Canadian Grocer December/January

Page 1

Attracting talent: the game is changing

Summerhill Market’s new Toronto store


Generation Next MEET OUR 2019 WINNERS

Nominations open for 2020 3 AWARD CATEGORIES TO ENTER: Senior-Level Stars Rising Stars Store-Level Stars


To nominate and for full award details, visit:

CONTENTS December 2019/January 2020


Volume 133 Number 08

GENERATION NEXTIntroducing Canadian Grocer’s



rising stars of the industry for 2019

27 Front Desk 22 Food Bytes 24 Behind the Trends 68 Checking Out PEOPLE

8 The Buzz

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


10 Lori Nikkel


The CEO of Second Harvest talks food waste and recovery


38  We take a stroll through

13 Welcome to 2020!

Summerhill Market’s newest Toronto store

From blended protein to privatelabel power, we round up the big trends expected for the year ahead

15 Up, up and away


A new report forecasts food prices to climb by 2% to 4% in 2020

16 Eataly arrives

54  Is it time to rethink

After much anticipation, the Italian food marketplace has made its Canadian debut

strategies for attracting, engaging and retaining employees?

18 Seen and heard

Find out what the industry’s biggest names have been saying at recent events



61 All dressed up

A new generation of salad dressings and toppers is hitting the market


63 Feeling hot, hot, hot

Nielsen data reveals what’s heating up in the hot beverage category

64 Aqua cultured

When it comes to frozen seafood, consumers are reeled in by innovation and sustainability

66 Jack of all fruits



The versatile jackfruit is turning up in all kinds of consumer packaged goods

On the cover: back row, l to r: Chris Magnone, Buddha Brands; Jay Cummings, Freson Bros.; Robert Paolozzi, Sobeys Inc.; middle row, l to r: Stu Smith, Georgia Main Food Group; Zade Cawley, Save-On-Foods; Tessa McArthur, PepsiCo


Foods Canada; Eugene Chang, Kraft Heinz Canada; front row, l to r: Jessica Armstrong, Maple Leaf Foods;


Krystel De Conninck-Lord, Metro; Mark Condoluci, No Frills; Sheena Russell, Made With Local. Not in photo: Erin Bean, Red River Co-op


Canadian Grocer Magazine

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer


Sunkist promotes

Jeff Gaston

to Managing Director of North American Sales

WE PUT THE U IN FLAVOUR Made with 100% Canadian mustard seeds

Reg TM/MD The French’s Food Company LLC.


Sunkist Growers is ready for citrus season and made some sales team changes to grow its service to customers. Jeff Gaston has been promoted to Managing Director of North American Sales, and this year marks the celebration of his twentieth anniversary at Sunkist. In Jeff’s new role, he now oversees North American sales, growing the Sunkist brand by strengthening existing relationships with key customers, and identifying new opportunities. Jeff got his start at Sunkist as a sales representative in Vancouver, B.C. in 1999, and was instrumental in landing and securing global business in the mid-2000s in Canada. Prior to his new position, Jeff served in a leadership role as the Director of Western Sales. Sunkist is a name that means great quality citrus to so many people across the world. As the longeststanding cooperative in the nation, Sunkist continues to innovate and strategically bring the highest quality of fruit, solutions, and services to its retail partners. The California-grown citrus cooperative is celebrating the season with more than 40 varieties, new packaging, merchandising displays, and a host of innovative marketing solutions to drive demand and grow sales.

Proud sponsor 2020


No Artificial Flavours, Colours or Preservatives



Shellee Fitzgerald


Carol Neshevich


Kristin Laird


Josephine Woertman


George H. Condon


Millennials and gen Zers want to feel valued and to understand how they're contributing to the success of the companies they work for

Derek Estey


Michael Kimpton


Alexandra Voulu


Lina Trunina


Valerie White


Vanessa Peters


Chantal Barlow


Jacquie Rankin

THE PUSH FOR PEOPLE Like never before, retailers need to compete for talented staff and then work hard to keep them

SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Subscriptions: $85.00 per year, 2 year $136.00, Outside Canada $136.00 per year,

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the customer,” said Ennio Perrone, VP of business strategy and marketing at Eataly North America. Perrone was speaking on a panel at Canadian Grocer’s Thought Leadership CEO Conference in November. He wasn’t the only retailer on the panel holding this view. Save-On-Foods’ president, Darrell Jones, also spoke of how crucial it is to treat team members like customers; if you don’t take care of these “internal customers,” he said, there’s no chance you’ll be able to take care of your external customers. The panellists’ advice is well worth heeding. Recruiting and retaining staff has been a persistent concern for retailers for years and today’s low unemployment, shifting demographics and new competition from gig-economy employers means retailers must rethink their strategies for engaging and retaining staff. Correspondent Rosalind Stefanac delves into the issue in “The Changing Talent Game” (page 54). Among the takeaways: employees, especially millennials and gen Zers, want to feel valued and understand how they are contributing to the

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ask Canadian Grocer if they may send information about a product or service to some Canadian Grocer subscribers, by mail or email. If you do not wish to receive these messages, contact us in any of the ways listed above. Contents Copyright © 2019 by EnsembleIQ, may not be reprinted without permission. Canadian Grocer receives unsolicited materials (including letters to the editor, press releases, promotional items and images) from time to time. Canadian Grocer, its affiliates and assignees may use, reproduce, publish, republish, distribute, store and archive such submissions in whole or in part in any form or medium whatsoever, without compensation of any sort. ISSN# 0008-3704 PM 42940023 Canadian Grocer is Published by Stagnito Partners Canada Inc., 20 Eglinton Avenue West, Ste. 1800, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1K8. Printed in Canada

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

company’s success. Also, “talent is your new consumer,” says Andrea Wynter, VP of people at ADP. “If you want to attract the best, you have to compete for them.” On the subject of talent, in this issue we’re delighted to introduce you to our 2019 Generation Next winners—you already caught a glimpse of them on our cover and you can read all of their stories starting on page 43. We came up with the award eight years ago to shine a light on the talented up-and-comers working in our industry. This year (from a record number of nominations!) we selected 12 impressive individuals—some are entrepreneurs, some work for independent grocers while others work for big chains and CPGs. But a common trait they all demonstrate is dedication, leadership and a true passion for what they do. See you in the New Year!

Shellee Fitzgerald Editor-in-Chief

CANADIAN GROCER HONOURED AT EDDIE & OZZIE AWARDS! Our May 2019 issue received an honourable mention at the prestigious awards ceremony in New York in the Best Full Issue, B2B, Retail category December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



The latest news in the grocery biz


The new Longo’s in Toronto’s Liberty Village has an on-site craft brewer among its many impressive features

Toronto’s Liberty Village now has a Longo’s. The Ontario grocer opened its 36th store in the downtown neighbourhood in late November. Among the features of the 23,000-sq.-ft. store: a wide selection of hot and prepared foods, as well as a fresh pasta bar and hand-stretched mozzarella. At this location, Longo’s is also collaborating with Amsterdam Brewing Co.; the Toronto craft brewer will be brewing its beer on-site marking the grocer’s first brewery integration. VINCE’S MARKET held the grand re-opening of its Sharon store in East Gwillimbury, Ont. in late November. The newly built, 14,700-sq.-ft. store replaces the independent grocer’s original store, which was located in the same plaza. The new location features a stone-hearth pizza oven; an expanded prepared foods offering; and Vince’s Community Kitchen, a multipurpose space for cooking classes and for community members to rent for events, which will open in 2020. FARM BOY is also continuing its Ontario expansion, opening its 29th location in Burlington, west of Toronto. The 23,938-sq.-ft. location, which had its grand opening on Dec. 5, features hundreds of locally supplied products, a large selection of private-label items and made-to-order hot meals. Farm Boy has also announced plans to open a store in St. Catharines, Ont. in early 2020.


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

Chinese grocery chain SUNGIVEN FOODS made its debut at Vancouver’s City Square Shopping Centre in November. The store is reported to be the first international location for the retailer and it hopes to open up to 15 more stores in British Columbia over the next few years.


The new Farm Boy in Burlington, Ont. features hundreds of local items, a large selection of ­private-label pro­ducts, and made-­­­to-order hot meals

SAVE-ON-FOODS opened a new store in Richmond, B.C. in late November. Located in the historic fishing village of Steveston, the 20,000-sq.-ft. store occupies the ground floor of The Roderick, a mixed-use development. The new store is the grocery chain’s third location in Richmond; it is also the eighth SaveOn-Foods to open in Western Canada in 2019.


Maple Leaf Foods has announced a new chief financial officer. Effective Jan. 6, GEERT VERELLEN will step into the role vacated by Debbie Simpson who departed the company in November. Previously, Verellen served as regional chief financial officer for Walmart Canada, India and Japan, and before joining Walmart (in 2015) he held various finance roles at Delhaize Group, becoming CFO for its Belgian operations. FRANK SCALI is the new director, industry affairs at Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC). In his new position, he will lead FCPC’s Supply Chain Council. Scali previously spent more than two decades at Nestlé Canada in various supply chain roles.

Golden Pencil Award winners (left to right): Christian Bourbonnière, Cheryl Smith and Tom Barlow

Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next Award winners


Calgary Co-op CEO Ken Keelor and Adam Martin, GM, Community Natural Foods



Calgary Co-op has acquired Community Natural Foods, an organic and natural foods retailer with three stores in Calgary. Under its new ownership, Community Natural Foods will run as a wholly-­ owned subsidiary, with its current staff and management remaining in place.

A few of the grocery industry’s legends as well as its rising stars were recognized on Nov. 19 in Toronto. Christian Bourbonnière of Metro’s Adonis Group, Cheryl Smith of Dairy Farmers of Ontario (formerly with Lactalis), and Tom Barlow, formerly of Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers were each honoured by the Food Industry Association of Canada with GOLDEN PENCIL AWARDS for their contributions to the grocery industry. Canadian Grocer’s 2019 GENERATION NEXT AWARD winners were also recognized. (Read all about our 12 Gen Next winners on page 43.)


The Grocery Foundation’s  Night to Nurture Gala  will take place on Feb. 1 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Purchase tickets at gala. The Canadian Health Food Association’s  CHFA West  returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre from Feb. 20 to 23. For details visit

In October, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers recognized outstanding independents at its 57th annual INDEPENDENT GROCER OF THE YEAR AWARDS gala in Toronto. The National Gold Award Winners for 2019 are: Freson Bros. Fresh Market, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. (large surface); Safety Mart Foods, Chase, B.C. (medium surface); and AG Valley Foods, Invermere, B.C. (small surface).

Freson Bros., Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



Who you need to know

The Facts Who

Lori Nikkel Position

ceo of Second Harvest,

executive director of What’s new?

