employee event earlier this year to drive that message home. Joyce said all members of Empire’s Voilà team understand the pivotal role they play in achieving its goal of being the No. 1 e-commerce business in Canada. And each week, every team member is invited to participate in a “30-minute huddle” to hear updates and to celebrate recent wins, she said. “It doesn’t matter which functional team you’re on, it doesn’t matter what level you are, you know that you are so critical to us being able to achieve our big, bold, ambitious dreams,” said Joyce. Every team member needs to feel they have a voice, they need to feel heard and they need to feel part of a decision process, said McTaggart Cowan. “It isn’t just a one-way discussion, it is a collaborative discussion and their perspectives are critically important,” she said. Part of ensuring employees feel connected, understood and valued is creating a workplace culture of inclusivity. But this is about more than just numbers, said Huse. Measuring the percentage of women versus men in the workplace or the number of different ethnicities means nothing without actionable measures. “It’s really training people to understand that it’s not good enough to just have good intent,” said Huse. “You have to really understand different diverse groups and what they need, such that you can alter your behaviour to make sure you are fully inclusive and make everybody feel they’ve got equal opportunities so that they can take those equal opportunities.” Improving equality and inclusion in the workforce not only helps employees feel more valued, but it also yields a wider breadth of ideas, said Huse. “We get better business actions, business plans, business solutions,” she said. “I truly believe it’s best for the business as well as being right.”—Kristin Laird

about mental health at work. Lack of trust in their employer was among the top reasons (55%), with embarrassment (50%) and fear of discrimination (40%) following closely behind. Companies that don’t step up their mental health support may see their employees hand in their notices. The survey found one in 10 working Canadians have left (11%) or have considered leaving their job (10%) due to a lack of employer mental health support. “We know that Canadians’ mental health states are at similar

levels (self-identified) as they were last year during the height of the pandemic,” says Dave Jones, president of Sun Life Health. “People have been loud and clear and they’re voting with their feet, if you will. [The thinking is], ‘if my employer won’t support me better, then I’ll find a new employer.’ So, we see it as an imperative for businesses to have a mental health strategy, almost equated to a business strategy, to attract and retain people, and to build resilience in their organization.”  CG —Rebecca Harris

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 19

category close-up

fish & seafood

As consumers try new recipes and seek healthy options, there’s a big opportunity to make fish and seafood a tasty part of the meal rotation


any Canadians have discovered (or rediscovered) the joy of cooking, and they’re getting more comfortable preparing fish and seafood dishes at home. We asked Michael Cheaib, business resource manager at Lagoon Seafood, about the latest trends in fish and seafood and how grocery retailers can lure even more customers to the category. According to Nielsen, fresh seafood sales were up 9% to $787 million, while frozen seafood sales jumped by 20% to $1.07 billion, in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 21, 2020. What’s driving consumer interest in the category? As Canadians try new recipes at home, many are finding that fish and seafood is quick and easy to prepare. As a result, we’re seeing increased demand for our fresh products such as salmon, cod, haddock and shrimp. Consumers also have a strong appetite for value-added, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat items, so products such as our bacon-wrapped scallops, seasoned salmon tartare, and salmon and tuna sashimi are very popular. Consumers appreciate the convenience factor of these products, as well as the ability to prepare and enjoy these items at home. How do fish and seafood meet the needs of younger consumers? While millennial and generation Z consumers are seeking convenient options just like the older generations, they’re also gravitating towards a ‘flexitarian’ diet, which is a primarily plant-based diet that occasionally includes fish and meat.

As a healthy protein, fish and seafood could be positioned as the preferred protein option for flexitarians. That said, since many fish and seafood products are high in protein, low in fat and come with a range of health benefits, they’re a great choice for consumers of any age. While consumers are getting more comfortable in the kitchen, many would still like to be more knowledgeable about buying and preparing fish and seafood. Tell us how grocery retailers can help, and about Lagoon Seafood’s efforts on this front. In retail stores, employees play a key part in educating customers about fresh fish and seafood products. Grocers can also provide recipes and cooking tips online and in store. In addition, creating meal pairings provides inspiration and makes it easy for consumers to shop for recipe ingredients. In the fresh department, for example, grocers can cross-merchandise lemon juice, breadcrumbs, condiments and other complementary items with fish and seafood. With regards to Lagoon Seafood, we provide helpful information through our packaging and our marketing communication initiatives. On the content front, for example, we provide our signature, chef-created recipes on our website and social media channels to inspire Canadians and help make cooking fish and seafood simple, approachable and tasty.


Pandemic pricing opportunities

Four price-related insights to help win in today’s market

HOW DO YOU WIN in the retail market? It’s a challenge at any time, of course, but understanding what actions to take during an ongoing pandemic only makes things more complex. A good idea is to start with the big picture. Canadians continue to look for savings as the pandemic persists, with 51% trying to spend less on grocery. Here are consumers’ top saving strategies: • 72% – stock up when on sale • 59% – only buy items when on sale • 47% – seek out stores for the lowest price • 47% – only buy essentials • 47% – buy less expensive store brand products •  44% – shop at specific retailers to build  loyalty points • 42% – use coupons when shopping • 42% – buy larger sizes for better value

It’s worth noting that inflation is rising across the store, driven by increases in regular and promotional prices. Produce prices are up 1%, health and beauty aids (HABA) have risen 2%, refrigerated and frozen foods are up 4% each, bakery is up 6% and deli/meat/ seafood has increased by 7%. Meanwhile, shelf stable grocery has not increased at all, while non-grocery has declined 1%. While most departments are now experiencing pricing increases, deal activity is also increasing. Are you considering pricing action? Keep in mind that price sensitivity has remained comparable to pre-pandemic levels in 74% of categories. Given all this, what’s doable? Here are four insights to help grocers figure it all out. Insight #1:  Regular price changes are possible given comparable elasticities to pre-pandemic levels. But test it first—30% of items are highly price sensitive. Meanwhile, promotional elasticities continue to decline. Canada is very deal sensitive, and consumers are buying more units on deals. One in five items is highly responsive to promo price changes. Knowing that leads to a second opportunity. Insight #2:  COVID-19 has increased the cost of doing business, leading to pricing evaluations across the industry. Now is a good time to change promotional strategies. Focus on depth of discount by item and retailer. The pandemic has also had a major impact on supply chains. On-shelf availability of items plunged during the COVID-19 period, but in the third quarter of 2021 reached pre-pandemic levels. There are signs of supply chain recovery across the country, although it varies by category/manufacturer. That said, lost opportunities for continued out-of-stocks is high. For a third opportunity, this is the time to focus on efficiencies among suppliers. Insight #3:  Continue to support supply chain improvements to capitalize on sales. How are the items available to shoppers changing? Item availability is up versus pre-pandemic levels. The exceptions to this are HABA and non-grocery items. It’s time to take advantage of increasing availability. Understand, too, that based on sale rate alone, more than 90% of targeted delists would be the wrong items. Insight #4:  Make room for innovation, ensure the right items are replaced, and have the most efficient portfolio on the shelf. Go beyond the sales rate to include the total incremental benefit of items. You can drive growth through advanced analytics, looking at consumer sensitivity to price changes and promotional lifts, on-shelf availabilities and out-ofstocks, and assortment to meet consumer demand. The bottom line? It’s all about having the right items in the right stores at the right prices with the right promotions. CG

Hanif Mohamed is senior vice-president, Canada retail for NielsenIQ. 22  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021


SHOPPER SENSE ||  Hanif Mohamed

Consumer packaged goods and private label brands are

INVITED TO COMPETE in the 29th Annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards!

Finalists and winners of this prestigious awards program benefit from:

INCREASED VISIBILITY AND EXPOSURE Our jury of retailers and industry experts will test, evaluate, and provide feedback on your product, packaging, and positioning. PERSUASIVE TRADE MARKETING Finalists and winners are featured in showcase flyers on reebee and leading grocery industry publications like Grocery Business, Canadian Grocer, Western Grocer and Food in Canada Magazine. INDUSTRY-WIDE RECOGNITION Celebrate your team and recognize their outstanding work.


For questions about this year’s Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards program, inclucing the submissions process, please contact Pierre Chartier | or (514) 830-5429

EATING IN CANADA ||  Kathy Perrotta

Enter the transition era

As Canadians shift back to “normal” life, adapting solutions to meet evolving needs will be key

Ipsos reports that shared celebratory occasions in September 2021 increased (+39%) versus January 2021, resulting in notable increases in consumption of items like cheese, salsa/ dips, ice cream, pasta and baked goods

AFTER A TUMULTUOUS 18-month period, Canadians are finally transitioning toward the “post-pandemic period” with a renewed sense of optimism. In fact, Ipsos’ September 2021 optimism and outlook tracking—in its daily syndicated food and beverage tracking services—recently revealed that more than a third of Canadians (37%) are looking ahead to a return to many normal activities that will enable them to enjoy life more than ever before. Despite this progress, it’s important to understand that consumers will continue to be cautious, particularly in the near term, as more than twothirds of consumers (68%) still feel normalcy is more than a year away. This guarded mindset has an enormous influence over our habits, beliefs and choices, as well as impacting our overall openness to engaging in new experiences. It’s undeniable that the shared pandemic experience has already left an indelible imprint on the consumer psyche. Though consumers are likely to remain more conservative in their daily behaviours, pent-up demand to once again explore and re-discover has begun to translate to individuals seeking new—but still safe—food experiences that can be shared, made and traded once again. From comfort to exploration  Throughout the pandemic, homebound consumers have been heavily focused on indulgence (+24% versus the pre-pandemic period), motivated by the need to comfort and treat oneself and loved ones in the midst of chaos, isolation and lockdown. Consumption choices have also been heavily impacted by nostalgia and the need to connect to memories of past, simpler times. However, the recent easing of movement restrictions around the country and return to work and

24  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021

school has prompted two notable shifts: 1. A greater desire to exert more control over daily choices has resulted in a shift in behaviour toward more health-focused foods (+20% versus January 2021). This shift will focus on those items that are believed to offer functional benefits. Specifically, the emphasis will be on benefits tied to digestive issues, immunity function, sleep quality, cognitive health, and mood moderation or stress reduction. 2. Rising demand for authentic and fun experiences (+50% versus January 2021) that reflect the desire for increased variety and a return to global discovery. Over half of consumers (53%) report seeking options that break from normal eating routines. Return to foodservice  Key to strengthening Canadians’ reconnection to food exploration and experience is the return to restaurant dining. Ipsos Foodservice Monitor reports a 42% uptick in September traffic rates to restaurants compared to January 2021. There’s a rising need for convenience, fun experience, and quick portability along with an increased quest for diversity and authenticity. Those in grocery retailing will need to be mindful of these shifting needs, and create meal options that target the evolving mindset during this transition period. Re-igniting family and friend experiences  While many of us look to break out of pandemic meal patterns plagued by boredom and limited repertoires, a key driver of new experiences is the need to connect with family and friends. Ipsos reports that shared celebratory occasions in September 2021 increased (+39%) versus January 2021, resulting in notable increases in consumption of items like cheese, salsa/ dips, ice cream, pasta and baked goods. Drinking rates of ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, fruit juices and sparkling water also increased during special shared occasions in September. Looking ahead  There’s undoubtedly considerable consumer demand to re-engage with new food experiences that reconnect us to the contemporary food culture. However, we can’t mistake that pent-up demand for new experiences or desire to counter boredom as a sudden openness to extreme experimentation. It will likely take some time to return to that level of culinary exploration. That said, as we consider future innovation of meal and snack solutions, there are still limitless opportunities to successfully innovate and create options that reflect an understanding of evolving market conditions, shifting consumer need states, rising prioritization of dietary and wellness benefits, and unique global flavour preferences. CG

Kathy Perrotta is VP of Market Strategy at 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.