Development of a Toronto-based global food hub for food rescue research and innovation

THE RESCUER Lori Nikkel boosts food security and sustainability through the three Rs of food waste: recovery, redistribution and reduction

By Carolyn Cooper Photography by Mike Ford


Lori Nikkel boosts food security and sustainability through the three Rs of food waste: recovery, redistribution and reduction By Carolyn Cooper Photography by Mike Ford


ori nikkel laughs when asked

what she does in her free time. “That’s a hard question, because I work a lot. But I don’t consider it work—I love what I do!” Nikkel is CEO of Toronto-based Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food recovery organization with a 35-year history of matching surplus food with the charitable groups that need it. “Second Harvest is unique in that we focus on perishable food recovery and we are B2B, so we understand the logistics and safety compliance that’s required for moving perishable and prepared food,” says Nikkel, whose leadership has been a huge part of the organization’s recent growth and re-focus on environmental issues such as climate change. “Second Harvest has always been a dual-mission organization—no waste, no hunger— but we had always focused on the latter in terms of how we operated. So about three years ago we turned to focus on the environment. It supported an extreme growth in the organization in terms of balancing our dual mission.” Nikkel’s own interest in food security and recovery began “very organically. I was a low-income single parent and was experiencing food insecurity myself.” Nikkel volunteered to run the child nutrition program at her boys’ school, and in the process gained hands-on experience fundraising and recovering food. After seeing how access to fresh, healthy food could dramatically impact the lives of children and women, Nikkel began working as a funding advocate for student nutrition. “But it wasn’t until I came to Second Harvest that I understood the connection between climate change and food waste,” explains Nikkel, who joined Second Harvest in 2014 as director of programs and partnerships and became CEO in 2018. “So it’s not just about feeding people anymore—we have a planet to protect.” She says one way Second Harvest is making its message heard is through research like The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste, published in January 2019 with Value Chain Management International. As well as showing the dramatic impact of food waste going to landfill, the report revealed that $49.46 billion of


potentially recoverable food is wasted in Canada annually. “We have enough food to feed every Canadian for five months, for free, that we are currently throwing away,” says Nikkel. “We’re losing 58% of all food produced in Canada, so let’s use that food.” In October 2018, Second Harvest launched, a national online platform that currently connects food donors in Ontario and British Columbia with local non-profit organizations. The site started as a way to handle smaller donations outside the Greater Toronto Area, but has spread to include large donations from producers, grocers, farms and food distributors, says Nikkel, who is also the program’s executive director. will launch next in the rest of Western Canada, followed by the Atlantic region and Quebec. Second Harvest is also committed to helping donor businesses recognize “where waste is happening” in their operations. “What we’re really trying to do is embed food recovery in the supply chain ... Our goal is to eliminate as much waste as possible, and then when you have extra food, please donate it.” To date, Second Harvest has rescued and redistributed more than 155 million pounds of food. The organization receives food from more than 1,200 donors, 750 of those through Perishable foods comprise 93% of donations, while 65% of recovered food is protein, produce and dairy, the categories Nikkel says are the most necessary and the “hardest to access.” The organization will also open a global centre for food rescue research in 2020, allowing it to offer “an applicable, scalable model for other groups to adopt in their own communities,” says Nikkel, who regularly speaks at conferences on food waste. “We also work internationally with countries that want to do this, so we’re supporting them with all the tools and knowledge that we have.” Nikkel was recently recognized with the Clean50 Award, which she says has been a wonderful acknowledgement, but “the whole purpose is to get the message about food loss and waste out on any platform possible. Everybody wants to support their community, and this is an easy way to do that.”  CG

LORI NIKKEL What do you enjoy most about your job?

Having a purpose and a passion. And the people.

How is the industry changing in terms of food waste? It’s only been in the past few years that there’s been a direct correlation between food loss and waste and climate change. I think part of it was that people weren’t measuring it, so we really need to have a standardized measure­ ment tool. It’s not enough to be the cost of doing business anymore. You’re losing money. There’s an economic value to you not throwing food away.

What’s the secret to success for you? Be happy, have fun and have a passion. I’m very lucky; I want to change the world, and I strongly believe I’m going to change the world. And it’s going to happen one tomato at a time, with the amazing people who work at Second Harvest and across Canada who are doing this work.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?

I don’t see challenge that way; I see opportunity. I find a way to get around it, and I find a way to say yes—it just means looking at things differently.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Stop talking and do more!

What’s your favourite food?

It depends on the day. Right now I’m really loving queso.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



SITUATI ONS No 22, 65, 92-95








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Welcome to 2020! From blended proteins to the continuing power of private label and greater urgency around sustainability, here’s a quick peek at what’s in store in the year ahead By Shellee Fitzgerald & Carol Neshevich December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer




PRIVATE BRAND MOMENTUM  R is in g prices are putting pressure on Canadians' spending power. According to Nielsen, 70% of consumers are looking to trim their spending on fast-moving consumer goods with 49% indicating they plan to buy more private-label items to achieve this. At Canadian Grocer’s recent Thought Leadership Conference, Nielsen's VP of consumer insights, Carman Allison, said where consumer behaviour and private label is concerned “the hand is following the head.” Private label is growing at 3% according to the research firm's latest figures and now has an 18.6% share of the market—outpacing national brands, which are growing at just 1%. Private-label goods are also shedding their inferior to name brand reputation; according to NPD Group and research firm Technavio, “premium private label” products are becoming increasingly popular with consumers.


EATING PRETTY  Innova Market In­ sights predicts more focus on foods that can help boost physical appearance—items it says “border on the cosmeceutical.” These may include things like probiotics for skin health and matcha tea for hair growth and appearance. According to Innova, one in three Chinese consumers are increasingly consuming food and drinks that support their physical appearance, and this trend is expected to keep spreading globally.


THE CBD CRAZE  Although the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD)—a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants—is debatable, with some in the medical community rolling their eyes over the purported ability of CBD to help with everything from arthritis to anxiety, this hasn’t dimmed consumer interest. Retailers, those with a license to sell it, have struggled to keep CBD on shelves and it is expected the market for CBD will hit $1 billion in Canada over the next five years. The Canadian Health Food Association is advocating for the government to change the rules around CBD, allowing it to be sold without a license, opening up its sale to a wider swath of retailers. A new development in CBD in the U.S. (where CBD sales are expected to reach US$13 billion this year) is the Food and Drug Administration’s late November Consumer Update cautioning


that “CBD has the potential to harm.” Whether this will dampen consumer interest in CDB remains to be seen.


MOOD FOOD  THP, the Toronto-based food marketing agency, included “Mood Food” on its 2020 Trend Forecast, referring to food designed to influence emotions. According to THP, this is related to “gastrophysics,” a term coined by food psychologist and professor Charles Spence. This new “science of eating” examines how behaviour, emotions and food are tied together. Innova Market Insights also included a “focus on mental and emotional well-being” on its list of trends for 2020, noting that more mood-enhancing food and drinks are expected to launch next year, which could incorporate anything from CBD to stress-reducing herbs like ashwagandha.


THE GREEN WAVE As talk of the climate crisis becomes more urgent and consumers demand more action on the issue, retailers and manufacturers will step up their sustainability efforts on every front from food waste to plastic use. Sustainability has landed on many of the lists of trends for retailers to prepare for in 2020 (and beyond). According to Innova Market Insights, “consumer expectations around sustainability are higher than ever,” pushing companies to prioritize eco-efficiency. Meanwhile, Trend-Watching identified “green pressure” as a top trend in the year to come. According to the firm, in 2020 consumers will seek products and services that help them alleviate rising “eco-shame” as eco-consumption becomes less about the status of opting in and more about the shame of "opting out." And “regenerative agriculture” topped Whole Foods Market's list of predictions for 2020. The natural foods grocer said everyone from farmers to government agencies and retailers are taking a closer look at how to improve soil health and increase carbon capture.


MEAT/PLANT BLENDS In 2020, consumers will continue to be concerned about the impact of meat on both the environment and their health—but that doesn’t mean they want to cut it out altogether. The increase of “flexitarians” is giving rise to more product launches that are meat/plant blends. These are typically traditional meat-based products

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

like burger patties or chicken nuggets that blend meat with plant protein to significantly reduce the meat content. Meat/plant blending was one of the hot topics discussed at the Global Summit on Plant Powered Menus in Toronto recently; and Whole Foods has included it on its top trends for 2020, citing several examples of burgers it sells that swap out 25% to 30% of the beef for plantbased blends such as wheat, mushrooms and barley yeast.


RISE OF THE DISCOUNTERS Canadians are feeling the pinch, with 27% saying they only have money for essentials, according to Nielsen. One of the strategies they’re using to save money is to switch stores. Where are they turning? Discounters. The discount channel, with its low prices and low assortment formula, has grown by 5% (conventional grocers only grew by 2%) according to Nielsen’s latest figures, with market share now at more than 41%. And the discounters are proliferating; in Canada, Sobeys has converted Safeway stores in the West to its FreshCo discount banner while in the U.K., German discounter Lidl has announced bold plans to open another 230 stores by 2023, bringing its total store count to 1,000 in that country.


ZERO-PROOF BEVVIES  In Mintel’s forward-looking Global Consumer Trends 2030 report, the research firm says in 2020 we should expect to see “alcohol consumption continue to decline among young people.” It makes sense, then, that Whole Foods would also include “Zero-Proof Drinks" in its roundup of trends to watch. This goes beyond just near-beers and booze-free wines (although those are clearly growing in popularity), to include more innovative, upscale alcohol-free spirits. “Think alt-gin for gin and tonics and botanical-infused faux spirits for a faux martini,” according to Whole Foods. and there are many more trends

forecast for 2020 that, try as we might, we just can’t cram onto these pages. Retailers, for instance, will continue to experiment with artificial intelligence; we can expect more innovation around e-comm grocery delivery and pickup; and creating exceptional in-store experiences will be even more crucial for brickand-mortar stores in the year to come. Interesting times ahead!


UP, UP AND AWAY New report forecasts food prices to rise 2% to 4% in 2020, with meat seeing the biggest increases By Rebecca Harris


grocery bills are going to take a bigger

Canadian families would spend up to $12,157 on food. Based on the 2019 inflation rate, they’re likely to spend $12,180, missing the report’s target by just $23. In 2020, meat will see the highest increases (4% to 6%), while restaurants, seafood and vegetables will all see increases of 2% to 4%. This is followed by fruits (1.5% to 3.5%), dairy (1% to 3%), and bakery (0% to 2%). The jump in the price of meat is due, in large part, to Chinese demand for imported beef and pork. China recently reopened its market to imports of Canadian pork and beef after a four-month ban, as the Asian country continues to battle African swine fever. China has lost millions of pigs to the disease and needs to import large amounts of pork, which is driving up the price of pork and meat in general. “[Meat] is already costing more for processors and grocers and so increases will be passed on to consumers in the New Year,” says Charlebois.

bite out of Canadians’ household budgets in 2020. Food prices are expected to increase 2% to 4%, according to the 10th annual edition of Canada’s Food Price Report—a collaborative effort by Dalhousie University and University of Guelph. The study predicts annual food costs for the average Canadian family will rise by $487 from 2019 figures, with the annual tally on food spend reaching $12,667 for the year. “For grocers, it’s not necessarily bad news to see food prices go up by 4%— the problem is that you may spook some consumers,” Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University told Canadian Grocer. “The sweet spot for food inflation is anywhere between 2% to 2.5% and we’re going to exceed that in 2020, by far.” Canada’s Food Price Report uses a predictive analytics model that applies machine learning to support decisions about future food prices. For 2019, it was predicted


Expected headlines in 2020


The report looks at three big stories that will continue to make headlines next year:


Single-use plastic packaging: The report states that consumers are placing pressure on retailers, restaurants, distributors and manufacturers to reduce and, ultimately, avoid the use of disposable plastics used for food products. However, they’re less inclined to pay more for greener alternatives. “[Greener packaging] will incur more costs and this is something consumers will have to get educated about,” says Charlebois.


Climate change and carbon tax: In 2020, climate change will have a big impact on food systems and drive up food prices. The report states the Canadian government needs to address emissions levels, as they are above the targeted 30% reduction levels beyond year 2030, far from the Paris Agreement goals of 2016. On the issue of the carbon tax, the report notes while some Canadians believe the tax increases the cost of food for consumers, industry is absorbing most of the costs.

Retailing AI: The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in retail is on the rise. Sobeys, for example, is piloting a tech-enhanced cart called Smart Cart. The cart’s technology scans and weighs products when customers place them in the cart. It displays a running tally of purchases while the customer shops, and then allows them to pay on the spot. Sobeys says it plans to evolve the cart to include additional features using AI and machine learning technology. “We are expecting more movement in the area of AI coming from grocers,” says Charlebois.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



EATALY ARRIVES After much anticipation, the Italian food marketplace finally makes its Canadian debut WOOED BY THE promise of authentic pizza (from no less than three regions), pasta, wine, cheese and other delicious specialties, hundreds of Torontonians turned up to get a glimpse of Canada’s first Eataly—and the 40th in the world—when it opened for business in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville shopping district on Nov. 13. When they finally made it inside— lineups snaked down Bloor St. in the hours leading up to the opening—­ customers were treated to an expansive, 50,000-sq.-ft. Italian food marketplace (Toronto’s is, in fact, the largest of the seven North American Eataly locations). Occupying three floors of the Manulife Centre, the space features seven food counters, three restaurants, two bars and a full brew pub (called Birroteca), as well as a café and cooking school. Eataly Toronto also offers about 10,000 grocery products—a mix of Italian specialties as well as items sourced from local Canadian producers. More than 500 signs placed throughout the store educate consumers about everything from the flour used in Eataly’s house-made rustic breads to the history of a particular variety of panettone. “At Eataly, we always like to think of ourselves to be a little more than a retailer,” said Nicola Farinetti, CEO of Eataly North America, at the grand opening. “We think that quality food makes you healthier, but also makes a better environment and then makes your life a little more delightful.”  CG


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer






1 Hand-stretched mozzarella is just one of many of Eataly Toronto’s house-made specialties 2 There’s plenty of pasta made from scratch daily, too 3 Each of the 40 Eataly locations around the world has a theme; at Eataly Toronto it’s “multiculturalism.” The theme is reinforced by a large mural that greets customers as they make their way upstairs. Created by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, it features the faces of hundreds of people from around the world “that represent the make-up of Toronto itself” 4 Over three levels, the 50,000-­ sq.-ft. space boasts three restaurants, two bars, a cafe, pub and seven food counters. There’s even a Venchi chocolate kiosk

6 There are also plenty of goods from local and Canadian producers such as the condiments seen here from Joe Beef


5 The market area offers about 10,000 grocery products including many specialties. At this time of year (November) dozens of varieties of colourfully packaged panettone are available for the holidays


SEEN & HEARD Big names in the industry have been taking the stage at recent events, tackling a range of hot topics. Here’s what they’ve been saying: HOW DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CAN BE A GAME CHANGER

“At Sobeys, it’s a priority that our organization and teams reflect the diverse customers in the local communities that we proudly serve. It’s important that everyone feels welcome at Sobeys—in our stores, offices, and distribution centres from coast to coast. Inclusive work environments where individuals are respected and valued help bring unique talents and perspectives to the table ... I truly believe diversity and inclusion, if done properly, with authenticity and sincerity, is a game changer.”

VIVEK SOOD, executive vice-president, related businesses for Sobeys, at Canadian Grocer’s Star Women in Grocery Mentoring Lunch

Catering to the non-channel specific customer “There is no channel specific customer anymore. That has all kinds of design implications of how you go to market. You want her to have the

same experience in store as when she’s shopping online. You want the online experience to remember what she bought the last time she was in store.

And we’re working with our partners to bring some of those capabilities online.” NILAM GANENTHIRAN, chief business officer at Instacart at Groceryshop

Evolving consumer expectations

“We have a lot of information on Canadian consumers. Canadian consumers have this belief that if much is given, much is expected, so with that information they give us they have high expectations of what their experience should be, both in stores and on our digital properties.” GARRY SENECAL, chief customer officer, Loblaw, at Groceryshop


“Centre store is definitely shifting, as we’ve seen over the last few years, and we’ll continue to see the contraction of assortment. We’re going through a project right now with the same thing in mind—what do guests actually need in the various categories we compete in? I think it behooves CPG companies to trim the tail themselves. It’s the responsible thing for them to do [because] we’re going to do it anyway.” ANTHONY LONGO, president & CEO of Longo’s at Canadian Grocer’s Thought Leadership CEO Conference

“We have two sets of customers, we have internal customers and external customers, and if we don’t take care of the internal customers, our team members, there’s no chance we’ll take care of the external customers. Don’t chase to the bottom, work your way to the top when it comes to your team members.” DARRELL JONES, president, Save-On-Foods, at Canadian Grocer’s Thought Leadership CEO Conference


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer


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Toonies for Tummies 2020 Campaign Gets Going Non-profit organization The Grocery Foundation brought retailers and manufacturers together bright and early on November 21st, to serve breakfast to high school kids at Michael Power - St Joseph High School in Mississauga, Ontario to launch its 2020 campaign. The Toonies for Tummies campaign asks shoppers for $2 at checkout. In 2019 the campaign raised a record-breaking $1.5 million, 25% over the goal and 42% over the previous year’s donations. This year each retailer will run their Toonies for Tummies campaign for a two week window between January 29 and March 7, 2020. According to The Grocery Foundation, it’s estimated that one in five children in Canada attends school hungry, and in some communities, the incidence is higher. “Toonies for Tummies is a great example of the grocery industry collaborating together and a significant number of Canadian children stand to benefit from this,” says Shaun McKenna, executive director of The Grocery Foundation. This year Toonies for Tummies got a big boost from Empire Company Ltd., whose banners are participating in the program. Sobeys, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Safeway will take part in the program in Western Canada for the first time, and in Ontario, Sobeys and Foodland stores will return to the campaign after a several-year absence. The addition of the Empire Company banners effectively doubles the number of participating retail locations to 1100 stores. Other participating grocers in Ontario are Metro, Food Basics and Longo’s, as well as a number of independents. In Western Canada, Save-On-Foods, Buy-Low Foods and Nester’s Market are part of the campaign. One unique aspect of Toonies for Tummies is The Grocery Foundation’s ability to hyper-target donations so they remain in the communities where they’re made. Shoppers can donate $2 at checkout and track their donation on a campaign microsite. The site spotlights the participating retailers and sponsors, along with stories that underscore the impact of donations. For more information on the 2020 Toonies for Tummies campaign and how you can become a sponsor or retail partner, visit



Source of Calcium Source of Iron No by-products Ready in 60 seconds


Joel Gregoire

HIGH TIMES FOR CANNABIS? Understanding how Canadians relate to cannabis and edibles is crucial to success in the category the legalization of cannabis in Canada

is a game changer. With Canada only the second country in the world to legalize it (after Uruguay), Mintel’s new report Cannabis in Canada: A Comprehensive Look explores the impact of legalized cannabis on the retail and food and drink landscape, identifying potential opportunities and challenges. Sizing up the market: over one quarter of Canadians aged 20 and over claimed they used marijuana or cannabis in the six months leading to May 2019. While this is well behind the three-quarters of Canadians who drank alcohol over that

Canadians & Cannabis Experience with or interest in cannabis

Open non-users 32%

Cannabis rejecters 40%

Current cannabis users 27%

Prefer not to answer 1% SOURCE: MINTEL, MAY 2019 BASE: 2,000 CANADIAN INTERNET USERS AGED 20+


same period, it still represents a substantial share of the population. That said, while consumption of alcohol varies little by age, the same can’t be said of cannabis, with nearly half of young adults aged 20 to 24 having turned to the substance at some point. With cannabis proving more popular with today’s younger generation, the prospect of cannabis mainstreaming in the future is real. With more than one-quarter of Canadian adults claiming to use cannabis, this also means three-quarters say they don’t. That said, a third say that while they don’t currently use marijuana or cannabis, they are open to trying it. These open non-users skew older, with those 35 and older slightly more likely to fall within this segment, which differs from current cannabis users who, as mentioned, tend to be younger. While cannabis is often perceived as being for “the young,” consumer feedback says older adults should not be discounted. PREFERRED CANNABIS FORMATS Edibles and drinkables represent clear growth opportunities in the market. Though most current users smoke cannabis in a rolled format, edibles and drinkables are the preferred method of introduction among those who don’t currently use cannabis, yet express interest in trying it. With the recent legalization of edibles and drinkables, new options are coming onto the market to address demand, leading what is certain to be an influx of innovation. So why do users turn to cannabis? Relaxation and relieving stress and/or

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

anxiety top the list of reasons. It’s perhaps no surprise then that tea, often associated with relaxation and emotional well-being, is the most popular prospect for cannabis-infused beverages. For many, a format such as tea—which offers an appeal that extends beyond “getting high” and that is tied to balance—is something consumers can relate to. That said, it’s also probably not too surprising that when it comes to edibles, sweet and indulgent snack foods hold the most appeal in the space with baked goods, chocolate and candy proving popular options, indicating a level of versatility when it comes to edibles and drinkables. EXPERTISE IS KEY Despite the relatively high level of interest when it comes to trying cannabis, confusion still exists. This confusion is reflected in the fact that more than half of Canadians claim they do not know the difference between THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis, which gets you high) and CBD (the non-psychoactive compound) and that seven in 10 Canadians are uncertain of what dosages they should use. This means know-how is essential for consumers and potential consumers of cannabis. For retailers looking to operate in this space, expertise will be critical to developing a credible presence in the category. The legalization of cannabis brings with it exciting opportunities for expansion, but understanding how Canadians relate to the category is critical for companies looking to capitalize on the more liberalized environment. With most Canadians claiming to either use or show interest in using cannabis, having a plan in this space is essential now and for the foreseeable future.  CG

Joel Gregoire is associate director, Food & Drink at Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency. Based in Toronto, Joel researches and writes reports on Canada’s food and drink industry. @JoelDGregoire


What’s Up, Jack?

Ice, Ice Baby This classic Vidal Icewine from Lakeview cellars has notes of peach, honey, lychee and citrus. It should be chilled for 20 minutes in the fridge prior to serving and paired with light desserts such as fresh fruit and soft cheeses. This award-winning Vidal Icewine, is ideal for gifting and recently received a double gold medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships.

Grace Canada has launched Young Jackfruit, a tropical fruit that has a dense texture and shreds easily much like pulled pork or chicken. Its neutral flavour absorbs the flavours of the sauces or seasonings it is being paired with. It’s so versatile that consumers can use it in their favourite dishes like BBQ sliders, tacos, pasta, and salads. Perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets and for those customers who prefer to eat less meat.

Go for the Gusto Lavazza Crema e Gusto is a coffee with a distinctive character: the perfect combination of intense aroma and full-bodied taste. It consists of a selection of high quality Arabica and Robusta beans with a fragrant flavour and a pleasant chocolatey finish. Now available in 1kg whole beans, Crema e Gusto is ideal for consumers who want to enjoy an intense taste experience any time of the day.