The Wheel

Canadian Chicken Delivers on Consumer Expectations Seven Quick Facts About Canadian Chicken Chicken Farmers of Canada’s Animal Care Program has strict standards for the care and handling of chickens. The program is mandatory, third party audited, and enforced across ALL Canadian chicken farms. More than 90% of Canadian chicken farms are family owned and operated. There are no ‘factory farms.’ Litter is monitored daily and barns are cleaned out after every flock. Light intensity and duration is carefully managed to ensure proper periods of rest and to promote flock health. The density of Canadian chicken production is lower than or consistent with other countries. The use of hormone and steroids has been illegal since the 1960s. Chicken is the lowest cost Canadian meat protein. The Canadian chicken sector has lowered its carbon footprint by almost 40% in the past 40 years.

The Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand provides assurance that restaurants are committed to supporting local, Canadian farmers and their commitment to excellence in food safety, animal care, and sustainability.

Want more information? Email @chickenfarmers @chickenfarmers @chickendotca | |

e t a r b Cele your s s e c c u s

Congratulations Joey Longo and Steve Fox on your 2021 Golden Pencil Award!

from your friends at

GOOD as GOLD Cover story

By Carol Neshevich Photography by Mike Ford

Meet the 2021 Golden Pencil Award winners! The Golden Pencil Awards will take place (virtually) on November 22 || visit for info

One’s a CPG sales veteran who worked his way up to the C-suite at one of the largest food companies in the country; the other’s a chief development officer who’s had a major hand in the ongoing growth and success of his family’s grocery business. Both, of course, exemplify excellence and character in the grocery and CPG industries. To recognize individuals who have made lasting contributions to the Canadian food industry and their communities, the Golden Pencil Awards have been presented annually by the Food Industry Association of Canada since 1957. Read on to learn more about this year’s impressive winners, Steve Fox and Joey Longo. November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 27

Congratulations to our former Chief Customer Officer, Steve Fox, for receiving the 2021 Golden Pencil Award! Embodying Nestlé's purpose and values, Steve Fox propelled innovation and collaboration at the highest level in dealing with the Canadian grocery industry, growing Nestlé Canada's reputation as a key manufacturer in the industry. This award, one of the grocery industry's highest honour, recognizes Steve's commitment to the grocery industry throughout his career. Nestlé Canada is extremely proud of our former Chief Customer Officer, Steve Fox, on this incredible achievement!

Cover story

Steve Fox

Former Chief Customer Officer

nestlé canada STARTING WITH HIS first job in sales for Nabob Coffee back in 1982 and finishing in the C-suite as chief customer officer at Nestlé Canada, Steve Fox spent his entire career in the food and CPG business. He retired earlier this year; and while he’s proud of many things he’s accomplished along the way, his last few years at Nestlé truly stand out. “The last five years at Nestlé were extremely successful,” says Fox. “You know, we built capability in the organization. We achieved all of our financial goals, and built a strong culture within the selling organization. That’s what I think I’m most proud of.” After getting his start at Nabob, Fox worked for Kraft and Warner-Lambert before joining Nestlé in 2003. He was also active with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) where he sat on the Associate Member’s Council (AMC), and he has been a longtime supporter of Kids Help Phone. “It’s important to have a give-back strategy,” he explains. Relationships and networking are crucial to Fox, who says “character” is more important to success than anything else. “It’s really character that’s going to carry the day,” he says. “Character encompasses everything we talk about, right? It’s empathy. It’s caring for people. It’s team building, it’s transparency, it’s honesty—it’s all those kinds of things.” Fox says his leadership style evolved over the years to become more flexible, providing more autonomy for his team—being specific about what the overall goals are, he says, but offering flexibility in how his team members met those goals. And, he says, humour has always been a big part of his leadership style. “I take my job seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. I bring a lot of humour to meetings, whether it’s my team or the executive team.” He credits the many business mentors he’s had over the past four decades with helping to shape his ultimate success. Fox says his strong work ethic comes, in part, from watching his dad, a man with a high school education who started his own successful insurance business and ran marathons on the side. “I just watched him and how he put his spine into things and just accomplished it,” he says. After a long and busy career, Fox, himself a father of four and grandfather of two, says he’s currently enjoying his new state of retirement and the change of pace it brings. “I feel very, very fortunate.”


November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 29

FroM one sMall fruit stand to 36 locations and an online grocery delivery service serving the Greater Toronto Area and beyond! Congratulations to Joey Longo, recipient of this year’s Golden Pencil Award — the industry’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. From all of us who make up this thriving family business, we thank you for your contributions toward our 65 fruitful years and many more to come.


Cover story

Joey Longo Chief Development Officer longo’s

FAMILY IS A WORD that comes up often when talking to Joey Longo. Not only because he’s spent his career working alongside relatives in his family’s grocery business, Longo’s; but also because the Ontario chain prides itself in the “family atmosphere” it fosters among employees. “Here at Longo’s, we have a dedicated team of 6,000, and I think that family atmosphere has helped us as an organization to get to where we are,” he says. Founded in 1956 by his father Tommy and his two uncles, Joe and Gus, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets has grown significantly from its first Toronto store to 37 locations and a thriving online delivery business, Grocery Gateway, today (with Joey’s brother Anthony at the helm as president and CEO since 1998). Joey takes immense pride in how Longo’s has grown over the years, and in the part he’s personally played in its success. Longo started working full time in the business straight out of high school, joining his uncle Gus in procurement at the Ontario Food Terminal. “I did that for many years,” he says, noting that he oversaw the produce operation, “and then eventually some of the other fresh areas ... From there, I ended up on the operations side and at the same time, spent a lot of time with my uncle [Gus] on new store builds and renovations.” He moved from COO to chief development officer in 2015; but last year “our COO left, so I took the operations role back for now, and I’m still in charge of the new store construction and renovation schedules as well.” A past chair of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), Joey Longo loves the industry’s excitement and the people—especially their propensity to truly step up when needed. “The grocery industry has always been very, very charitable,” he says, adding that COVID made that giving spirit even more evident: “Everybody really stepped up to take care of their communities and their teams.” As a leader, he describes himself as patient and easygoing. “I like to provide [team members] with directions, make sure they’re clear on the expectations, and really listen to what they have to say.” He draws inspiration and encouragement from his entire hard-working family (including his wife and four kids), and always keeps his late father’s words of advice in his head: “One of the things my father always told us was, ‘Make sure you always do the right thing, especially when nobody’s looking.’”  CG


November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 31

A GROWING APPETITE FOR MEAL SOLUTIONS As consumers seek help in the kitchen, there’s a huge opportunity for grocers to be the go-to destination for meals By Rebecca Harris 32  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021


Meal solutions

MEAL MAKING gained a certain prominence during COVID-prompted lockdowns. Stuck at home, many Canadians experimented with new recipes and rediscovered old favourites, as evidenced not just by social media feeds being taken over by sourdough bread and grandma’s lasagna, but also by consumers’ purchasing behaviours. According to The NPD Group, sales of stand mixers in Canada were up +107% in 2020, and there was strong growth in “carb” and comfort food appliances such as bread makers (+88%), waffle irons (+48), air fryers (+91%) and deep fryers (+43%). While some home-cooking habits have waned as the world continues to open back up, the majority of consumers are likely to continue cooking many of their meals at home. However, some 20 months and thousands of meals into the pandemic, there’s more than the sound of knives sharpening and soup burbling coming from the kitchen. Tired of cooking and running out of ideas, consumers are making a resounding plea: “Help!” “Consumers are fatigued from all this cooking they’re doing at home, but they’re still enjoying a lot of the components of eating at home,” says Rick Stein, vice-president of fresh food at FMI – The Food Industry Association. “They’re enjoying the savings and they’re enjoying having their families together. And so, what they want now is convenience. They’re looking for opportunities to have certain elements of their meals already prepared or partially prepared so they don’t have to do the entire job themselves.” That puts grocers in the ideal spot to boost their meal solutions offering, capture more foodservice

dollars, and gain a competitive edge with consumers. In fact, a recent report from FMI found that 39% of consumers view retail foodservice as a substitute for both a home-cooked meal and a restaurant meal, positioning grocers as the “ultimate mealtime solution.” “The supermarket is the perfect space: it has all the ingredients for consumers to figure out their meals, in addition to having the retailer’s own foodservice and prepared meal offerings,” says Stein. “In that regard, grocery retailers are best poised to help consumers and provide meal solutions.” THE NEW HYBRID MEAL MODEL Everyone’s heard of the new hybrid workplace model. But in the grocery world, analysts have identified “hybrid meals” as the new normal. To Stein’s earlier point, the FMI study notes that shoppers are looking for comprehensive meal solutions, not just prepared items. More than half of consumers surveyed (55%) indicate a desire for hybrid meal options, meaning a mix of from-scratch foods and semi- and fully-prepared items. Jonna Parker, principal at IRI Fresh Center of Excellence, calls hybrid meals “a mega trend” and notes that heat-and-eat fresh sides, in particular, are performing well. “A consumer might take the time to make their own ribs or steak, but they don’t want to also make a side dish and need an easy solution,” she says. While sides are usually merchandised in the deli department, Parker says there’s an often-missed opportunity to also merchandise them in the meat department, adjacent to raw protein. “There are

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 33

California Prunes A snack for all ages California Prunes are a premium-quality snack that is both naturally nutritious and delicious. Canadians of all ages love them as a versatile and healthy snack.

Placing California Prunes in natural food or snack aisles and promoting to nutrition-conscious customers could result in a bestseller on your shelves.



of Canadians reported they would prefer to PURCHASE PRUNES FROM CALIFORNIA /USA than anywhere else*


of Canadians reported they SNACK ON PRUNES monthly*

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Heart Health

Meal solutions myriad options to make a meal. In fact, the average consumer probably passes more than a handful of other places to pick up tonight’s dinner on the way to the grocery store,” she says. “So why are we making them march around a store to invent their own meal?” Not every hybrid meal shopper will require inspiration and items in one convenient spot, though. “[Grocery retailers] are starting to realize that people are willing to walk around the store and are probably doing other grocery shopping as well,” says Stein. “If I tell you that you can get your bagged salad over in the produce department, get your French bread in the bakery department, and combine that with a side dish, you probably don’t mind. It’s about giving consumers ideas and providing them with meal solutions.” Cross-merchandised or not, the ultimate aim is to feed consumers with ideas for meals. “Yes, consumers are going in with a grocery list and they’re shopping for their items and ingredients,” says Joel Gregoire, associate director, food & drink at Mintel. “However, there is an opportunity for retailers to give the consumer new ideas that bring them back to their store and get them thinking of it as a destination for meal solutions.” CONVENIENCE FOODS FOR DINNER … AND DINNER PARTIES Consumers’ need for fresh ideas may be the reason meal kits finally have their moment in grocery. These kits were the talk of the grocery world a few years back, but struggled to win over consumers. However, in a January 2021 study by Mintel, 46% of Canadians said they would buy meal kits available for purchase at grocery stores. Asked why they used meal kits during the past six months, the top reason was meal kits provide “new meal ideas” followed closely by “simplify meal preparation.” “Meal solutions such as meal kits give consumers ideas and might get them to go a bit out of their com-

“There is an opportunity for retailers to give the consumer new ideas that bring them back to their store and get them thinking of it as a destination for meal solutions” fort zone,” says Gregoire. And, of course, there’s the convenience factor. “The consumer doesn’t have to go to three or four different parts of the grocery store and try to put the ingredients for a meal together.” Partnering with popular local restaurants is another option with strong potential. Loblaw’s Fortinos banner, for example, is selling par-baked pizzas from Toronto’s General Assembly Pizza. The pizza company got its start as a fast-casual restaurant in 2017, and three years later introduced its “freezer to table” line and a monthly subscription service. It expanded into retail this past summer, with a pilot project at five stores in the Greater Toronto Area.