Dewey Warner


The prospect of conveniently delivered unique recipes with simple instructions for preparing healthy meals caused some to wonder whether meal kits might upend much of the packaged foods industry

Distribution strategies continue to evolve for this segment. Leading meal kit pioneers such as HelloFresh have focused on online delivery subscription models. However, partnerships with grocery retailers—which give meal kit companies the opportunity to sell in physical outlets—have materialized in Canada and elsewhere. Some retailers are even developing their own meal kits to sell in store. Metro, for example, invested in Montreal-­based MissFresh and began offering MissFresh’s products in its stores. [At press time Metro announced it is selling MissFresh.] Longo’s, too, has embraced this trend, developing its own meal kits sold in store and online, with both economy and premium-priced lines to attract a wider array of consumers. Retailers are attempting to entice shoppers already on their premises to purchase a convenient and interactive meal generally priced lower than those sold online and delivered directly. This movement toward in-store meal kit offerings seems to signal some success, or at least expected future success. It isn’t clear yet how high the ceiling is for this industry, how much individual companies operating within it will continue to grow or whether in-store sales can be a long-term viable counterpart to online sales of meal kits. The challenges to the segment are real and may prove damaging in the long run. For now, Blue Apron’s drastic change of fortune appears to be an exception to the rule rather than a symbol of the segment’s health, with most brands in Canada, the United States and many other markets continuing to sustain strong momentum.  CG

on young and affluent consumers who might be interested in paying a premium for convenience, health, novelty and interactive food experiences. Initially, this strategy seemed to pay off. The company’s sales soared, resulting in challenges to meet demand and, eventually,

Dewey Warner is a senior research analyst at Euromonitor International, an independent provider of strategic market research.

Although meal kit distribution strategies continue to evolve, time will tell whether these products are a passing fad or here to stay THE JURY IS still out on the success of meal kits in Canada, and the same can be said for North America as well as globally. Their story is one of varied results but, ultimately, sustained growth since initially surfacing in today’s familiar format around 2012. When they debuted, the novel concept attracted heavy press attention and interest from consumers. The prospect of conveniently delivered unique recipes with simple instructions for preparing healthy meals caused some to wonder whether meal kits might upend much of the packaged foods industry. Early entrants, such as Blue Apron in the United States, advertised aggressively on podcasts, betting


an attention-grabbing IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Blue Apron, however, quickly began to struggle as subscriptions declined, forcing employee layoffs and giving investors cold feet that led to threats of delisting it as its stock price dramatically plummeted. Blue Apron’s struggles skewed perceptions of the entire meal kit segment as press narratives focused on the company as a symbol of the segment’s broader performance. Many declared the death of meal kits, blaming struggles on high subscription costs, convenient and more affordable alternatives, the business model’s elusive profitability and consumer concern over the amount of waste associated with all the plastic materials in which these products come packaged. While these challenges certainly exist, it is becoming apparent that the Blue Apron narrative is quite distinct from the rest. Both in Canada and globally, meal kits appear to be faring significantly better than the severe struggles Blue Apron has endured in the United States. HelloFresh, for example, has seen growth across several markets, hoisting the brand to global leadership and more than US$1.4 billion in projected global sales in 2019, according to Euromonitor International. Smaller brands such as Goodfood and Chefs Plate are also maintaining healthy performances and growing in popularity among Canadian consumers.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

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past year has been evolutionary in all facets of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. From a technological standpoint and catering to individual consumer needs, to social and environmental responsibility, the produce sector continues to develop creative solutions to adapt to an everchanging market. In January 2019, the Government of Canada unveiled a new Canada’s Food Guide, prominently featuring half of the plate filled with fruits and vegetables, shining the spotlight on the nutritional importance of a diet containing 50 per cent produce. However, Neilsen’s 2019 survey of Canadian Produce Consumption Trends found that Canadians only consume an average of 3.7 servings of produce per day, showing that there is a great deal of work to be done. The key to promoting these constructive messages is addressing consumer education. The foundational knowledge that we, as an industry, RON LEMAIRE take for granted is not common to the average consumer. Neilsen’s survey PRESIDENT, CANADIAN identified the top two barriers to purchasing produce as price and spoilage, PRODUCE MARKETING demonstrating a lack of consumer knowledge on in-season purchasing and ASSOCIATION storage procedures. In addition, grocers must be conscious of how their corporate social responsibility initiatives can change shoppers’ attitudes towards their brand. Customers are becoming more enlightened on social and environmental issues including food waste and plastic packaging. A study by Value Chain Management International (VCMI) states that almost 60 per cent of the food produced and distributed in Canada is never eaten, equating to about 35 million tonnes per year. Thirty-two per cent of that loss and waste is Neilsen’s survey identified the top avoidable and has a value of more two barriers to purchasing produce $49 billion. as price and spoilage, demonstrating than Plastic packaging is in the public a lack of consumer knowledge on spotlight as an environmental threat, without considering its value in-season purchasing and storage to consumers in increasing food procedures. safety and produce shelf life. CPMA has engaged industry leaders to address the complex issues of food waste and plastic packaging with goals to establish best practices and viable mechanisms to help our industry reduce both food waste and plastic packaging. In 2020, we can expect the market to shift as our general population becomes more aware of the health impacts of their diets, the environmental impact of food and the social context in which they consume it. That’s why it is imperative that we, as a fresh produce industry, work together to facilitate shoppers’ needs while educating them about fresh produce. Then our industry will thrive along with the health of all Canadians.


D E C E M B E R 20 19/ J A N UA R Y 2020

s. re also supply chain fanatic h fanatics, which means we’ We can’t help it—we’re fres atics. lity fanatics. Food safety fan quality fanatics. Sustainabi And s. atic fan tion ova inn And ours. g your business along with And fanatics about growin



Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc

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





3 by 2

Banana Sales in Canada 100 120000

800000 700000




600000 80









200000 60


100000 0

Dollar Sales Tonnage (000s) (000s)

Dollar Sales Tonnage (000s) (000s)

Latest 52 Weeks

Latest 52 Weeks YA


Seasonality Index for $ Sales 120 1.0 0.8 0.6


0.4 0.2 0.0


100 0.8

Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, all channels, 52 weeks ending September 14, 2019.



D E C E M B E R 20 19/ J A N UA R Y 2020

Oct 12, 2019

Sep 14, 2019

Aug 17, 2019

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freshreport MEAT

When it comes to meat, quality and convenience are key While more and more of us are looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into our diets, meat still remains the main source of protein for Canadians. Canada’s new Food Guide released this year, reinforces the importance of protein in a healthy diet, and high-quality lean meat provides us with that—plus a host of essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc and vitamin B. In fact, the retail sales value of meat products in Canada has been steadily rising since 2012, with growth forecasted to reach US$3.84 billion by 2022.1 Still, consumers these days are being much more selective about the types of meat they’re willing to consume. Here are some key trends to watch for in 2020.

Health top of mind—for consumers and animals! In order to keep on eating the meet they love, consumers are educating themselves about the impact of large-scale farming on their health and the planet. They expect high-quality product, and meat producers to keep animal welfare top of mind. According to a 2019 report from Mintel, over the next two years, consumers will be even more inclined to search out meat with ethical considerations, so terms like “barn-free” and “slow growth” will become more common. Demand for “heritage meat” (animals reared slowly and ethically by farmers preserving the breeds native to their regions) is also growing. Even ready-meal brands are being challenged to incorporate ethically raised meat into their recipes as this is something younger shoppers, in particular, are looking for.

Meat snacks on the rise

Consumers continue to gravitate to meat when they need a low-calorie, high-protein snack. Sales of meat snacks, including meat sticks and beef jerky, grew 12 per cent in dollars from last year, according to the latest from Nielsen. Consumers are still expecting to find snacks with ingredients that are perceived as healthier—and meat is no exception. As they look to protein-rich foods such as jerky and other meat snacks, they expect to see an ingredient list they can understand and heath-related claims on the label, such as 100% grass-fed or low-sodium.

Convenience is king As we all get busier, the research shows that both heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat meat/poultry are seeing both an increase in consumption frequency and household penetration. Meanwhile the sales of value-added meat and poultry that offer shortcuts to meal preparation are up five per cent.2 For retailers, in-store meal kits can be a good way to introduce shoppers to new cuts of meat.


D E C E M B E R 20 19/ J A N UA R Y 2020

1 Statista 2019 2 The Power of Meat, 2019 report

Why does the world come to California for prunes? REASON NO. 1

Leadership Creating worldwide opportunities for growing your business takes hard work. And that’s work California Prune growers and handlers have been doing for nearly 100 years. That’s because only California Prunes invests in the nutrition and crop research, responsible agriculture practices, and premium growing practices that build the category for all of us.

But that’s just one reason. Choose California Prunes for yours. | @CAPrunesCAN


freshreport PRUNES

California Prunes: the ultimate healthy snack What are current prune trends? Some 78 per cent of Canadians eat prunes as a snack. After all, they are portable, convenient, tasty and healthy. California provides 99 per cent of the U.S. prune supply, and Canada is its third largest export market. California Prunes are available year-round. The California Prune harvest wrapped up in midSeptember and growers used all the best practices to ensure optimum sweetness and sizing for our global customers. While we have a good crop, harvest was late due to a variety of factors so it is expected that volume will be slightly under orginal forecasts. California delivers premium prunes with a focus on high-quality, larger sizes with a legendary sweetness that is known throughout the world.

Why are prunes on the radar now? People are more mindful of what they eat. In addition to the popularity of snacking, plantbased eating is taking root. The attention around probiotics and gut health is also high. California Prunes really do check all the boxes. The regular consumption of California Prunes can help maintain good digestive health, as well as improve blood sugar control and cholesterol management. Research suggests that eating five to six California Prunes each day may help support healthy bones in postmenopausal women, too.1 Men’s bone health may also benefit from California Prunes, according to new research.2

What makes California Prunes so special? The legendary Petite d’Agen plum was brought to California from France almost two centuries ago. California’s long growing season, combined with its rich soil, steady sunlight and cool evening temperatures, provide the ideal growing conditions. Experienced growers hand-tend each tree to cultivate the perfect fruit and they adhere to the most rigorous agricultural standards in the world. California’s S P E C I A L P R O M OT I O N A L F E AT U R E I N

prune industry developed a state-of-the-art processing and climate-controlled tunnel drying system, which further enhances a superior tasting product.

How can retailers encourage prune sales?

Knowledge is power. Making information, like California Prune tip cards, available in-store or online will help educate consumers and give them more reasons to buy. Retailers should take advantage of the California designation as 72 per cent of Canadian consumers look for 'product of California' when buying prunes.3 For retailers selling prunes in bulk, prominent promotion of California origin, above the bin, is a key selling feature. Consumers want transparency and reassurance that the food they are purchasing is from a reputable country with a food safety system that parallels Canada’s. Thinking outside the grocery aisle could increase visibility and sales, too. For example, consider a display of prunes in the produce department to promote ‘salad topping’ ideas. Encourage in-store nutritionists to include prunes in their wellness events and displays. More uses for California Prunes means more reasons to buy. 1 The effect of two doses of dried plum on bone density and bone biomarkers in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a randomized, controlled trial S. Hooshmand, M. Kern, D. Metti, P. Shamloufard, S. C. Chai, S. A. Johnson, M. E. Payton 2 Effects of Dried Plum on Bone Biomarkers in Men (P01-028-19) Danielle Gaffen, Ashley Tunstall, Jonnatan Fajardo, Pavithra Ramachandran, Mark Kern, Shirin Hooshmand 3 Nov. 26-30, 2018 Online Consumer Survey of 1508 Canadians aged 18-64 who purchase prunes at least once per year. Research conducted by Maru/Blue.

D E C E M B E R 20 19/ J A N UA R Y 2020

The food retailing industry gathered at Toronto’s Congress Centre on Oct. 22 and 23­for Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC). Hosted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), the annual trade show and conference featured more than 500 booths as well as awards presentations and conference sessions. Canadian Grocer was there for all the action.

For more information on GIC and upcoming CFIG events, visit


Here are some of the products that caught our attention on the trade show floor.

On the show floor at


 gic 2019



December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

By Carol Neshevich

Photography by Tobi Asmoucha


pbeat music is playing

over the speakers, natural sunlight streams in through two large skylights, and the wooden shelving and folksy-yet-modern artwork on the walls give the store a warm vibe as you walk through its doors. Summerhill Market’s newest location in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, which opened in November, definitely doesn’t feel like a cookie-cutter grocery store. “We’re all about being different; that’s what we focus on, being unique,” says Summerhill co-owner Brad McMullen. The Annex store is the third location for the boutique grocer, which has a history that stretches back more than 65 years. McMullen’s grandfather, Frank, opened the first Summerhill Market in the upscale Toronto neighbourhood of Rosedale in 1954, and it’s been a fixture in the community ever since. The McMullen family focused on operating just the one store until 2011, when they expanded by opening a small second location, the 2,300-sq.-ft. Sherwood store not far from Rosedale on Mount Pleasant Road. At 6,000 sq. ft., the Annex location is larger than the Sherwood store but smaller than the grocer’s Rosedale flagship (which has a retail floor space of nearly 10,000 sq. ft.). And when strolling through the store, it’s clear it has been carefully and efficiently designed to make the most of every bit of space. The aisles aren’t the traditional wide, linear ones typically found in grocery stores; for instance, there are smaller shelving units positioned between some of the aisles and the route to the checkout is lined with shelves attractively packed

a warm welcome

Toronto’s newest Summerhill Market is all about being convenient, welcoming and unique December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



Summerhill uses the #OnlyAtSummerhill hashtag, both in store and on social media, to highlight the unique products it sources

with products to inspire impulse purchases on the way out. McMullen, who helms Summerhill with his sister Christy, says they learned a lot about how to maximize space from their smaller Sherwood location. “We realized you can start merchandising anywhere and everywhere,” he says, pointing to an eye-catching display of Flow Water nestled into a spot near the checkout area as an example. The bright, warm interiors of the new location were created by Pencil Design, a Toronto-based firm that does a lot of work designing restaurants. “I like people who do restaurants to do our grocery stores, just because they think maybe a little differently, like we do,” says McMullen. “They bring a different sort of aesthetic … Finding something that was unique, that just has a very natural, organic feel to it was important to us. Because we’re a family-run business, that was part of the atmosphere we wanted to convey; just sort of a warm, welcoming environment.” Design aside, McMullen says one of the main factors that makes Summerhill stand out from the crowd is its extensive range of high-quality prepared foods and Summerhill-branded offerings. “We

make everything from scratch, all our pastries, our cookies, our pies, our loaf cakes, our nuts, popcorn, chips—all these things are made from scratch at our commissary.” He’s referring to Summerhill’s new commissary that opened earlier this year: a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility dedicated to preparing food items for all the stores. Summerhill now has more than 120 cooks and bakers working full time at the commissary, preparing everything from Summerhill’s signature chicken pot pies and turkey dinners to its sauces, salads, and more—about 700 different items, according to McMullen. A unique feature of the Annex location is the hot bar and cold bar near the front of the store. The hot bar features dishes ranging from jumbo herb roasted shrimp to wild mushroom penne, while the cold bar includes a broad selection of salads such as kale and apricot, chickpea and tomato, and French potato salad. All these offerings reflect Summerhill’s philosophy: “Everything we do is to save our customers time and give them the highest quality, whether that be salads or prepared foods or cookies or whatnot. Everything is designed for speed and quality,” says McMullen, noting that this philosophy extends to the store’s convenient

“We realized you can start merchandising Summerhillbranded offerings and prepared foods are among the features that make it stand out from the crowd


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

Co-owner Brad McMulllen (left) says the hot and cold bars at the Annex store are a first for Summerhill

anywhere and everywhere” and accessible location as well. While prepared foods are a big part of what makes Summerhill special, so are the products that are brought into the stores. The McMullens take pride in sourcing interesting brands, including items that aren’t necessarily easy to find elsewhere in the city. “As far as finding the trends, it’s much easier now because you can follow [social media] influencers in the food business and learn what’s trending,” says McMullen. “We have people coming in who are passionate about finding the latest and greatest, and as soon as we see something interesting, we try our best to bring it in. Then when we do, we promote the heck out of it, and that’s one of the things that keeps people coming to us, that we’re the only ones who have it.” To that end, they use the hashtag #OnlyAtSummerhill to promote these kinds of hard-to-find brands, including the likes of Banza pasta, Oatly oat milk and oat-based ice cream, Just Egg plantbased egg replacer, Miyoko’s plant-based

cheeses and butter, Fage Greek yogurt and Chobani Greek yogurt, to name just a few. McMullen says they had been looking to buy a location in the Annex area for several years; once they found the location on Bathurst Street (in a building that had formerly been a carpet store), they knew they had finally found the right fit: it was “the right size, with access to parking and transit, and was in a good neighbourhood that we thought would work,” he says. The Annex itself is a little different from the tony Rosedale neighbourhood— it’s known for a creative, academic demographic with many University of Toronto students and professors populating the area. McMullen says while they’re just getting to know the local customers, “we’ve had a very warm welcome.” He has already noticed a greater demand for plant-based items here than at Rosedale, which will likely shape the offerings at the Annex location as time goes on. Summerhill is undeniably in growth mode at the moment—not only did it open its commissary earlier this year

and the Annex store in late November, but it is also in the process of building a new store in Toronto’s upscale Forest Hill neighbourhood, set to open in 2020. Summerhill is also getting ready to launch a new e-commerce/home delivery branch of the business early in the new year. McMullen explains that a few years ago, the family decided together that they would use the wealth of knowledge they had gained in all their years in operation to just “go for it” in terms of expansion. “We decided, as a family, to have some fun and see what we could do to grow the business.”  CG

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



Eugene! Eugene Chang

Senior Customer Category Manager Kraft Heinz Canada Thank you for your continued leadership, commitment to excellence and passion for the grocery industry. Kraft Heinz Canada is extremely proud of you on this welldeserved accomplishment.

Generation Next

ONES towatch By Rebecca Harris

They hail from different parts of the country and work in different roles at companies both big and small. They come from both the retail side of the industry and also consumer packaged goods. But what all of this year’s Generation Next winners have in common is that they’re young (all under age 40), they’re passionate about what they do and they’re making their mark on the Canadian grocery industry. These 12 rising stars certainly grabbed our attention and we can’t wait to see what they do next. let’s meet our 2019 winners: Canadian Grocer launched the Generation Next Awards in 2011 to recognize the industry’s rising stars December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer


Generation Next

2 0 1 9


ERIN BEAN Store Manager Red River Co-op

JESSICA ARMSTRONG Vice-president, eCommerce Maple Leaf Foods

Jessica Armstrong is blazing trails for CPG companies in the e-commerce space. She began her CPG career in 2009 as an account manager at Kimberly-Clark, and later started up the company’s e-commerce unit. In 2013, she joined Unilever to start up its e-commerce function. Armstrong held progressively senior roles for six years before moving to Maple Leaf Foods in January 2019 in the newly created position of vice-president, eCommerce—once again building an e-commerce unit from the ground up. At Unilever, Armstrong launched an innovative augmented reality pilot for Knorr products with Walmart. She also implemented a chatbot on-demand delivery service in the Greater Toronto Area—a first in the CPG industry. Customers could order Ben & Jerry’s ice cream through Facebook and have it delivered to their doorsteps within 30 minutes. While Armstrong is known for her passion and knowledge of the e-commerce space, she truly stands out for her leadership abilities. She has built up talent who continue to thrive and grow in their careers. “I aim to give my team a ton of freedom to explore and innovate, as well as the permission to take risks; because if we’re not testing and learning, we’re not growing,” she says.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

Erin Bean’s passion and support for local Manitoba products has led to some big wins for Red River Co-op. The store manager at a Winnipeg Red River Co-op location oversees the local program for seven stores in Manitoba, including four locations that were acquired in the past 18 months. Bean is in charge of finding new local vendors, and sets up Dragons’ Den-type meetings with all the store managers, the food operations manager and vice-president to decide if the products could sell at Red River Co-op. If a product gets the green light, Bean sets up a demo schedule with all stores so customers can try it. The local assortment has grown to more than 600 SKUs, including some products that are created by farmers and producers specifically for Red River Co-op. Thanks to Bean’s efforts, sales of local products reached $5 million in 2018. In 2016, 2017 and 2019, Red River Co-op received the “Favourite Local Retailer” award from Food and Beverage Manitoba. “I come from a farming family, so it’s great to work with other farmers and producers and see them take their farms in a different direction and really grow their businesses,” says Bean.

EUGENE CHANG Senior Customer Category Manager Kraft Heinz Canada

At Kraft Heinz, Eugene Chang is hailed as a “new generation sales leader,” adept at using technology and data to drive efficiency and uncover market trends.

ZADE CAWLEY Store Manager Save-On-Foods

As a teenager, Zade Cawley worked at a Save-On-Foods to pay for a car and a ski pass. After graduating from university with a business degree, he decided to make his career in grocery. He held various operations roles before becoming store manager of Save-On-Foods in Ladysmith, B.C., at age 29. He was transferred to the White Rock, B.C. location in 2018.


As part of the Thompson Rivers University Leadership program, Cawley was selected to lead a team in developing a new merchandising program that would standardize information shared across departments and simplify the messaging. The program was a success and, ultimately, rolled out company-wide. Another success was creating a daily “shrink huddle” at the Ladysmith store. Every morning, he would meet with department managers and discuss shrink from the day before, so they could analyze what happened and make adjustments. Shrink levels decreased, and the process is now used in multiple regions. As a leader, Cawley treats his staff like family. “A lot of times, we see each other more than we see our families at home,” he says. “So it’s always nice to come to work to an environment that is caring and engaging.”

In a previous role as national retail sales and CRM manager, Chang brought in innovative technologies to support the sales team. For example, he led a major project that enabled sales reps to identify real-time, algorithm-generated sales opportunities. In his current role, he implemented a turnaround plan and helped stabilize the struggling condiments category at a national retailer. What motivates Chang in the workplace is continuous learning. “I love working in an environment that never stops me from developing as an individual—whether it’s technical skills, problem solving or leadership skills,” he says. In 2018, Chang was chosen to represent Canada as a Kraft Heinz Meal Ambassador. Along with six other global ambassadors, he travelled to India to see the hunger-relief programs Kraft Heinz sponsors with Rise Against Hunger. Inspired by the trip, the ambassadors created the company’s first-ever global meal-packing event on World Food Day—and in 24 hours, employees packed an impressive 1.2 million meals.