Gregoire (who has purchased and tried General Assembly Pizza from Fortinos) is a fan. “The product hits on the middle tier of getting great quality that you would expect at foodservice, but you can get at the grocery store,” he says. “It also eliminates the barrier of having to sign up for a subscription service.” Food manufacturers can also get a piece of the meal solutions pie by offering different ingredients packaged together for an appealing meal. For example, Gregoire points to Blue Dragon’s Penang Curry Cooking Sauce Kit, which contains individual sachets of Penang curry paste, coconut milk, dried kaffir lime leaves and crushed peanuts. Consumers cook the sauce in three steps and add their own veggies and/ or protein. “This is fantastic because it’s something many consumers wouldn’t think to cook at home,” says Gregoire. “It highlights the fact that retailers and manufacturers need to think about offering meal solutions versus just filling out a grocery list.” Beyond solving the “what’s for dinner?” (or lunch or breakfast) question, grocers should also think about how they can help with holidays, gatherings and parties. “We talk a lot about winning the meal ... but what about when the consumer is going to have people over or a party of 15 or 20?” says IRI’s Parker. “That might be a bit out of the consumer’s comfort zone.” To capitalize on these occasions, retailers should deck the display case with party food like charcuterie boards, specialty cheeses, shrimp trays, dessert trays, mini cupcakes and more. “There is a huge opportunity for convenience foods as it relates to gatherings,” says Parker. THINK BEYOND ROTISSERIE CHICKEN When it comes to convenience foods, most retailers have their chicken programs down pat. But, as Parker jests, “At the end of the day, we can only eat so much chicken.” Beyond the bird, there’s a world of flavours, formats and attributes grocery retailers can bring to the table. For starters: health, which Parker believes is the biggest trend in meal solutions that retailers miss. Looking at the renaissance in heat-and-eat freezer meals, Parker says while there are still some comfort foods in the freezer aisle, manufacturers have expanded into specialty diets and lifestyles such as plant-based, keto and low carb. “These kinds of functional foods are so missed by deli departments,” she says. “When I talk with retailers about meal programs, I say, ‘have you walked your own frozen aisle recently? Because what’s being sold over there is doing really well and you can’t find it at all in the perimeter.’ Frozen meals are great for the freezer, but the deli entree space could be the place where consumers pick up high-quality, healthy meals that are fresh.” At Eataly, a large-format Italian marketplace, chef de cuisine Steve Geuting sees some demand for quick and healthy meals. “Salads sell well, and we added a

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Meeting consumer needs

through transparency

Canadians’ food preferences are always changing. From the type of products they’re interested in, right down to the labels and packaging, grocery shoppers are looking for goods that meet their growing standards and evolving needs. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a shift in consumer preferences towards locallysourced goods, especially when it comes to eggs. A recent survey, facilitated by the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), found that 2 out of 3 Canadians believe it is now more important than ever that the eggs they buy come from Canada. What they may not know is that Canadian eggs are always produced locally, according to the highest standards of food safety and animal welfare. To help grocery retailers communicate this, EFC launched the Egg Quality

Assurance™ (EQA®) program. The EQA® mark shows Canadians, right on the carton, that no matter what type of eggs they choose, they are fresh, local, high-quality and produced according to the rigorous standards of EFC’s Start Clean-Stay Clean® program and Animal Care Program. “Canadians are looking to make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing their food,” says Roger Pelissero, second-generation egg farmer and Chair of Egg Farmers of Canada. “While we can’t give every Canadian a tour inside our

farms, we can demonstrate our commitment to producing eggs that meet the highest standards of food safety and animal welfare through the EQA® program.” Since the launch of the EQA® certification program, more and more retailers are opting to leverage this important tool to highlight their local, made-inCanada eggs. The easy-to-identify EQA® mark allows retailers to maintain consumer trust and showcase the industry’s collective commitment to delivering a highquality product, produced by Canadian farmers.

To learn more about EQA® or how to use the mark, contact or visit the retailer section of the website.

Photos: Dean Casavechia

1- EFC EQA® National Omnibus, November 2020

Meal solutions

“When you put your vegan meal next to your rotisserie chicken case, a vegan is not going to know it’s there ... If you’re going to develop a meal solution that’s targeted towards a specific demographic that is not engaged with your department or even your store today, you have to reach out to them” range of grain and protein bowls a few months ago that also sell well,” he says. However, not everyone is looking for a healthy lunch. In the rotisserie case, Eataly’s beef brisket sandwich is the top seller. “I think people are looking for that restaurant-quality experience and they’re looking to splurge a bit more on calories when they come to Eataly,” says Geuting. Nico Dagnino, managing director of Eataly Canada, adds that highlighting local, seasonal ingredients across Eataly’s meal solutions is key. “Right now, our customers are going to find a lot of pumpkin, squash and mushroom baked dishes because it’s the right season for that, and we’re moving slightly away from tomato-based dishes,” he says. For Eataly, one big opportunity for growth is growing individual categories. For example, Eataly has expanded its soup offering, with nine varieties on offer and more to come. “Within the same category, the question is, how do we expand even more and own the category even more?” says Dagnino. “We notice that variety brings a lot of attention because people understand that you own the category and that you know what you’re doing.” At Calgary Co-op, the focus is on fresh, local, healthy, convenient and value-driven solutions. “Replication of a restaurant food experience is the goal,” says Shawn Jacks, the grocer’s senior director of fresh. “Finding creative, delicious, low-labour, price-conscious solutions in different themed cuisines to suit our patron’s evolving palate is ongoing. People are tiring of the same old, same old and seek something new that they couldn’t easily replicate at home.” Calgary Co-op’s buffet-style programs, including the curry bar, hot soup program and wing bar, have re-opened after being closed because of COVID-19. “These programs have strict food-safety and public safety sanitation standards to ensure we offer what our customers love about these programs while feeling confident they are getting safe products,” says Jacks. ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT While many grocers are attempting to make meals easy for consumers, it remains a challenge to get into consumers’ consideration set. The FMI study shows that lack of awareness among shoppers about how grocery stores offer meal solutions is a major hurdle: 35% of respondents said they don’t think grocery delis have viable meal options, up from 32% in 2017. “You have to get into the mindset of the consumer.

If I were to ask, ‘where you do you want to go for dinner?’ chances are you’re not going to think of a supermarket in your top three,” says Stein. “And so, retailers have to do a better job of getting on consumers’ radar so they become a choice.” In advertising, for example, Stein says a supermarket can promote more than the basics like produce and meat, but announce they are a meal solution provider, as though they’re a restaurant. IRI’s Parker agrees. If a retailer has a meal solution offering that fails, it’s likely because they didn’t do a good enough job telling people about it. “Across the fresh category, there’s a bit of a marketing barrier and [grocers] don’t use e-commerce and digital well enough,” she says. In addition, in store, retailers have a tendency to place meal solutions in areas the target customer doesn’t already frequent. If a retailer introduced a vegan meal solution in the deli, for example, odds are that target customer is not walking through that department. “When you put your vegan meal next to your rotisserie chicken case, a vegan is not going to know it’s there,” says Parker. “If you’re going to develop a meal solution that’s targeted towards a specific demographic that is not engaged with your department or even your store today, you have to reach out to them.” Increasingly, technology will be an important piece of the meal solutions equation. In the United States, Walmart has teamed up with media company Meredith to help families buy ingredients for meals and make them more easily through the use of AI-powered planning tools, shoppable recipes, visual search, chatbots and social media. Consumers can shop for Walmart grocery products across Meredith’s platforms, including Allrecipes, EatingWell, Real Simple and others. Through new “shoppable ad experiences,” consumers can access content providing meal solutions and add recipe ingredients directly to their Walmart online grocery cart. This past June, U.S. supermarket giant Albertsons announced its partnership with DoorDash to offer grocery delivery, including fresh and prepared foods, within an hour. “I do think it’s innovative because as a shopper, you can order pantry items you’re out of and you don’t have to order pizza [from a restaurant] on DoorDash. You can order [a prepared meal] from Albertsons,” says Parker. It’s a win for grocers, too. “They don’t have to figure out the delivery part because they’re using DoorDash.” FMI’s Stein believes that while grocers are starting to come along on the technology front, there’s still a way to go. “The restaurant industry has done a great job over the years of adapting to mobile ordering and curbside pickup and delivery, and grocers were behind on that,” he says. “They are starting to develop apps just for the foodservice side ... but I think technology is the area where grocers have a bit of work to do.” CG

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Mondelēz’s continuing change journey puts people and culture centre stage President Martin Parent on how the organization is seizing the opportunity presented by the pandemic to embrace new ways of working, as it works towards becoming a snacking leader. When I joined Mondelēz Canada nearly three years ago, I quickly established a vision for us to become snacking leaders in Canada by 2023. To get there we’d have to make considerable changes, and began by streamlining our portfolio early on in the pandemic. After 18 months of managing through crisis, prioritizing safety, adapting to new snacking habits and occasions, it was time for action on making people and culture our true differentiator and embracing new ways of working. Focusing on people I’ve always said that our job goes beyond simply making good products for Canadians. We have to support our people however we can and provide a top-quality work experience. To make sure we’re doing that, this year we’ve continued to prioritize mental health and well-being through new training and support programs. For example, our Simply Work protocols help employees create better boundaries while working from home – as many of our people have been doing since the start of the pandemic. After listening to our employees and what they needed to work smarter, while preserving their overall wellbeing, we limited meetings outside of traditional work hours, over lunch time and on Friday afternoons. Our DE&I commitments are also core to the business; in our hiring practices, procurement, support for minority-owned businesses, and undertakings regarding BIPOC representation in leadership. I’m very proud of our independent employee inclusion groups (EIGs), funded by the company, which added a Black Colleagues Council, Indigenous Peoples Council, and United Colours of Canada group in 2021. We also held our yearly Culture Day, a companywide day-long session for all employees on DE&I and wellness, which this year addressed inclusion and self-care. The spirit of caring and responsiveness continued to extend to employees beyond our office, too. In 2021, we continued to make positive changes for our plant workers, reinstituting the two weeks of

“COVID days” implemented at the beginning of the pandemic, for this year. Moving “home” to Gladstone To embrace the future of work and continue building a high-performance culture, we also knew we had to look critically at our existing office spaces. We are excited to be opening our new headquarters this winter, which will see us move from Etobicoke into our historic Gladstone facility in Toronto’s vibrant West End. Employee teams have helped lead the design of the new space, which prioritizes the “3 Cs” – Culture, Collaboration, and Creativity – and develop new ways of working that will reframe the concept of the office for us. The default form of work will be virtual, but our people and managers will decide how much office time is best for themselves and their teams – with an emphasis on facilitating collaboration. We’re also leaning into new and cutting-edge tech (for us) to enable that collaborative work in-person and remotely. Everything will be integrated into a mobile app – whether that’s booking a parking spot, a desk, or meeting room, in addition to accessing health and wellness information. Both eyes on the future We’re looking to stand out from our competitors, to retain our best people and give them even more room to grow, as we seek out top new talent where needed. We know companies who don’t offer tech-enabled workplaces that prioritize collaboration and creativity as well as flexible work practices will lose out in the long run. It’s our hope that an industry-leading work culture, and new location in the lively Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, will both be major draws for talent as we pursue our transformation into a future-oriented organization.


The new world of loyalty What will it take to earn customer loyalty in the days and years ahead? More than points, say the experts


By Danny Kucharsky

WITH CUSTOMER LOYALTY poised to become more of a rarity in the post-pandemic world, grocers may be forced to rethink their loyalty programs. So says Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. Charlebois believes food prices will continue to increase as the economy grows. In response, consumers will become more frugal; they’ll also become choosier and will shop around more. As a result, “grocers need to become more aggressive in rewarding loyalty as much as possible,” he says. “The pandemic has allowed consumers to realize that they have more choices.” With frugality set to become more of a factor, Charlebois suggests grocers should connect their loyalty programs with in-store departments where consumers are feeling challenged financially such as the meat counter. Grocers should also provide shoppers with the opportunity to earn more loyalty points in the periphery of stores. “You want to reward people who are buying

fresh and buying products for which margins are much higher.” Consumers will also be trading down and looking for house brands, and retailers may want to encourage such purchases with more points, he says. These strategies are just a few of the ways grocers’ loyalty programs are expected to evolve in the coming years, according to experts. To an increasing extent, loyalty programs will be about getting shoppers to spend more time on retailers’ digital platforms to enhance their shopping experiences, says Amar Singh, senior director at data analytics and brand consulting firm Kantar in Toronto. “Before they even step into the store, you present promotions that are relevant to them, leveraging personalized data and advanced analytics and encouraging them to spend more time engaging” with loyalty program offerings and services. Rexall’s Be Well app, for example, rewards members for interacting with the program when they choose personal health goals and stick to them, says Singh.