MARK CONDOLUCI Category Director, Produce/Bulk Merchandising No Frills

Mark Condoluci believes healthy foods at reasonable prices should be available to all Canadians. Since becoming No Frills’ category director for produce/bulk merchandising three years ago, Condoluci has made organic produce more accessible, more than doubling the assortment in stores. He also has a strong focus on local produce, launching new items, organizing local farmers markets at various stores, and engaging No Frills’ franchisees in the company-wide “From Your Farmers” campaign. Recognizing the diversity of Canadians, he has also helped introduce new items to offer a wider variety of multicultural products. “Our purpose is to feed everyone. I’ve really embodied this and it’s what inspires me,” says Condoluci. “We need to shape what future generations are eating and I think it starts in the produce department.” It’s a department he knows well: Condoluci started as a produce clerk at his local No Frills at age 14. He rejoined the company after college and was promoted to produce manager at 21. He now leads a team ensuring that the best produce at the best price is offered consistently to consumers across 263 No Frills locations.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer


JAY CUMMINGS Director, Bakery & Deli Freson Bros.

Jay Cummings’ bakery beginnings go back to age 14, when he had a part-time job making doughnuts at a coffee shop. He later became an apprentice baker at Canada Safeway and held various positions during his 12-year tenure. In 2015, Cummings joined Freson Bros., and says it’s been the highlight of his career so far. Cummings has elevated Freson Bros.’ bakery, deli and restaurant departments to a new level of excellence. He introduced the lost art of sourdough and old world long-fermented breads. On the restaurant side, he introduced store-made fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, a fresh salad bar and wood-stove fired sourdough pizza. “I would classify myself as a purist baker and I like working outside of the box,” says Cummings. “My philosophy is if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it to the best of your ability.” Cummings established the Culinary Arts and Food Council Partnership between Freson Bros. and polytechnic university NAIT. He also developed a scholarship program for bakery and deli managers at Freson Bros., so they can obtain their Red Seal designations.


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

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KRYSTEL DE CONNINCKLORD Director, Merchandising, Grocery Metro

Krystel De Conninck-Lord worked at Metro as a student merchandising analyst, went on to get a law degree, and then decided to return to Metro. “I realized that the food industry was a real passion for me and I decided to follow my heart,” says De Conninck-Lord, whose father worked at Metro for 40 years. Over the last eight years, De Conninck-Lord held management positions in various departments at Metro and Super C. In 2018, she became director of merchandising for the Metro banner, and now oversees a team of 12. De Conninck-Lord started a new six-member business intelligence unit and developed a working plan to integrate artificial intelligence into merchandising processes. With the new unit, De Conninck-Lord continues to integrate AI into management processes, significantly contributing to efficiencies for the company. As part of a strategic project for the Metro and Super C banners, she integrates customer data into the decision-making process in more optimal ways than in the past. “If we want to be best in class, we need to challenge our decisions and our processes,” she says. “It’s not possible to stay the same and win the market. We need to create innovation and that is my principal motivation.”


Generation Next

Robert Paolozzi!


Sobeys Inc. is proud to celebrate and recognize Robert for his incredible leadership, collaboration, and commitment to driving innovation in the Canadian grocery retail industry.


Jessica Armstrong!

In his Marketing role as Manager of Direct to Customer Communications, Robert focuses on driving email acquisition and meaningfully increasing engagement with Sobeys customers.

We’re proud to have you in the Sobeys family!

One of Canadian Grocers







Generation Next

ROBERT PAOLOZZI Manager, Direct to Customer Marketing (crm)

CHRIS MAGNONE ceo & Co-founder Buddha Brands

Sobeys Inc.

A decade ago, Chris Magnone and his fellow co-founders saw a void in the Canadian marketplace for sustainable, better-for-you products. They created Temple Lifestyle Brands, which imported healthy food and beverage products from around the globe. Then in 2012, they saw a big opportunity in coconuts—a sustainable, healthy superfood— and created Buddha Brands. The portfolio includes Hungry Buddha coconut chips and clusters, Thirsty Buddha coconut water, and Healthy Buddha coconut vinegar and coconut nectar. The products are sold at major retailers across Canada and the United States, as well as online.

TESSA MCARTHUR Zone Sales Director PepsiCo Foods Canada

Buddha Brands continuously innovates in the healthy-foods space and is launching a new line of keto bars in the first quarter of 2020. “It’s turning out to be a massive milestone for us, in terms of continued expansion into new categories, cross-departmental collaboration and looking at innovation differently,” says Magnone.

Tessa McArthur is one of PepsiCo Foods Canada’s brightest sales leaders. When she joined the company 10 years ago, she quickly realized that field sales were the pulse of the organization. “I fell in love with working in stores and helping to grow our mutual businesses with our customers,” she says.

The company supports 1% For The Planet and gives 1% of annual sales to environmental and social causes. Magnone also gives back to the local business community, serving as learning chair on the board of directors for the Montreal chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and mentoring young entrepreneurs.

In 2018, when senior leadership decided to host the first national field sales conference in 20 years, Tessa was hand-selected to lead the conference committee. McArthur led a team of 10 to develop the framework for a three-day conference that allowed the company’s leaders to network and share best practices.

Throughout high school and university, Robert Paolozzi worked part time in the produce department for a national grocer. Five years after graduating, he rejoined the grocery world when a loyalty marketing role came up at Sobeys in 2015. “It marked a move into loyalty marketing for a large Canadian grocer, which is something I had a real interest in,” he says. He started as a loyalty communications co-ordinator and received multiple promotions, eventually becoming manager, direct to customer marketing in March 2019. In this role, Paolozzi is responsible for growing new subscribers to Sobeys customer databases, creating strategies for targeted lifecycle marketing and driving usage of personalized offers to drive incremental sales. His two proudest accomplishments to date are spearheading the growth of Sobeys’ personalized digital coupon program, “My Offers,” and helping Sobeys transition from “batch and blast” e-mail communications into personalized customer lifecycle marketing engagements. “CRM programs allow us to operate at the intersection of data, insights and customer engagements,” says Paolozzi. “I’m really passionate about using data and technologies to engage customers.”

On the business front, one big accomplishment was developing and implementing new route designs in the Greater Toronto Area to help drive efficiencies and improve customer service. The project was considered so innovative that PepsiCo Foods is implementing the new system in parts of the United States.


In her current role, McArthur leads more than 250 associates in the company’s largest sales area. “As a leader, I inspire others to treat people the way they want to be treated, and support them by unleashing their potential,” she says.


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

Congratulations JOSIAH CUMMINGS Bakery, Deli Director, Freson Bros.

Josiah’s continual leadership, innovation and passion for the bakery/deli has culminated in Generation Next recognition by Canada’s food industry leaders. We at Freson Bros. are proud and celebrate Josiah’s accomplishments.

is proud to recognize


Krystel De Conninck-Lord Director, Merchandising, Grocery, Metro

Her leadership, innovation and commitment to the grocery industry have earned her a well deserved Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next Award

104955 M Ad Canadian Grocer_V2.indd 1

Save-On-Foods is thrilled to congratulate its very own Generation Next Award winner, Zade Cawley, for his innovation, commitment to the grocery industry and outstanding customer service that make Save-On-Foods White Rock a great place to work and shop.


Zade Cawley Store Manager, Save-On-Foods White Rock

and to all of this year’s Generation Next Award winners!


Generation Next

SHEENA RUSSELL Founder & CEO Made With Local

Sheena Russell had a “boring government job” when she founded Made with Local in 2012, selling homemade Real Food Bars with “no weird stuff” at a farmers market in Halifax. In 2014, Russell quit her job to focus on Made With Local full time. In 2015, the company landed its first retail listing with Sobeys in Atlantic Canada. Today, Real Food Bars are sold at 750 grocery stores across Canada including Sobeys, Loblaws, Farm Boy, and more. This year, Made With Local became a Certified B Corp. To produce the bars, Made With Local partners with three social enterprise bakeries in Nova Scotia. The organizations have supportive work and training programs for marginalized adults who have barriers to the mainstream workforce. More than 100 program participants make thousands of Real Food Bars by hand every day. Russell says as the company grew, she thought about getting a big co-packer, but instead decided to “double down” on the social enterprise model. “Creating a new social-impact production model isn’t easy, but seeing how it uplifts our communities is so worth it,” she says. “We are building capabilities within these social enterprise organizations ... and we can say to customers that every bar you buy makes a positive impact on Canadian communities.”


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

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STU SMITH Director, Fresh Programs

Georgia Main Food Group A Red Seal chef, Stu Smith moved from the Vancouver restaurant world to the grocery industry in 2012, joining H.Y. Louie (now Georgia Main Food Group) as a fresh specialist. In 2017, Smith took on the newly created role of director, fresh programs. He oversees all the fresh departments for Fresh St. Market, as well as the fresh departments of 23 IGA stores in British Columbia. With a true passion for food, Smith has differentiated both banners from the competition in many ways, including transitioning to an entirely AAA-Angus Western Canadian beef program and revitalizing the panini program. A career highlight for Smith was supporting the fresh departments as Fresh St. Market expanded to four locations (soon to be six). He’s also proud of his involvement with the Vancouver Whitecaps major league soccer team, having created the Cookin’ With the Caps cookbook featuring original recipes that match each team player, as well as a series of cooking videos. “I believe that if you work hard and you have passion, good things will follow,” says Smith. “I want to continue to grow and get better, both as a leader and as a human being. And hopefully that will lead me to even bigger and better things.”  CG

Thank you 2019 sponsors It is with your support that we are able to bring retailers and manufacturers together to gain valuable insights from thought leaders in our industry.







Execs from across the grocery industry turned out on Nov. 19 at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York hotel to hear about the big issues confronting retailers today and to celebrate both veterans and rising stars of the industry. Nielsen’s Carman Allison kicked off Canadian Grocer’s Thought Leadership CEO Conference with a compelling presentation on the store of tomorrow and how less can be more when it comes to assortment (more efficient, and potentially more profitable). Presenters from Mercatus, Crossmark and Environics Analytics talked of the evolution of e-comm and presented data-driven solutions to persistent challenges such as out-of-stocks. In the highly-anticipated retail leadership panel, Anthony Longo (Longo’s), Darrell Jones (Save-On-Foods) and Ennio Perrone (Eataly) delved into topics ranging from data to the in-store experience, sustainability and the importance of treating staff right. In the evening, Golden Pencil Awards were handed out to Christian Bourbonnière (head of Metro’s Adonis Group), Cheryl Smith (previously with Lactalis, now Dairy Farmers of Ontario), and Tom Barlow (retired from Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers) for their impressive achievements and contributions to the Canadian grocery industry. But before the veterans received their Golden Pencils, Canadian Grocer recognized 12 of the industry’s rising stars with the 2019 Generation Next Awards. (Read more about them on page 43)