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Similarly, the free PC Health app from Loblaw provides users with personalized tools and recommendations based on their health needs and goals. Members earn 20 PC Optimum points for each health program activity they complete. Such services allow retailers to better understand consumer behaviour and preferences and, in turn, expose members to relevant promotions and create opportunities for everything from vitamins and supplements to personal care brands, Singh says. “Grocery data is among the most predictive data in retail, so when you start mixing that with health behaviours, activities, outcomes and conditions, there is definitely a case to be made,” explains Sean Claessen, chief strategy officer at loyalty management firm Bond Brand Loyalty in Mississauga, Ont. The jury is still out, however, on whether retailers such as Loblaw have earned enough confidence from consumers to allow their health data to be combined with their grocery consumption data. Nevertheless, Loblaw appears to be doing much that is right when it comes to loyalty. According to the retail giant, more than half of Canada’s adults are members of the PC Optimum program. And a Bond Brand Loyalty survey found PC Optimum is, in fact, the No. 1 loyalty program in Canada in the grocery/pharmacy/warehouse sector, followed by Co-op Membership and Loblaw’s paid membership program, PC Optimum Insiders. With loyalty programs, today’s shoppers are not only looking for transactional value, Singh says. “They want brands to help them simplify their lives. They want brands to take a leadership role in providing ideas and inspiration. That’s become a standard expectation for a successful loyalty program.” Consumers want to engage with a loyalty program to help them solve everyday problems, he adds, and this presents retailers with the opportunity to inspire shoppers and provide them with engaging services. “Share of wallet is going to become all about increasing and reinforcing the share of life so that you spend more time on a retailer’s loyalty platform,” explains Singh. Brian Ross, president of Precima, a NielsenIQ company that specializes in global retail strategy and analytics, says personalization is the future of loyalty as opposed to the much broader programs of the past. With advances in technology, digital, mobile, e-commerce and analytics coming together to allow retailers to deliver individualized offers to consumers, “personalization is the new loyalty,” he says. “Consumers join loyalty programs because they want additional savings,” says Dawn Buzynski, director, strategic communications at Iowa-based grocer Hy-Vee, which has more than 265 outlets in the U.S. Midwest. “Typically, they join because of an incentive, but they stay in the program because it’s a brand they know and trust and the perks and benefits are of value based on their lifestyle. The key to retention is to continually provide relevant value and that comes from personalization. We tie rewards to a customer’s wants and needs.” 40  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021

Buzynski says the grocer’s loyalty program, Hy-Vee Fuel Saver + Perks, generally remained unchanged for the first six years after its 2012 launch. But “over the past three years, we have evolved our program to be more personalized and flexible,” and to adapt to the convergence of digital and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. A large percentage of customers moved to Hy-Vee’s e-commerce platform when the COVID-19 pandemic began, “which accelerated our plans to move Fuel Saver + Perks to a completely digital rewards program. Now, customers don’t need a card to use and redeem Fuel Saver rewards. They can simply scan their Hy-Vee mobile app card at the fuel pump.” Fuel savings are what consumers value the most in the program, she notes. Precima’s Ross says the growing penetration of e-commerce in grocery will certainly continue after COVID, but for most grocers the big focus will be on understanding today’s omni-shoppers and the role played by the physical store, pickup and delivery in the overall customer experience. A 2020 report by McKinsey in the United States predicts that in the aftermath of the pandemic, “the most successful retailers will be those that connect with consumers in new ways by leaning in on their digital, omnichannel and in-store technology ambitions.” The new loyalty paradigm is also rooted in “additional experiences and services that create new touchpoints.” The pandemic showed retailers that e-commerce was one of the main ways to maintain connectivity and traffic, says Bond Brand Loyalty’s Claessen, and at the beating heart of e-commerce is a good loyalty program that communicates with customers. Controversies surrounding Facebook and other sites have made social media less dependable places for grocers to spend marketing dollars. As a result, grocers are doubling down on loyalty programs, says Claessen. “They’re starting to realize there’s a reason to rethink and create some differentiation in their programs.” There is still too much mimicry in loyalty programs, he says, and marketers are asking: “How is my grocery program different from the next grocer? Those were distant questions in the past.” The ability to make loyalty programs unique is greater than it has ever been, he says, as the technology is cheaper and the techniques and skills are much more known and available. According to Bond Brand Loyalty’s 2021 Loyalty Report, only 49% of Canadian marketers felt their organization’s digital strategy was strong enough prior to COVID-19 but 85% say the pandemic has accelerated their digital strategy. The influence of loyalty remains strong, the company also found, with 77% of consumers agreeing loyalty programs make them more likely to continue to do business with brands. Usability is an important factor as well for a successful loyalty program in grocery, Hy-Vee’s Buzynski says. “The program needs to have an interface that allows customers to quickly find important data such as account information and rewards status. If a customer cannot quickly access that information or have


Loyalty programs

a seamless way to redeem rewards, they will not stay in the program,” she says. “Redeeming rewards and credits needs to be easy and clearly understood. That creates the ideal user experience and leads to customer loyalty longevity.” For its 2021 Premium Loyalty Data Study, Clarus Commerce—a firm that specializes in building premium loyalty programs—surveyed 2,500 consumers and found 76% are willing to pay for premium loyalty programs in return for free, faster shipping, instant discounts and giveaways. Bruce Winder, a retail analyst and author in Toronto, says grocery loyalty programs are “at the precipice of a change” with more loyalty programs like PC Optimum Insiders set to enter the fray. He warns, however, that grocers who go down the paid membership path will have to offer great value, especially if Amazon decides to ramp up its grocery presence in Canada. For example, Loblaw’s premium PC Optimum Insiders program offers free click-and-collect but not free shipping. “I don’t know if that’s good enough,” Winder says. As long as paid loyalty programs provide good value and services, akin to the offerings of Amazon Prime, consumers will see the benefits of joining, says Kantar’s Singh. With more than 150 million global members, Amazon Prime gives members access to unlimited free two-day shipping and perks like its streaming service in exchange for an annual fee. Singh notes Amazon Prime’s household penetration in Canada is almost at

the same level as Canadian Tire’s free Triangle program, an offshoot of the Canadian Tire money program, which is one of the oldest loyalty programs in the country. Looking to other sectors, Winder says one paid loyalty program with high potential is Lululemon’s, which is currently available only in Edmonton and Toronto in Canada. For an annual cost of $168, members get a free pair of yoga pants valued at more than $100, experiential benefits such as passes to online or in-person workout classes and events, live digital workshops and first dibs on select product releases. When you consider what members get in exchange for the cost, the program “has decent value behind it,” he says. To a growing extent, consumers are not only looking for reward points but for meaning from grocers’ loyalty programs, according to Bond Brand Loyalty’s Claessen. “They want to know that Company X lives up to my value system, my view of the environment. If you can tell me my participation with you in said loyalty program carbon offsets my flight or the company is carbon offsetting the last mile of packages to my door, I will spend more money here with someone who lives up to my value system. That’s a bigger shift than most retailers have absorbed. This is a bigger motivational difference in consumers than we have ever seen.” While value for money is important, says Claessen, too many loyalty programs have only played to that driver at a time when consumers are seeking greater flexibility and convenience in their lives. CG


The Uses

The Ingredients Our soy sauce is brewed with four simple ingredients; Water, Soybeans, Wheat, and Salt, with No Added Preservatives.

Recipes at

An all purpose seasoning that adds an umami boost to all your favourite dishes!

The Brewing Our soy sauce is traditionally brewed for several months to create a rich umami flavour.

Season Your Life!

*Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc. calculation based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its Markettrack Service for the Soy Sauce Category) for the 52-week period ending Nov 28 2020, for National Canada All Channel, according to the NielsenIQ standard product hierarchy. Copyright © 2021, Nielsen Consumer LLC.





POURING IT ON From pasta sauces to hot sauces and more, sales and innovations are booming in the sauce category By Jessica Huras

Whether it’s a rich pasta sauce for transforming leftovers into a delicious casserole or a spicy hot sauce for kicking up the flavour of a bland dish, sauces have the power to add extra oomph to our meals. With much cooking still being done at home, consumers are really pouring it on when it comes to sauces. According to research from Ipsos, sauce usage in home cooking is up by 22% compared to the pre-pandemic period, says Kathy Perrotta, vice-president of market strategy & understanding at Ipsos. Indeed, NielsenIQ data for the past two years shows big sales jumps for sauces in Canada from September 2019 to September 2021—meat and seafood sauce sales rose 26% from $109 million to $138 million in that two-year period, for example, while Asian sauces rose 28% from $105 million to $135.5 million, and barbecue sauce sales grew 16% from $74 million to $86 million. “Young millennial families are still a driving force, but we’ve started

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 43


BEEF UP YOUR BUSINESS The Canada Beef and Veal team has a steak in your future! PROMOTION AND MARKETING




• National, regional and independent operator promotion and sales building programs • National and regional distributors support programs

• Butchery and culinary education resources for the food processor, retail, foodservice and academic teams • Education and training video production for industry

• Branded and co-branded support programs

• Food safety and quality assurance

• Cooperative advertising support

• Consumer product experience support

• Development and production of custom marketing resources

• Value chain familiarization for domestic and export market buyer groups

• Canada Beef marketing library

• Event marketing and trade show activations

• Supply chain development

• Carcass utilization and value optimization

• Food safety systems resources

• Engaging in on-line seminars and conferencing

• Beef buyers guides, wall charts and reference materials

• Web-based education and training for processor, retail and foodservice professionals

• Partner programs

• Market insights

• Consumer marketing support

• Trends analysis

For more information about promotion and marketing: Rod Koning, Executive Director, Channel Marketing

For more information about education and training: Mathieu Pare, Executive Director, Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence

* Access to CBCE facilities will be in accordance with current COVID-19 health guidelines.

Aisles to see an elevated interest across many demographics,” says Kelsey McKitterick, category business manager, taste elevation, sauces and away-from-home at Kraft Heinz Canada, adding that the company’s sauce sales were on the rise even before the pandemic. “There has been heightened interest in cooking aids, with both sauces and condiment categories delivering the quick and convenient meal enhancement consumers are looking for during these at-home occasions,” she says. “The pandemic has amplified these sales trends, driving significant growth in the last 18 months.” More good news, according to McKitterick, is that these strong sales are likely to continue. “Our insights suggest that even in a post-COVID world, a number of these at-home habits will end up continuing,” she says. “Traditional work routines are being disrupted by companies adopting a hybrid or full work-from-home model, resulting in a significant portion of these [eating] occasions continuing to occur within households.” Perrotta suggests consumer desire for convenient ingredients like sauces is experiencing a resurgence as we settle into new daily routines that are equally as busy as our pre-pandemic ones. “We’ve seen an evolution from those early ‘staycation’ days,” she explains. “The quest for convenience remains as strong, if not stronger, than it did in the pre-pandemic time.” In addition to convenience, Perrotta says many consumers turn to pre-made sauces because they provide reassurance that their home-cooked meals will turn out tasty. “It ensures the outcome might be better than if I scratch-cooked something,” she says. “The idea of ‘aided cooking’ is not just for time but also for results.” Richa Gupta, founder of Good Food For Good, a brand specializing in better-foryou sauces, says this idea of creating fast, reliable meals is a big selling point for her customers. “The benefit of sauces is even if you don’t know how to cook things from scratch, they allow you to take those shortcuts but without compromising on quality,” she says. Digs Dorfman, CEO of Toronto grocer The Sweet Potato, says simplifying cooking seems to be the driving force behind the store’s best-selling sauces. “For instance, we sell a lot of tamari, which most people don’t know how to make at home,” he says. “We also do a decent

volume of ketchup and mustards, espe- Perrotta says she could see this changing cially during the summer months, both in the coming years. In addition to offerof which [are sauces] people are unlikely ing consumers a way to customize their to make at home.” sauces, the bulk model also The pandemic has seen many “We’ve seen uses refillable bottles, tapping consumers favouring familiar, an evolution into the growing demand for staple sauces over more advenfrom those sustainable packaging options. turous options. “Consumers early ‘stay­ “As we continue to see younger have retreated from searching cation’ days. consumer cohorts [in particular] for the latest and greatest and The quest for looking mindfully at things like retreated to comfort,” says Perconvenience recycling and single-serve plasrotta. She adds that home barremains as tic, it’s an interesting concept becuing saw an increase over strong, if not for sauces,” she says. the past year as part of this stronger, than Hot sauce seems to be finding movement towards nostalgic it did in the a sweet spot between old-school fare, driving a corresponding pre-pandemic and new-school flavours. “Hot rise in barbecue sauce sales. time” sauce is also on the increase and “People went back to things it has been on the rise for some that were on the decline,” she says. “Bar- time,” Perrotta explains. “That’s partly becue sauces and sauces for pasta, they driven by that expanded global cuisine all support that need or that quest for Canadians have at their fingertips based comfort and nostalgia.” on our diverse cultural backgrounds, but Jonathan Cho, senior brand manager it’s really more around spicing up the old for Conagra’s VH brand, says classics like favourites.” plum sauce and teriyaki sauce continue Michael Burgess, founder of Nerpy’s to be among VH’s bestsellers. “The clas- Inc., says he’s seen a dramatic change in sics are classics for a reason,” he says. his consumer demographic since starting That doesn’t mean, however, that inno- his hot sauce brand more than a decade vation is absent in the world of sauces. ago. In the early days, he says most of his “We’re seeing increased interest in spicy, customers came from the West Indian rich, and creamy sauces,” says McKitter- community, but now his products are gainick. This year, Kraft Heinz also rolled out ing traction with a much wider audience. several fusion-style sauces that combine Burgess partly credits the web series popular flavours including “hanch” (hot Hot Ones for getting consumers interested sauce and ranch), “tarchup” (tartar sauce in hot sauce. “It’s been a tremendous and ketchup) and “wasabioli” (wasabi and boost to the industry overall,” he says of garlic aioli), which McKitterick says were the show. “I think that’s helped to drive inspired by consumer suggestions posted some of the engagement at the consumer online. “The Heinz ‘crowdsauced’ flavours level, especially with a younger audience. are recent success stories that highlight They’ll go to the store and buy different the growing trends coming from outside hot sauces and then go home and do their the classic sauce offerings,” she says. own version of a hot wing challenge.” Adam Tully, senior director, food operLorraine Hawley, chief production offiations for Calgary Co-Op, is also seeing a cer for Toronto’s Fresh City Farms, says trend around flavour mashups. “We have sales of sauces are up overall at their stores, noticed different flavour profiles coming and hot sauce is particularly popular. She out and crossing over,” he says. “We’re see- notes consumers seem to be shifting away ing a crossover from habanero and srira- from super spicy hot sauces and, instead, cha into barbecue sauces …. [and] Frank’s are showing more interest in unique flahot sauce now has a line of dipping sauce.” vours made with mushroom and fruit Perrotta says bulk sauces are becoming bases. “They’re a little more flavour-forpopular in some international markets, ward while still having the heat,” she says. which also plays into this trend of mixing Beyond seeking great flavour, consumbestselling flavours. “You go to the store ers are also looking for sauces that are and pump your own [sauce], and it can locally made and promise better-for-you be an interesting part of the experience benefits. Nerpy’s products, for example, to be able to construct your own personal are free of artificial ingredients, as well sauces,” she says. Although the bulk sauce as low in carbs, sugar and sodium. Burconcept isn’t widespread in Canada yet, gess says the clean label and the brand’s

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 45

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Aisles location in Richmond Hill, Ont. (tapping into that “local” appeal) are both important to his customers. He notes that Nerpy’s One Drop Green Seasoning has found niche success with vegans and those with nut allergies due to its similarity to traditional pesto sauce—but minus the pine nuts and dairy. Hawley says Fresh City Farms recently added Toronto brand Alchemy Pickle Company’s hot sauce to its shelves, which caters to consumer demand for better-foryou, local sauce options. Fermented hot sauces such as Alchemy’s feature naturally occurring probiotic bacteria, allowing them to offer similar potential health benefits to products like kombucha. “Fermented hot sauces are doing really well,” says Hawley. “I think the functional aspect and nutritional aspects of all things fermentation is still going really strong, and hot sauce is the easiest way to jazz up a meal.” The Good Food For Good brand was founded specifically with health-conscious sauce consumers in mind. The sauces are organic and made with no added sugar. “More and more people are trying to avoid added sugars—especially added hidden sugars,” explains Gupta. “And a serving of [traditional] barbecue sauce [sometimes] has more sugar than a doughnut.” Gupta says many of her customers follow keto, paleo, or whole 30 diets and are looking for flavour boosters for home cooking that also fit their needs. “When you’re trying to eat healthily, it becomes very challenging when you can’t add flavour because anything you see that adds [flavour] has things in it that you can’t eat,” she says. Good Food For Good’s lineup already includes ketchup, barbecue sauces, and cooking sauces like tikka masala. Its most recent launch is a plant-based Bolognese sauce made with pumpkin seeds. “We use ground-up pumpkin seeds to give the mouthfeel of beef,” explains Gupta. Perrotta recommends grocers consider consumers’ main motivations for purchasing sauces when strategizing their retail displays. “The sauce can be an afterthought, so it’s about being top-ofmind and having those cross-marketing initiatives to remind consumers of how they can flavour different things in different ways,” she says. With COVID limiting in-store tastings of new sauces, Hawley says Fresh City Farms has seen success with re-merchandising

more frequently to help catch the interest of customers. “As our repeat customers come back, they’re [at least] seeing new things without necessarily being able to taste them,” she says. “We’re moving things around and showing them at different eye levels in different spots in the store, and merchandising them with the things that they would go well with, whether it’s a chutney in the cheese

fridge or a hot sauce near the entrees.” Good Food For Good’s Gupta agrees the key to successful retail displays is playing up the convenience and versatility of cooking with sauces. “If [consumers] go to the store and they see things merchandised as a meal solution versus going to this aisle for this and that aisle for that, you might just make their lives much easier,” she says.


Home cooking has been experiencing its biggest boost in recent memory that has, of course, resulted in condiments, sauces and spreads experiencing phenomenal sales growth since 2019. From peanut butter and salad dressings to ketchup, barbecue sauce, maple syrup and more, this data from NielsenIQ reveals dollar sales for a variety of condiments, spreads and sauces. $ SALES 52 WEEKS $ SALES 52 WEEKS $ SALES 52 WEEKS ENDING SEPT. 21, ENDING SEPT. 29, ENDING SEPT. 18, 2019 2020 2021





Cooking oils




Peanut butter




Salad dressing - pourable




Mayonnaise & spoonable salad dressing




Seasonings & salad toppings








Jams, jellies & marmalades












Sweet spreads








Pure maple syrups




Meat & seafood sauces




Asian sauces












Baking & cooking sauce




Barbecue sauces




Chili sauce




Garlic spreads








November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 47


Shipping Now! Contact for more information.


Across the board


Charcuterie continues to gain momentum with exciting new options By Michele Sponagle THE CHARCUTERIE trend—particularly, the artfully arranged boards featuring a mixed variety of high-quality snackable meats and cheeses—has been growing since 2017, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed that growth into the stratosphere, as working from home turned many consumers into grazers. Peaking at an 80% volume increase in the second quarter of 2020, pre-packed charcuterie is now up 40% over 2019 in the United States, according to IRI POS Syndicated Data. “Several trends in food culture are at play, including the popularity of small plates, in-house preparation, local sourcing and butchers letting no part of the animal go to waste,” says Shelley Balanko, senior vice-president, The Hartman Group. “Charcuterie is a great vehicle for flavour discovery and social eating.” While charcuterie has broad appeal across all age groups, millennials are fully embracing it. “They’re the most focused on global food experiences, health and wellness trends, and trends in sustainable food sourcing,” says Balanko. To promote sales, she suggests grocers share the stories behind products, especially those from authentic food traditions. Toronto grocer Pusateri’s has seen this, too. “The demand has increased tremendously due to guests’ awareness around the story and quality of products they are consuming,” says Jennifer De Guzman, category manager. “Charcuterie

showcases a variety of authentic flavours and has become a convenient solution for snacking, meals and entertaining.” Sales of Pusateri’s cured meats—like its house-branded Prosciutto Riserva, dry aged for 18 months—are doing well, alongside bite-size chorizo and a global array of cheese, including Oveja aux Truffes Cheese with black truffles from Spain, Switzerland’s Kaltbach Le Gruyere and Ilchester Applewood Smoked Cheddar from the United Kingdom. The retailer also offers finishing touches for charcuterie boards like ice wine jellies, fig spreads, aged balsamic vinegar, artisanal honey, nuts, flatbreads and dried fruit. Pusateri’s also sells the boards themselves, to offer consumers one-stop charcuterie shopping. Producers behind the ingredients are riding the charcuterie wave, too. “There are just so many exciting things happening in this space,” says Michelle Harper, vice-president, brand development & innovation at B.C.-based Freybe Gourmet Foods, whose wide array of internationally-inspired meats (from salami and chorizo to cervelat and jagdwurst) has benefited from the trend. “Our charcuterie growth has been incredible. Exploring and travelling through food—a major challenge over the last 18 months— continues to drive consumers to look for fresh, intriguing options.” Harper recommends grocers invest in new, unique items as consumers look

to shake up their boards and get adventurous. “Social media continues to be a driver for inspiration,” says Harper. “We’ve found users who engage with platforms like Pinterest have a very high purchase intent.” Boursin cheese is a charcuterie board mainstay and remains one of the top platter cheeses on the Canadian market, according to Marie-Eve Robert, vice-president marketing, Bel Cheese Canada. Success has sparked the introduction of new flavours, like Apple & Maple (2019) and Fig & Balsamic (2020), as well as a dairyfree Garlic & Herbs, larger formats and canape-sized minis. The company works closely with social media influencers to provide creative ideas for promotion. Though meat and cheese-focused charcuterie isn’t going anywhere, it’s evolving to include plant-based options— and it’s not just vegans buying them, says Mitchell Scott, co-founder and CEO of B.C.-based The Very Good Butchers. Flexitarians are adding non-meat options to their charcuterie boards, he notes, as the quality and variety of plant-based items has come a long way in the last five years. The charcuterie trend has been great for sales of the company’s minimally processed vegan products. “It has definitely impacted our business positively,” Scott says. “We offer a charcuterie box that’s doing very well.” It features meatless items like a pepperoni made with organic adzuki beans, Smokin’ Bangers, Ribz and bacon. The Very Good Butchers is also launching a gluten-free Butcher’s Select line. “Charcuterie is being redefined,” explains Scott. “Obviously what we’re doing is plant-based meat and cheese, but in our eyes it is still meat and cheese, just made from different ingredients.” Plant-based dips also find a home on today’s charcuterie boards. Spread’Em Kitchen’s digital marketer Maggie Turner believes female millennials are propelling the trend forward. The company’s beet-based dip is a favourite, thanks to its bright fuchsia hue. “Innovation doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” she says. These days, “charcuterie” is often extended to mean anything presented on a board, themed around everything from breakfast items to desserts. Instagram alone has 1.3 million tagged charcuterie posts, with users flaunting artful boards and perfectly executed salami roses. ‘Board’-dom is not an option.