December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

The changing




By Rosalind Stefanac  Illustration by Kara Pyle

Time to rethink strategies for attracting, engaging and retaining employees over the last 10 years, Canada’s labour market has

changed dramatically. Rapid advances in technology, coupled with a substantial shift in workplace demographics and the rise of a flexible gig economy means retailers can’t do the same things they’ve always done to successfully attract and retain employees. “With unemployment at a record low, the demand for workers is strong. It’s an ideal time to be an employee in Canada, but it’s not so good for employers,” says Sean Mullin, executive director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University in Toronto. He notes that grocers, like many in the retail sector, are having a hard time because the jobs they’re offering aren’t highly skilled and workers are exercising their choice to shop around for the best fit. “[Grocers] have to figure out how to make these jobs more attractive or figure out how to use technology to move to a model where they’re less reliant on a large number of lower-skilled workers,” says Mullin. “A good mix of mid-career and younger workers will also diversify this risk and keep [grocers] less exposed.” Turnover is another big concern in today’s retail labour market. According to a 2018 study by Korn Ferry, a global consulting firm, 29% of retail human resources teams reported an increase in employee turnover from the beginning to end of last year, with part-time employee turnover topping the charts at 81%. Respondents cited better opportunities and

promotions as their primary reason for leaving, followed by more money and more hours. Andrea Wynter, head of human resources at Toronto-based ADP Canada, a global provider of cloud-based human capital management solutions, says grocers no longer have the option to select talent because today’s talent is picking them. “Talent is your new consumer,” she says. “If you want to attract the best, you have to compete for them.” She says grocers who rely heavily on part-time talent will see increased competition from gig economy employers, such as Uber, that cater to the flexible needs of their workforce. That’s why it’s important for retailers to help potential employees understand why they might want to “buy your company as their place of employment,” she says, and then differentiate yourself by offering perks not traditionally offered within a gig economy, such as employee health benefits, education assistance and mentoring programs. TIPS FOR ATTRACTING THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST “Attracting talent today is all about your employer brand, which is available to everyone all the time,” says Wynter. Given that most Canadians apply for jobs online, she says a company’s website and online brand are the first thing they see. “A lack of online presence could cause millennials and others to doubt if your job is worth applying for and perceive December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer



Employees can make or break the customer experience ongoing competition from

online retail channels is forcing traditional brick-and-mortar grocers to reinvent the in-store experience. A crucial part of making that experience successful is having the right employees on your team, says Andrea Wynter of ADP Canada. With research showing consumers spend significantly more per visit in-store than online, Wynter says good service is a determining factor in how shoppers will spend their money. “The consumer expectations when they are in the store versus online demands a different interaction between customer and employee,” she says. Employees need a very targeted set of soft skills, such as empathy, patience, exceptional listening, perceiving and understanding, positive communications and demeanour. She says a good way to help employees develop these soft skills is to pair them with a seasoned employee who can show them the ropes and teach them about positive relationships in the workplace. She also recommends leveraging current staff as resources for new hires, offering incentives to those who recommend successful applicants. 56

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

your brand as being behind the times,” she says. Wynter points to a successful recruiting campaign called “Assemble Your Career” launched by IKEA that leveraged brand recognition to attract potential candidates. The company put “Career Instructions” in every flat pack purchased, which Wynter says was an ingenious way to use customers and their love of the brand as a channel to recruit at minimal cost. Best of all, the campaign resulted in 280 new hires. With technology at a point where people can get targeted job alerts right to their phones, Mullin says recruiters have to be particularly strategic in how they approach prospective candidates. “Yes, it’s all about the web and social media but the apps that high-schoolers are using these days are not the same ones being used by the 26 year olds, and retailers need to know that,” he says. Independent grocery retailer Joe D’Addario, president of Ontario-based Nature’s Emporium, says social media is also a key factor in attracting younger staff who are looking for employers they can personally align with. “Our brand ambassador Miranda Malisani does an excellent job and her message really resonates with millennials and gen Zs who want to work for organizations with high ethics and standards,” he says. “Social media helps convey the message that we believe in good environmental stewardship and sustainability.” Even after an employee is on board, the employer has to do its part to keep employees happy and engaged, notes D’Addario. With several staff members who have been on Nature’s payroll for 10 to 25 years, he says it’s the culture at each of his four stores that keeps employees sticking around. “Grocers obviously have to offer prospective employees a competitive wage and robust benefits packages, but more importantly, the culture of the organization is an intangible component that great employees want and need,” he says. At Nature’s Emporium, he says that’s a culture of family, respect and teamwork, which has been carefully crafted over the years. “When we first opened, it was actually very difficult to attract exceptional talent because we were new and our brand wasn’t recognized … but now we are constantly sought out by people who are passionate about health and really want to be part of our team.” WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO LONG-TERM EMPLOYEES While competitive wages do play a factor in most jobs, it’s not the main motivator in retaining employees, believes recruiter David Gagner of Oakville, Ont.-based recruiting firm Platinum Edge. “In working with our clients, we always try to educate them about the fact that people are looking for more these days,” he says. “When they go into work they want to feel like they make a difference and what they’re doing every day counts—if they just feel like a number, why would they stay?” In fact, ADP’s recent Evolution of Global Work

© 2019 Penske. All Rights Reserved.

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

TALENT study showed that 82% of employees surveyed wanted to play an important role in their company. “This is especially true for millennials and gen Z, who want to feel valued and understand how their work is contributing to the company’s success,” says ADP’s Wynter, noting that these cohorts are more likely to seek careers and employers that align with their personal values. “Many employees have a hard time understanding their importance and how they make a difference, so creating a sense of purpose and identity helps them feel valued at work.” Creating career pathways and ongoing opportunities for existing staff is another part of retention that grocers don’t always take advantage of, says Steve Mendelssohn of Watershed Law Professional Corporation, an Oakville, Ont.-based lawyer who spent a good part of his career in senior HR and consulting roles in the grocery sector. He says his quarrel with grocers these days is that some don’t want to think outside the box when it comes to their business model. “Instead of just hiring more junior employees, grocers might be able to run a better store if they had less turnover and weren’t as worried about the average hourly rate,” he says. “As retention becomes a bigger issue, retailers will be pushed to adapt and change.” Sobeys’ national director of talent acquisition,


Md. VTS-42

Md. VTS-46 Md. VTS-44

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Isaias Igreja, says his company has made conscious efforts to provide more programs and opportunities for employees interested in growing their careers in the grocery sector. “We even have summer programs where individuals can spend time in our offices to see if that’s a fit for them,” he says. “[The grocery sector] provides opportunities for all ages— just look at the cross-section of any successful store and you’ll see it is inclusive and diverse.” As someone whose first job was slicing sandwich meats in a grocery deli, Igreja says it’s important to tell young people about successful professionals in retail who started their careers “pushing carts” in the grocery aisles. “I had a manager who took me under his wing and I had great experiences working in different departments, which gave me an array of useful skills,” he says. “There are a lot of employee career stories here with individuals who have grown up through the store.” Save-On-Foods in Western Canada is another retailer with a history of promoting within. Heidi Ferriman, vice-president of people & communications, says Save-On-Foods is especially keen to develop team members who show “a drive and appetite to develop themselves and advance their careers with us.” The company recently implemented a master’s degree sponsorship program and has partnered with Athabasca University and Thompson Rivers University to offer Save-OnFoods’ team members opportunities for formal, post-secondary education. “We’re really focusing on being more vocal about the ways our existing and future team members can grow their careers with us,” says Ferriman. “Just look at our company president [Darrell Jones] who started as a bag boy in high school in a small town in B.C.” Ferriman says people do better when they understand a company’s plan and see how they can contribute to the company’s success. “Our team members are by far our biggest asset—the foundation of our business—so we want to make sure we give them the tools to ensure they are well-trained, informed and engaged.” With today’s challenging labour market, she says it’s easy to hire quickly and rush through the recruitment process, but advises taking the time to hire people who will do well in a company’s culture. Then, once employees are hired, she says it’s critical for managers to get to know everyone on their teams. “Engage with them and find out what’s important to them … When team members know their leaders are approachable and available, it just makes for a better workplace,” says Ferriman. When they feel valued and respected, she says, employees are much more likely to stay, be productive and be advocates for the company. “Every single person brings something unique and valuable to the workplace and we really want to make sure that we take the time to build on the unique strengths of our team members.”  CG

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Products, store ops, customers, trends



All dressed up As shoppers seek more innovative, health-focused options, a new generation of salad dressings and toppers has arrived By Dilia Narduzzi


s the holidays wrap up and we enter the New Year, many consumers try

to move away from the heavy celebratory foods they’ve been indulging in and look to lighter options. Cue the salad! But as we all know, a bowl of greens can be pretty bland without the dressing. No surprise, then, that salad dressings are big business. According to Nielsen Canada data, pourable salad dressings generated more than $250 million in sales across the country in the latest 52 weeks ending Oct. 12, 2019, which was up 2.1% over the previous year. What’s more, several manufacturers are now offering newer items like pre-packaged salad toppers—combinations that often include nuts, seeds, dried fruits, crunchy noodles and the like. These items can add extra nutrition, flavour and texture to a salad. Data on these newer mixes are unavailable on a wide scale, but according to Nielsen’s figures, seasonings for salads and salad toppings such December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer


AISLES as bacon bits are up 2.73% over the previous year, with sales climbing to more than $182 million. What’s popular in salad dressings has changed over the last decade or so, matching the move towards health-­ centric diets such as paleo, keto, vegan or plant-based, gluten-free, and organic. “There is one dominant theme influencing salad dressing launches right now,” says Dana McCauley, food trends expert and a director in the Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph. She explains that the newer dressings are “heavily skewed toward plant-based. A lot of it is about the vegan and the raw— taking creamy dressings and reinventing them with ingredients like almond or cashew milk, or other dairy alternatives.” Giancarlo Trimarchi, co-owner of Ontario-based independent grocery chain Vince’s Market, says in the last few years “there’s been a movement away from conventional brands with dressings over to artisanal, locally-sourced dressings with health additives.” Trimarchi says the first wave of this change brought forward new flavours and packaging, seen in brands such as Stonewall Kitchen out of the United States. The second wave in dressings, he says, is the one that started at least two years ago: the move towards “gluten-free, vegan ingredients, no added sugars, more health-conscious options … we’re still riding that wave,” he says. Currently, Trimarchi is seeing “the addition of new kinds of sours, vinegars. A lot more apple-cider based dressings.” Christy McMullen, co-owner of Summerhill Market in Toronto, agrees. “Anything that has apple cider vinegar or turmeric in it is hot right now,” she says, noting this is because “people are looking for more health benefits in their food. People might not want to drink apple cider vinegar in the morning,” but as a salad dressing base, it’s a win. Part of the shift to healthier dressings comes from the consumer perception “that the dressing they were putting on top of their salad was taking away from the health benefits they were trying to achieve” by eating more salad in the first place, says Trimarchi. One Canadian company that has taken this notion and made a winning formula out of it is Mother Raw, which sells a range of organic, plant-based, cold-blended dressings and dips in varieties such as Caesar,