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 49


NEW - Ground and Whole Bean, 300g



Coffee love remains strong, according to a new CAC study, but Canadian consumers are thirsty for innovation


By Rosalind Stefanac

EVEN AMIDST the upheaval of pandemic times, Canadians’ coffee consumption has stayed steady, show the latest results of the Coffee Association of Canada’s (CAC) annual Canadian Coffee Drinking Trends Study. If anything, the pandemic has proven that Canadians still love their coffee even if they’re drinking it at home, says CAC president Robert Carter, pointing to study results showing that seven in 10 Canadians will have consumed a coffee in the past day (the study measures past-day consumption). “Now, in the later months of 2021 we are still in recovery mode, but coffee as an entire category did not see a decline during the pandemic compared to other sectors,” says Carter. “In the grocery store category, we know that coffee sales have increased.” Similar to other food and beverage categories, the shift to in-home consumption of coffee increased during the pandemic. As of August 2021, 23% of survey respondents said they had a coffee prepared outof-home the previous day, compared to pre-pandemic

levels of 40%. Even as COVID-19 restrictions lift and “normal” life resumes, Carter expects in-home coffee habits to stay strong, especially as more and more people continue to work from home. That there was no decline in the consumption of espresso-based beverages during the pandemic suggests coffee drinkers are finding ways to make their favourite beverages at home, too. “In-home consumption should continue to be a bigger part of overall consumption and it’s certainly larger today than it was pre-pandemic,” he says. While java consumption habits stay strong, what is changing is the desire for innovative coffee products. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in cold coffee consumption, not only out-of-home but even in the ready-to-drink category for cold brews,” explains Carter. “We’ve seen a lot of innovation with the smaller manufacturers introducing these niche products and consumers are really responding.” Just as beer drinkers are expressing a growing fondness for Canadian microbrewers and unique beer blends, he says coffee tastes are evolving in a similar vein. “People are looking for unique micro roasters and when you get smaller new players into a category, it can be exciting in terms of flavour profiles,” he says. The research showed that coffee roasters saw a shift in delivery volumes, with more deliveries going to grocery stores and fewer to foodservice outlets. Many roasters had also established direct-to-consumer delivery channels. HOW GROCERS CAN MAKE COFFEE EXCITING Carter believes grocers have a great opportunity to hone in on current trends by expanding their variety of coffee products. “That could mean providing some of the unique niche offerings consumers are really responding to,” he says. “If it were me manning my coffee category, I’d be focusing on the upscaling and uniqueness of the category to create a real point of difference.” By looking to some of the current innovative direct-to-consumer channels (such as online coffee subscription programs), Carter says grocers, too, can get creative with their coffee offerings. “Perhaps you provide all the ingredients needed for consumers to become their own specialty baristas at home,” he says. “You see grocers doing that in other categories where they provide different menu items and recipes, and it works.” With the growing number of socially conscious consumers these days, he says sustainability is also a key ask when it comes to coffee purchases. This means grocers need to be able to provide information that will satisfy questions around the sustainable sourcing of coffee beans, country of origin, etc. “I find when grocers treat coffee like just a commodity, there’s no excitement to it,” says Carter. “There’s definitely opportunity to add more education and innovation in this category.”

November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 51


While most teas are made by steeping leaves in hot water, matcha is a ground powder of whole green tea leaves that is mixed with water. “Unlike other green teas, when consuming matcha, you are consuming the entire leaf,” explains Oussama Saoudi, founder of the Montreal-based energy infusion drink company ToroMatcha. “It has more nutritional properties and flavours.” Matcha is high in antioxidants, which can help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. It can also improve brain function. Dana McCauley, chief experience officer of the Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN), notes matcha can be an acquired taste for some. “It’s got a slightly bitter flavour, which is not universally loved,” McCauley says. “But that bitterness is balanced by bright, sweet vegetal flavours.” 52  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021

Matcha Four things to know By Andrea Yu

2  THE ZEN OF GREEN “The history of matcha and its role in ceremonial tea rituals fascinates the culinary historian in me,” says cfin’s Dana McCauley. “In the Tang and Song Chinese dynasties, matcha became popular, spread to Japan and became part of the Zen Buddhist practice. It was the Buddhists who learned how to grow green tea in shady areas, a technique that resulted in matcha being more healthful than before.”

“Unlike other green teas, when consuming matcha, you are consuming the entire leaf”

4  SPECIAL-TEA AISLES Are you a grocer who’s new to stocking matcha products? Jeff Proseilo, grocery category manager of Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD) in Vancouver, recommends diversifying matcha offerings to cover multiple categories like snacks, beverages, candy and ice cream. “Do a matcha-themed promotion where matcha products from all categories are included to show the diversity of offerings,” he suggests. “Educate salespeople or share education with customers about the benefits of

3  MORE MATCHA Health and wellness trends have led to an uptick of interest in matcha in North America, says CFIN’s Dana McCauley. “As yoga and martial arts mainstreamed in Canada, more people started to explore the other aspects of the self-care practices associated with those fitness regimes,” she says. “Likewise, our interest in regional and authentic ethnic foods and drinks led to more access to such products making them both ‘gourmet’ and ‘accessible’ at the same time.” ToroMatcha’s Oussama Saoudi says the Japanese were the first to incorporate matcha into confectionery and baked goods, which has become a more common practice in North America where drinks like matcha lattes are a more mainstream consumption vehicle. These days, consumers can find smoothies, desserts and even packaged items like KitKat bars, Oreo cookies and ice cream with matcha as a featured ingredient. Karen Danudjaja, founder and CEO of the Vancouver-based superfood blends company Blume, believes matcha has become popular in North America as an alternative to coffee. “Many people are trying to manage their caffeine intake,” she says. “Matcha boasts a higher nutrient potency than goji berries, and thanks to the natural substance L-theanine found in [green tea] leaves, sipping on this vibrant green goddess will calm your body and mind.” Blume’s Matcha Coconut blend is popular among a wide demographic, according to Danudjaja. “People from all walks of life are attracted to the health benefits and taste of this delicious superfood.”

matcha. You can capitalize on the health benefits to drive all category sales.” CFIN’s Dana McCauley believes grocers can go further by targeting specific demographics with matcha promotions. “If you serve an ageing, affluent demographic, choose matcha products that are lower in fat and calories to satisfy true health drivers,” she recommends. “If your store [has] a young, urban demographic, stock all the fun and adventurous matcha products that are Instagrammable and experiential.”



New on shelf! 1  GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD PLANT-BASED BOLOGNESE SAUCES Good Food for Good has launched an innovative line of plant-based Bolognese sauces featuring pumpkin seeds as the star ingredient—ideal because they’re a natural and nutritious superfood with a low water and carbon footprint, according to the Torontobased company. Available in Classic, Creamy or Spicy varieties, the Bolognese sauces are made using only organic ingredients with no sugar or preservatives added. 2  NATURAL DELIGHTS MINI MEDJOOLS To feed the growing consumer appetite for healthy, on-the-go snacks there’s Natural Delights Mini Medjools, available in Coconut, Cacao Pecan, and Sweet and Salty Almond. These bite-sized treats blend Medjool dates with other simple, natural ingredients, according to the California-based company, and they’re packed full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.



3  ZOGLO’S INCREDIBLE FROZEN MEAT ALTERNATIVES Zoglo’s has launched a new line of frozen meat alternative products. Called Zoglo’s Incredible, the 12-SKU range includes sausage links, mushroom burgers, shawarma, and pub style tenders. Each product in the line is non-GMO and nitrate-free. Zoglo’s Incredible joins the Toronto-based company’s Originals brand of plant-based products, which launched in 1995 and is still available at stores nationwide.


4  HUNGRY BUDDHA KETO BARS: LEMON BLUEBERRY AND MINT CHIP Montreal-based Buddha Brands has unveiled two new flavours in its Hungry Buddha Keto Bars lineup: Lemon Blueberry and Mint Chip. The new flavours join existing flavours—Triple Chocolate, Coconut Cocoa, Espresso Brownie, and Chocolate Chip—in this line of keto-friendly bars. The bars are made with MCT oil and sunflower seeds as a source of healthy fats, pea protein for plant-based fuel, and monk fruit for a touch of sweetness. 5  MAISON RIVIERA KETO-FRIENDLY GREEK YOGOURT Maison Riviera’s new keto-friendly Greek yogurt offers the same creamy taste of traditional Greek yogurt, with only 9% milk fat, according to the Quebec-based brand. Available in Coconut, Plain and Strawberry flavours, the new yogurts are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and rich in probiotics. They are also lactose-free and certified kosher.  CG

The latest products hitting shelves


5 November 2021 ||  CANADIAN GROCER 53

Express Lane


Too Good to Go Canada manager Sam Kashani on how food-saving apps can to help solve one of society’s most challenging problems By Chris Powell

ACCORDING to United Nations estimates, as much as one-third of all food produced around the world ends up in landfill. But food waste isn’t just a humanitarian concern: the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said it’s responsible for between 8% and 10% of the emissions of gases that contribute to global warming. There’s been a rise in apps dedicated to curbing food waste, with the five-year- old Too Good to Go emerging as one of the global leaders. Founded in Denmark, the company operates in 15 countries and established a Canadian foothold this year. Recently, Canadian Grocer spoke with the company’s country manager for Canada, Sam Kashani, about why food waste has become such a hot-button issue, and how these apps have the potential to make meaningful change.

How does Too Good to Go work? The model is quite simple: we connect consumers with stores that have surplus food at the end of the day. Consumers go to a defined pickup window and pick up a “surprise bag” that could be assorted groceries, a prepared meal, or baked goods, at a great value [one-third of the actual cost]. If you think of a local pizza shop or bakery or grocery store, for them to match supply and demand is an almost impossible task because it changes almost daily. Our platform [gives them the ability] to sell down to zero waste. 54  CANADIAN GROCER || November 2021

What differentiates this from other food rescue apps? The root of our service is [the fact] that food waste is unpredictable. If you ask any grocer or local independent restaurant or business owner, they can’t tell you definitively what they’ll have left at the end of the day. Our surprise pack model is very partner focused, in the sense that it aligns with the challenges they face.

Are you confident you’ll be able to have a tangible impact on reducing food waste? The short answer is yes, for two reasons. First, the model of how we’re fighting the problem is around democratization. When it comes to fighting food waste, most people focus on policy makers and say, “That’s the only way we can change this.” Our model is starting with you and me, and then going upstream. The more we have a grassroots movement, it brings people on board to further our impact and gives us the tools to make a tangible difference. Also, we’re hitting the 90-day mark [of Too Good to Go] in Canada, and the reception has been wonderful. But when I look at markets in Europe, where we’ve been around for three, four, even five years, there is a fundamental change with regards to CO2 reduction and the number of meals our partners are saving. Some of our key grocery partners in Europe are saving 80,000 bags a week consistently, which starts to [make] a real impact.

We live in an era of customization and personalization. How does the surprise nature of Too Good to Go fit with today’s customer expectations? It’s true we are conditioned for customization and personalization, but I think our platform hits on the insight that we still truly enjoy a surprise and delight experience. Our life has become so predictable that a pleasant surprise actually has a higher level of satisfaction than getting exactly what you want every time. It’s a breath of fresh air in today’s world.

Why do you think food waste has become such a hot-button issue? If you think about the food that ends up on your plate—how it’s manufactured, processed, transported and distributed—it sucks up a lot of energy and water and [emits] a lot of CO2 into the environment. Getting that banana or avocado to your plate has a high cost and impact. Project Drawdown [a non-profit focused on climate change] unpacked every cause that’s contributing to the increase in CO2 and said that [addressing] food waste is the first step we can take towards fighting climate change. Also, why have we lost the respect for food? The cost of food has gone down, and it’s viewed as a commodity. A lot of the garlic we eat in Canada, for example, is brought here from China. Think about the carbon impact of bringing garlic from China and then ultimately throwing it out. Where’s the sense in that? That local mindset is what we need to focus on. CG



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5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25

MADE BY CANADA For well over 100 years, Dempster’s® has baked up our very best for Canadians. From bread to buns and rolls, to bagels and tortillas, we have expanded our products as this great nation has grown and diversified. With our 12 bakeries coast to coast, we are committed to Canada and take pride in everything we do. We buy Canadian wheat flour sourced from Canadian wheat farms and use ingredients that Canadian families can feel good about putting on their table. Dempster’s® products do not contain Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate or Acetylated Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono-and Diglycerides. Because if you ask us, simpler just tastes better. Helping to feed our nation also means our responsibility to feed Canadians in all communities. Dempster’s® has already donated millions of slices of bread to the Food Banks of Canada and continues to support programs for those in need. Because we feel it’s about more than what’s on your plate: It’s about everything it took to get it there, too.

BREAD With $2.8 billion in sales for the last 52 weeks ending August 14, 2021* and sales growth over $70 million in Canada*, Commercial Bread is a large grocery category and plays a significant role at retail. White Bread continues to be the largest segment in Commercial Bread with 18%* dollar share, followed by Buns & Rolls at 17%*, Higher Health at 13%* and Bagels at 8%*. These four major segments account for 57%* of the Commercial Bread category. Higher Health, which is comprised of grains, dietary needs (weight management, no fat, no sugar, and gluten free) and organic breads, is the second largest segment in the category and is supporting consumers’ growing awareness and demand for healthy, nutritious and “better-for-you” products. New product innovation plays a key factor in category growth with innovation coming mainly from the Bagels, Buns & Rolls and Higher Health segments.


Established Items

NielsenIQ Market Track L52W Period ending August 14, 2021


New Items/Innovation

Commercial Bread




Buns & Rolls



*Higher Health


8% 98%


White Bread



Wheat Bread



Tortillas & Wraps



Source: NielsenIQ Market Track L52W Period Ending August 14, 2021, Excludes all Control Label Items, * Higher Health = Grains + Dietary Needs + Organic Needs


All Other 5.2 (+7%) Rye 5.1 (+2%) Hearth 7.4 (+1%) Pita & Naan 3.8 (+6%)

White Bread 18.1 (-2%) Wheat Bread 7.2 (-7%) *Higher Health 13.3 (-1%) Buns & Rolls 17.4 (+7%)

Tortillas & Wraps 8.4 (+7%) Fruit & Sweet & Raisin Bread 2.3 (+6%) English Muffins 3.0 (+2%) Bagels 8.6 (+13%)

Source: NielsenIQ Market Track L52W Period Ending August 14, 2021, * Higher Health = Grains + Dietary Needs + Organic Needs










CANNED TOMATOES The Canned Tomato category in Canada*, taking 2019 as a baseline - since 2020 saw an abnormal increase in consumption caused by the Covid 19 pandemic - has increased in value by 11.3%* (excl. Pizza Sauce). This is the result of all the main subcategories growing: Diced and Other Cut (+3,9%*), Strained Tomatoes (+22.9%)*, Tomato Paste (+20%*), Tomato Sauce (+16.3%*), and Whole Peeled Tomatoes (+14.3%*). It is also worth mentioning that the Pizza Sauce subcategory has increased in value by a swift +31.5%* (Private Label included) and Organic has also been a high-performing segment of the category with a +21%* growth. The Covid experience has given Canadian consumers a new awareness of how important it is to consume products that are made by prioritizing premium quality and the natural nutritional properties of the raw material. The preference for authentic Italian products, rather than just Italian sounding, continues to increase, as the ever-growing interest for healthy premium food favours new consumption habits also in the canned tomatoes category.

* NielsenIQ MAT August 28, 2021 vs MAT August 31, 2019



50 40 30

48 41




2021 VS 2019















10 0














10 9





6 1





Source: NielsenIQ MAT August 28, 2021 vs MAT August 31, 2019




25 20 15 10

17 12






2.5 KG/ pro capita

2.4 KG/ pro capita



5 0


2021 VS 2019



August 2021 August 2019


Source: NielsenIQ MAT August 28, 2021 vs MAT August 31, 2019

Source: NielsenIQ MAT August 28, 2021 vs MAT August 31, 2019 Statistics Canada Agency (





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COLD PRESSED Cold Pressed is an emerging category for grocery retailers as Canadian consumers increasingly seek out convenient ways to increase their consumption of health and wellness products with all natural ingredients. 46% of Canadians list quality and freshness as leading factors when purchasing food products1 and as the plant-based, vegan and gluten free trends continue, Canadians will look for cold pressed products such as juices and dressings, driving substantial growth in the category. Globally the cold pressed juice market size was estimated at more than $6.0 billion in 2019, and the market demand is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% to 10.5% from 2019 to 2024.2 North America dominates the consumption of cold pressed juices representing about a third of the global market in 2018. There is a wide variety in this category with the most popular fruit juices being apple, orange, blueberry, goji, and grapes and the most highly consumed vegetable juices being tomato, carrot, cucumber and beetroot. With cold pressed dressings being a relatively new category there is huge opportunity for growth. Innovation and building awareness by merchandising in the fresh aisle are keys to driving growth in this subsegment as it signals a fresh and healthy product to the consumer appealing to the trends noted above.


Flavoured soft drinks

Variety Environmental friendliness


Carbonated water



Extreme energy drinks Flavoured drink mixes


Low alcohol beverages


RTD iced tea cans


Coconut water


Milkshakes & eggnogs


Drink powders & liquids - cold


Iced tea mixes


Coffee type drinks


Cordials & syrups












SHARE OF RESPONDENTS Grocery Experience National Survey Report, Dalhousie University. Canada, Fall 2018. 1053 respondents. Respondents were required to be 18 years old and must have been living in Canada for at least the last 12 months


27% 25% 25% 23% 23%

Non-processed All-natural


Cocktail mixes

5.4% 4.6% 4.4% 4.4% 1.7% 1%

Grown and/or produced locally


Soya & rice & alternative beverages

Freshness of products



Flat water

21.3% 19%

Lowest price possible

Health Benefits


Juices & drinks - refrigerated

Industry Arc

Quality of food products

Food safety and cleanliness


Juices & drinks - shelf stable





Grocery Experience National Survey Report, Dalhousie University. Canada, Fall 2018. 1053 respondents. Respondents were required to be 18 years old and must have been living in Canada for at least the last 12 months










Calories Ingredients I can understand

21% 21% 20%

Fat Protein

Source: NielsenIQ L52W Period ending July 20, 2019.



Locally sourced/produced







SHARE OF RESPONDENTS Source: Convenience Store News Canada, EnsembleIQ; Canadian Viewpoint, 2021. 906 respondents, 18 years or older.



tomato ketchup 1l


Transition to Canadian production expected to be completed in 2022

CONDIMENTS How Canadians eat and drink continues to change and evolve. The Covid-19 pandemic is, of course, a major unprecedented event, impacting all aspects of daily life. This has also prompted an increase in pantry loading while rediscovering the joys of cooking habits at home. It cannot be understated how impactful the re-discovery of the pantry has been to both re-defining on-hand convenience and promoting increased relevance of packaged foods. Apart from initial stock-piling frenzy, pantry-loading habits trigger the creation of a new tier of grocery essentials. Sixty-three percent of Canadians report that they will continue to pantry-load grocery essentials in the post-pandemic period.1 Within the Condiments category, Viscous (Mayo & Spoonable Salad Dressing) is a large and mature segment, with non-flavoured dollar sales staying relatively flat. Meanwhile, spoonable salad dressing (SSD) which is a unique offering with a distinct flavour profile still holds a strong exclusive buyer set across Canada which reinforces importance to maintain the right assortment at shelf. Traditional sauces still span a large segment of the Condiment category, but are relatively flat or beginning to experience decline. Some of the fastest growing segments in sauces are bold-flavoured & internationally-inspired sauces. We see a similar trend in viscous where flavoured viscous is outpacing the total viscous category dollar growth, driven significantly through new innovations ideal for various occasions, including burgers, chicken, fries etc.2

IPSOS FAB - Syndicated Group_Canada CHATS 2021 Final


CAD Sauces Global Strat Plan, 03 Dec 2018, Lightspeed/Mintel, “Condiments and Seasonings Interactive Databook – Canada”, Apr 2018


ITEMS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL TO PANTRY-LOADING Pre-packaged non-perishable items Frozen foods Snacks Hot beverages Baking products Cold beverages Fresh/refridgerated foods Dairy foods Baked goods Alcholic beverages Confectionery Prepared foods, deli foods, meal kits

53% 51% 51% 49% 48% 43%

29% 24% 22% 21%

72% 68%

Source: Ipsos FIVE Pandemic Data Period BME Nov ‘20 vs. ‘19; % Occasion – Meal Preparer Lens; Cold Bevs (exc. Tap Water) Source: CHATS 2021 Omnibus Study, November 2020 % Adult Individuals


Spoonable Salad Dressing 17.5%

Mayo 21.5%


Source: NielsenIQ Homescan, Cross Purchase Analysis, L52W Period Ending Q1 2021





Philly is the consumer cream cheese of choice! • Brand equity is 10x stronger than the next leading competitor2 • Philly ranks as the highest against Trust, Quality, Taste & “Good for Baking” vs its leading Competitor2

Same taste & texture, now in Lactose Free • Philly Lactose Free delivers on the growing market of consumers who are lactose free or looking to reduce their lactose intake1 • Lactose Free consumers consider brand first when decision making, placing Philly as the brand of choice due to its current #1 position within Cream Cheese (74 $ Shr)3 • Philly Lactose Free is sourced from 100% Canadian Milk • Proudly prepared in Canada • No artificial colours or flavours

1. 2 IPSOS Plant-Based U&A – Report – August 28, 2018 2. Cream Cheese 2019 BVC Equity 3. Nielsen, MarketTrack, National GR+DR+MM, Cream Cheese, L52W, Period Ending August 22 2021

CREAM CHEESE Across Canada, Cream Cheese continues to be a staple product within households, driving over $276 million in annual retail sales.1 Despite lapping heavy macro trends and sales growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cream Cheese category continues to see growth (+4% vs. PY)1 driven by its importance within the breakfast occasion. With 7 in 10 Canadians reporting that breakfast is an extremely/very important meal, convenience is a factor that is heavily prioritized.3 Additionally, price and value creation continue to play a large role in the Cream Cheese category. This trend is showcased through the growth of Soft Cream Cheese, as it remains the largest contributor for category sales (63% of category)1, with an increase in sales (in pounds) of +7% versus previous year1 as consumers continue to upsize to larger formats due to the value offerings. The Cream Cheese category has also benefitted through the introduction of lactose free and better-for-you offerings as it evolves to adhere to consumer’s specialized diets. With 1 in 6 Canadians considering themselves lactose intolerant & 37% looking to reduce their lactose intake, Lactose Free is a growth opportunity for the category.2



L52W 2YA

IPSOS 2021 Canada Chats, Kraft Heinz Highlights Jan 2021


Large Format $

59,502,006 (+14.5%)

51,974,636 (+17.5%)


IPSOS Plant-Based U&A – Report – August 28, 2018


276,751,758 (+3.6%)

267,143,662 (+13.0%)


NielsenIQ Market Track, National GR+DR+MM, Cream Cheese, L52W, Period Ending August 22 2021




*Large format includes 340g + 450g soft cream cheese products Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National GR+DR+MM, Cream Cheese, L52W, Period Ending August 22, 2021





68.8% +0.2%

69.7% +0.9%



2,400,000 1,600,000

1,834,007 1,274,649


800,000 2019


2021 0

Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National GR+DR+MM, Cream Cheese, L52W, Period Ending August 22, 2021

L52W 2YA



Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National GR+DR+MM, Cream Cheese, L52W, Period Ending August 22, 2021



Gotta be KD • Made with 100% real cheese • KD is made with no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives • Proudly prepared in Canada

DRY PACKAGED DINNERS Dry Packaged Dinners (DPD) is a large and mature category that spans across several sub-segments. DPD has shown healthy growth with +4% CAGR over the last 3 years.1 In the period ending October 24, 2020, DPD has proven to be a popular meal option as consumers ate out less and consumed more meals at home.2 Canadians are consuming and preparing meals differently with seven out of 10 consumers prepping and cooking dinner under 30 minutes with 50% of all food and beverage choices motivated by the convenience-oriented trend.3 Macaroni & Cheese represents roughly half of the DPD category sales4 with an average household penetration of 49% over the last three years.5 In 2021, Macaroni & Cheese delivered over $106MM YTD in consumption, up +23% compared to 2019.6 Macaroni & Cheese Cups are driving this trend, growing +10% YOY.6 Macaroni & Cheese Cups are incremental to the category due to the unique occasion that they satisfy. Consumers are primarily loyal to the method of preparation they are used to (i.e. microwave vs. stovetop) driving low interaction between different formats. Macaroni & Cheese packaged meals also have a high degree of impulse for grocery categories with a split of 37% for unplanned purchases and 63% for planned purchases.7


Kraft Heinz Shopper Data, “Interaction between Product Groups as a function of Customers”, L52W March 2021.


NielsenIQ Market Track Nat xNfld GB+DR+MM | Dry Packaged Dinners | L52W Period ending Oct 24, 2020.


NPD Food Service Trends 2018. IPSOS Lumiere Study.


NielsenIQ Market Track, Nat xNfld GB+DR+MM, Monthly, Period ending Dec 19, 2020.


NielsenIQ, TOTAL National L52W Period Ending Apr 03, 2021


NielsenIQ Market Track, National GB + DR + MM, L52W Period ending Sept 21, 2021.


IPSOS Lumiere Study. NielsenIQ Market Track Nat xNfld GB+DR+MM 2018.







49.4% 2021

Source: NielsenIQ, TOTAL National - L52W Period Ending Apr 03, 2021







Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National xNFLD GB + DR + MM, L52W Period Ending Sept 18, 2021



120,477,480 100

95,857,829 57,752,192

$ Units




YTD 2019

YTD 2021

Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National xNFLD GB + DR + MM, L52W Period Ending Sept 18, 2021





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

FROZEN FOOD The Frozen food category in Canada has grown +18% in dollars1. Sales particularly soared during the pandemic as consumers rushed to stock their freezers with convenient, healthy food. Dinners and Entrees represent the largest volume share of the sales in the category with +16% growth1, followed by Frozen Seafood with +25% growth1. Almost 40% of Canadians are cooking more often at home than prior to the pandemic2. Consumers are routinely looking for globally-inspired and/or gourmet flavours to achieve a restaurant experience at home or to reminisce about authentic food from prior travels. Home cooking has also leveraged strong growth in Seafood. Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have played a defining role as popular seafood conversations appear to be centering around healthier eating, natural ingredients and making seafood more approachable through cooking lessons and demonstrations. The frozen category is also seeing more Plant-Based food options. Consumers are making healthier food choices - in fact 71% of Canadians say they target eating healthy foods all or most of the time3. All plant-based categories grew by double digits in 20204. Brands that offer plant-based products that combine convenience with a short list of clean, recognizable ingredients will have the longest staying power.


$ Vol % Chg Units Vol % Chg

Dinners & Entrees - Frozen



Seafood - Frozen



Pizza & Subs - Frozen



Ice Cream & Related Products



Confections - Frozen



Fruit - Frozen



Vegetables - Frozen



Potatoes - Frozen



Meat Patties - Frozen



Breakfast - Frozen



Baked Desserts - Frozen



Pizza Snacks - Frozen



Meat - Frozen - Remaining



Dough & Pastry - Frozen



Fruit Beverages - Frozen



Yogurt - Frozen



Water Based Freezable Confections



Frozen Foods - Remaining






Source: NielsenIQ, Category Performance, National All Channels, L52W Period ending March 27, 2021

NielsenIQ, Category Performance, National All Channels, L52W Period ending March 27, 2021


Mintel Canada, Meal Planning and Preparation – May 2021


Mintel Canada, Attitudes toward Healthy Eating, December 2020


NielsenIQ Canada National L52W Period ending January 2021 – custom closed groups










Less Often

9% 55%


More Often

9% Do Not Use

Source: NielsenIQ Survey – Impact of COVID 19 on consumers – April 17 2020 Canada




Total Soya, Rice, Alternative Beverages



Meat Alternatives



Total Non-Dairy Cheese



Total Non-Dairy Yogurt



Total Non-Dairy Dips, Spreads, Sauces



Total Plant-Based Meals



Total Tofu



Total Plant-Based Food & Beverage (Custom Closed Group)



Source: NielsenIQ, National Excl NFLD GB+DR+MM, L52W Period ending January 2021, Custom Closed Groups





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 Overall health and wellbeing is at the forefront of many shopping decisions. Whether it’s buying a functional beverage to improve mental focus or consuming an energy bar to aid an afternoon workout, Canadians deem “eating healthy” as their top priority when it comes to managing their wellness goals1. The pandemic, in large part, has fueled this wellness approach, which has boosted the popularity of natural and organic foods. More than 75% of Canadians cite that COVID-19 has had a major influence on them buying from the natural and organic category2. All told, organic food and beverage sales reached $6.5 billion in 2020 and now represents 3.3% of mainstream retailer market share (up from 1.7% in 2012 and 2.6% in 2017)3. As the category continues to grow, so too are consumer needs. There exists strong sentiment around food and drinks that contain recognizable ingredients and those that are free of artificial components. More than 50% of consumers are looking for these elements (or lack thereof) when buying food2.



Improving my quality of sleep


Maintaining an exercise routine Managing my weight


Managing my stress


Limiting exposure to germs/ common illness



Taking time for myself Maintaining my energy levels Limiting technology use/exposure

Mintel, The Natural/Organic Shopper – Canada, April 2021.


Canadian Organic Trade Association, The Canadian Organic Market Report 2021, September 2021.



are healthier than mainstream products are better for the environment than mainstream products

33% 25%

are safer than mainstream products


are worth paying more for are fresher than mainstream products


taste better than mainstream products


Strengthening my immune system


Mintel, Healthy Lifestyles – Canada, February 2021.



are a gimmick



are not different from traditional/ mainstream products



Source: Lightspeed/Mintel, Healthy Lifestyles – Canada, February 2021

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel, The Natural/Organic Shopper – Canada, April 2021



Simple ingredients



Free of artificial ingredients


Locally produced


43% 36%

Recyclable packaging Short ingredients list


GMO free Biodegradable packaging



Ethical sourcing Social mission Biodynamic

Organic Buying more


27% 23%


Natural Buying less

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel, The Natural/Organic Shopper – Canada, April 2021

Base: 1,422 internet users aged 18+ who purchased food or beverages in the past 12 months Source: Lightspeed/Mintel, The Natural/Organic Shopper – Canada, April 2021



PEANUT BUTTER Peanut Butter is the main driver for consumers shopping the spreads grocery section1, reaching $298 million in annual sales.2 Although the category declined over the last year, driven by a lap in COVID-19 pantry loading, dollar sales grew +5% and tonnage volume +4% vs. pre-pandemic baselines.2 The Regular (stabilized) Peanut Butter segment makes up about 79% of sales in the category and has declined -4% vs. prior year.2 Natural Peanut Butter, representing 21% of the category, maintains momentum with +1% growth as consumers search for healthier options.2 The main subsegments include Creamy, representing 67% of category sales, Crunchy (19%), Light (12%), and Dark Roast (2%).2 Peanut Butter remains a pantry staple with a household penetration of 77%.3 Peanut Butter, often paired with jam, offers consumers with a convenient snack and meal solution. As Canadians become heavier users of Peanut Butter 4, retailers should ensure a well-stocked shelf variety of value and premium Peanut Butter to cater to all types of consumers.




IMI JJM/PB Aisle Review Shopper Intercepts March 2018


NielsenIQ Market Track, National All Channels, L52W Period Ending Aug 14, 2021


Numerator Panel, L52W Period Ending June 30, 2021


Numerator Panel, L52W Period Ending February 27, 2021


Tonn Vol (KG)



200 100



L52W 2YA





Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National All Channels, L52W Period ending Aug 14, 2021

21% 79%

Natural PB $62,331,672 Regular PB $235,628,709 Total PB $297,960,381



200 150 100


50 0

Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National All Channels, L52W Period ending Aug 14, 2021


36 Creamy



6 Dark

Source: NielsenIQ Market Track, National All Channels, L52W Period ending Aug 14, 2021 Note: Creamy and Crunchy calculations exclude overlap of Light and Dark Sub-Segments




4x200 mL Bottles

8x150 mL Cans

TO ORDER, CONTACT: TFB ASSOCIATES LIMITED 905.940.0889 | 1,2 Source: Nielsen Canada Mixer Market Report, L52 Ending 19th June 2021

@fevertreecanada | #mixwiththebest |

PREMIUM MIXERS Premium mixers are an exciting and quickly growing category with a CAGR of +48% between 2019 and 20211. The premium category, worth over $26m2, is driving value back into a beverage category where margins are typically razor-thin. Rapid premiumization has been evident as Canadian consumers seek to mix premium spirits with high quality mixers. These include tonics, ginger beers, ginger ales, and sodas to create world-class, restaurantquality drinks that are delicious and easy to make at home. The Premium Mixers have catapulted to represent 11%2 of the total mixer value, up from 8% in 2020, with retail value growing more than almost 7x faster than the mainstream mixers. There is a potential to continue to grow the Premium Mixer segment to match Premium Spirit’s 26% share of the Spirit category. Consumers are eager to treat themselves, so it is critically important that retailers designate premium shelf and display space to a fastgrowing category to earn more profit.

$ Sales in millions

PREMIUM MIXER CATEGORY GROWTH Compound Annual Growth Rate +48%

Three NielsenIQ Total Canada Mixer Market Reports, L52W Period ending June 22, 2019, L52W Period ending June 19, 2020, and L52W Period ending June 19, 2021


NielsenIQ Canada Mixer Market Report, L52W Period ending June 19, 2021


$26.2m $19.6m





Source: Three NielsenIQ Total Canada Mixer Market Reports, L52W Period ending June 22, 2019, L52W Period ending June 19, 2020, and L52W Period ending June 19, 2021. Premium Market = >$5 per litre

MIXER MARKET (% SHARE & % CONTRIBUTION TO GROWTH) Market Share $7 billion Premium





Market Share $245 million

$ Contribution $17 million

10.6% 38.7%


89.4% 61.3%



Source: NielsenIQ Canada Mixer Market Report, L52W Period ending June 19, 2021 IWSR, 2020, Exchange Rate used 1 USD = 1.25 CAD, Mixer Market includes Tonic Water, Ginger Beer, Ginger Ale and Club Soda Categories







SNACKS Snacks are essential to consumers’ lives, and for many, day-to-day snacking has increased over the past year. While hunger is the main motivation behind snacking, other factors such as convenience, location and food availability affect a consumer’s motive for noshing, and this can be further validated by the growing number of Canadians who have swapped mealtimes for snacking over the last year. While 75% of snacking occasions occur at home, a quarter of Canadians snack on the go1. Nearly one third of Canadians are motivated by protein content when selecting snacks2, with nutrition ranked as the second attribute when choosing salty snacks3. Meat Snacks are high in protein and low in sugar, and consumers rely on them for nutrition and as a filling, satisfying snack4. High-protein foods consumed as snacks help control cravings by keeping us feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Meat Sticks and Beef Jerky is the fastest growing category within overall Snacks over the last three years5. In addition, the category is in the top 10 for growth in all of food over the past year, with a dollar increase of +13%6. Meat Sticks is the growth driver, with $211 million in retail sales, growing at +21%7. With one third of Canadians eating snacks instead of meals when pressed for time8, Meat Sticks provide a versatile and easy option to enjoy while on the go. Meat Sticks provide options to suit consumers’ everyday needs, and many grocery operators are meeting these needs with vast in-store selections – all while benefiting from the tremendous growth opportunity the category offers.

% GROWTH 2019 – 2021

IPSOS: 2019 Snacking Nation


Salty Snacks: Canada, April 2019


Mintel: Snacking Eating Habits, May 2021 Canada


Maru: Meat Snacks Exploratory, August 2021


NielsenIQ: Category Performance Report, L52W Period ending June 26, 2021, All Channel


NielsenIQ: Category Performance Report, L52W Period ending June 26, 2021, All Channel


NielsenIQ: National excl NFLD GDM, L52W Period ending June 26, 2021



Mintel: Salty Snacks, 2019


12% 10.4% 7.7% 4.7% MEAT STICKS & BEEF JERKY







Source: NielsenIQ: Category Performance Report, L52W Period ending June 26, 2021, All Channel



2020 2021

250 200





150 100


50 0






25% snack on the go

of snacking occasions occur at home1


IPSOS: 2019 Snacking Nation


Salty Snacks: Canada, April 2019

of Canadians



of Canadians are motivated by protein content when selecting snacks2

Source: NielsenIQ: National excl NFLD GDM, L52W Period ending June 26, 2021



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