Ranch and Japanese. Kristi Knowles, CEO of Mother Raw, says the inspiration behind the company was this: “Why shouldn’t my salad dressing be as healthy as my salad?” With ingredients like cold-pressed olive oil, apple cider vinegar, hemp seeds and more, Knowles says the ingredients tell the story of its dressings. The company’s motto is “put good on good,” with products that are convenient but don’t skimp on flavour or nutrient-dense ingredients. When thinking about salad dressings, it’s important to remember that salad itself has been redefined. “It’s becoming the base upon which you build your meal,” says Trimarchi. Salad is no longer just a side dish, agrees McMullen, and people are seeking ways to make salad a hearty and healthy dinner choice. This might also be part of what’s fuelling the newer trend toward pre-packaged salad toppers. Companies like Martin’s Fruit Farm based in Waterloo, Ont., and NaturSource just outside of Montreal are two Canadian companies that now offer these toppers. At Martin’s, inspiration to create the Saladitions line came about when management scanned the salad topper market and found that most were “not all that healthy”—often they included croutons, bacon, or other fillers, says Peter Katona, director of sales and marketing at Martin’s Fruit Farm. In contrast, Saladitions, which come in Crunchy Harvest Mix, Zesty Fruit Medley, and Citrus Pepper Blend flavours, feature dried apples from Martin’s farms mixed with pumpkin seeds, dried sweet potatoes, beets, cranberries and cherries, depending on the mix chosen. They’re also gluten-free and plant-based. In addition to nuts and dried fruits, NaturSource’s Salad Topper also includes dry noodles for crunch. Harvest Snaps, out of the United States, does a gluten-­ free green pea crisp Salad Toppers line with a similar marketing focus on delivering crunch. Many of the gluten-free and health-focused toppers tap into the keto market, says McCauley, where adherents might want “crunch and texture but aren’t going to use a crouton for obvious reasons.” There’s also the interest in adding protein to meals and this is something products containing nuts and seeds can fulfill. Who’s buying these dressings and toppers? According to Camille Balfanz, senior brand manager at Litehouse Inc.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

(a U.S.-based company that makes a variety of salad dressings including gluten-­ free, organic, Greek-yogurt based, and dairy-free versions), the company’s “current consumers are well-educated, suburban adult couples who are flavour enthusiasts looking for healthy but tasty options.” More generally, Brian Neumann, senior manager, brand build and innovation at Kraft Heinz Canada, says “the largest segment of salad dressing consumers tend to be 18 to 44 [year old] men and women,” and McCauley notes that baby boomers, since they often entertain, buy a lot of salad dressing. How can you make the most of salad dressing and salad topper sales? “Dressings have moved from the grocery aisle into the produce section,” says McMullen, adding this is because most of the newer salad dressings need to be refrigerated. This can make merchandising tough, but the main thing is to put dressings “intermixed in the salad and produce section,” explains McMullen. At Vince’s Market, salad toppers are part of the assortment and are clearly identified as such. Using a “clip strip in the salad dressings section seems to be what’s working in terms of merchandising,” says Trimarchi. Vince’s is also considering creating its own salad topper kits in-house out of its bulk food section. “To do a mixed kit and label it as a salad topper doesn’t seem too far a stretch,” Trimarchi says, since they pack bulk in house. McCauley suggests thinking beyond just the traditional “salad” produce when merchandising these kinds of products. “Put dressings near the peppers and zucchini for people who want to make grilled salads” in the summer, for instance. And in winter, “put them near the baking potatoes because you can use dressing as a topper for potatoes.” Sampling is also a key strategy for introducing customers to new things; and when sampling these products, consider offering them atop “non-traditional” items as well. Mother Raw’s tahini-based and other dressings are often used on Buddha bowls, says Knowles, which is handy for customers who want to eat a healthy meal but lack the dressing or sauce to round it out. Some salad toppers can go on top of soups, and certain dressings can be used as marinades. Thinking outside the box might just be the key to maximizing sales.

NEW ON SHELF! From savoury snacks to sweet desserts, these new product offerings might be just what your customers are looking for.

MATT & STEVE’S EXTREME PICKLE SPEAR New pickle offering in two classic flavours Designed to be a quick and satisfying snack or a crunchy side to your favourite meal, The Extreme Pickle Spear is Matt & Steve’s newest pickle innovation. These new spearcut pickled cucumbers deliver a big crunch and bold taste in two classic flavours: Hot & Spicy and Garlic & Dill.

DUFFLET PLANT-BASED DESSERTS Decadent treats made with no animal products Customers can have their vegan cake (or cupcakes, or loaves) and eat it, too. Toronto’s Dufflet Pastries has launched a line of plantbased desserts. The new line includes vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, vanilla and chocolate cake, carrot loaf and peanut butter oatmeal cookies.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

A hot cuppa is always lovely to sip on when it’s freezing cold outside, but hot beverages are clearly big sellers all year round—between coffee, tea and hot chocolate, combined sales were more than $1.87 billion in the past year. From fine ground coffee to Earl Grey tea, this Nielsen data reveals how various hot beverage categories have been performing. Hot beverages - 52 weeks, ending Oct. 12, 2019 $ Sales

$ Vol % Chg


Units Vol % Chg




































































A quick scan of any social media feed and you’ll see avocado toast is still a popular food trend, and now Sabra Canada is turning it into a healthy, on-the-go snack. Sabra Avocado Toast pairs crispy bite-sized whole grain toast with a lemon avocado spread, sold in 76-gram trays with easy-peel packaging.





A trendy, tasty, on-the-go snack








Protein-packed, plant-based puffed snacks GoGo Quinoa, a Montrealbased manufacturer of plant-based foods, recently launched its protein-packed GoGo Puffs snack in three flavours: Fauxmage White Cheddar, Sriracha, and Pink Salt and Vinegar. Sold in 113-gram bags, they’re free of gluten, egg, corn, soy, nuts and peanuts.

828,058,251.00 148,647,040.00






















1 Coffee is king. Roast and ground coffee (all types together) is the biggestselling hot beverage category, by far, at nearly $1.35 billion for the latest 52 weeks ending Oct. 12, 2019. Even with a slight drop of 0.3% in dollar sales over the previous year, it’s still more than four times greater than the sales of all teas and hot chocolate combined. 2 Whole bean, please! Of all the roast and ground coffee categories, whole bean coffee showed the highest

percentage growth in dollar sales, rising 5.9% to $148.6 million. 3 The ever-mellow chamomile tea is making a comeback, rising by 11.6% in dollar sales to $8.7 million, with 10.1% growth in unit sales to 2.6 million units. 4 Is green tea not quite as hot as it used to be? Green tea has declined by 7.2% to almost $18.4 million in dollar sales, while unit sales dropped by 6.7% to almost 3.8 million units. SOURCE: NIELSEN, NATIONAL, ALL CHANNELS, ALL SALES, EXCLUDING N.L.

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer


Frozen tuna poke kits from Matty’s Seafood include ahi tuna, a mixed veggie pack and sauce


Aqua cultured When it comes to frozen fish and seafood, health-conscious consumers are reeled in by innovation and sustainability By Michele Sponagle surf or turf? As many busy Canadians

look to cut back on red meat and reap the purported health benefits of seafood, frozen fish and seafood are pushing further into the spotlight. Demand for frozen seafood steadily increased in the five-year period between 2012 and 2017, according to And recent Nielsen data shows sales for this category grew by 1.5% to more than $876 million in Canada in the latest 52 weeks ending Oct. 12, 2019. Frozen haddock, specifically, grew by 7.2% to $78 million, while frozen scallops rose by 12% to $39 million. “The growth in the frozen seafood category is being fuelled by gen Xers and boomers,” says Dana McCauley, director of new venture creation at the University of Guelph’s Research Innovation Office. “Some of them are being told by their doctors to lose weight and eat less red meat,” she says, noting millennials are also quite open to seafood. “They were brought up on sushi so their childhood fish experiences were more positive than an older person’s might have been.” Also add to the mix: a robust economy that makes premium seafood more accessible, a focus on heart health and the benefits of omega-3, keto diets, and the introduction of innovative easy-prep


seafood options. As Glenn Grandy, senior director, seafood with Mississauga, Ont.’s Tree of Life explains: “From a protein standpoint, seafood offers consumers good value and generally a healthier option. Our consumer research also told us consumers like the variety that frozen seafood offers them in terms of species and convenience.”All those factors present great opportunities for retailers to increase sales—but it may take a bit of consumer education to truly capitalize on them. “I’d like to see more retailers calling out the health benefits of increasing seafood consumption and, ideally, designate more real estate to the category in weekly flyers,” says Grandy. McCauley also suggests in-store sampling of new products, and training staff to become more knowledgeable about seafood products. Matt Dean Pettit, founder and executive chef of Toronto-­based value-added frozen seafood company Matty’s Seafood, agrees: “It comes down to education and more in-store signage for consumers. Grocers and brands need to continue to teach [consumers] that frozen products aren’t necessarily lesser quality. Most frozen seafood—especially value-added products­—are high quality, as companies use more sustainable fishing methods, better

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

technology and super-premium ingredients flash frozen to lock in freshness.” Those value-adds—including readyto-cook seasoned, spiced, marinated or breaded fish, which may also be part of a frozen dish or meal kit—continue to be popular. Matty’s Seafood has had success with its lobster mac ’n cheese and its recently-launched tuna poke kits with Ocean Wise ahi tuna, a mixed veggie pack (pineapple, edamame, sweet corn and onions) and ponzu sauce. A fresh wave of updated classics, such as burgers and sausages made from salmon, shrimp and crab, have also hit the market. The popularity of value-adds is sending a clear signal that consumers want convenience and are willing to experiment; but the types of fish being featured in many of these products shows they still often want those tried-andtrue fish species. “Cod and haddock are the top performers, but we believe this is just because they are the most familiar,” explains Grandy, adding, “We have introduced Icelandic wolf fish, a great fish that has a similar texture to halibut but at roughly half the cost.” For the Janes frozen fish brand, longstanding favourites remain strong. “Pollock is very popular among consumers who are looking for value, while haddock is the premier choice for consumers who are looking for premium products,” explains Paul Craft, vice-president, marketing at Sofina Foods. Joe Nacevic, category manager, seafood at Longo’s, highlights shrimp as a top seller (and Nielsen data backs that up, with frozen shrimp sales at nearly $344 million in the past year—the highest seller in the entire frozen seafood category). Up next, says Nacevic, there will be less heavily breaded products, more unique flavours and healthier coatings. Sustainability remains a hot topic and something today’s customers now expect. Nacevic says it’s important, as a grocer, to work with companies that take all the necessary steps to ensure their seafood products meet certain standards. As a manufacturer, Pettit is “all in” when it comes to sustainability, and lauds Ontario supplier Planet Shrimp for its state-of-the-art aquaculture practices to produce Ocean Wise farmed shrimp. “The results are fantastic,” says Pettit, who predicts more sustainable, value-added seafood products will be filling grocers’ freezers soon.  CG











MARCH 3-4, 2020 Toronto Congress Centre


Jack of all fruits

THE JACKFRUIT COMPANY Colorado’s The Jackfruit Company recently launched its new Complete Jackfruit Meal lineup, featuring four globally-inspired options: Coconut + Vegetables + Thai Green Chile; Chickpeas + Spinach + Garam Masala; Black Beans + Corn + Tex Mex Spice; and Red Kidney Beans + Tomato + Rustic Herbs. These shelf-stable, singleserve, plant-based meals are ready-to-eat: just heat them up and they’re good to go.

North Americans caught on to the value of jackfruit as a meat alternative in dishes like tacos and pulled pork just a few years ago, and the popularity of the South and Southeast Asian fruit has been skyrocketing ever since. “This is the third year that it has been trending big time,” said Robert Schueller of Melissa’s/World Variety Produce at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in October. The popular fruit is now turning up in convenient packaged goods like the ones on this page:

UPTON’S NATURALS Upton’s Naturals has packaged jackfruit in six trendy flavours: Original, Sriracha, Sweet and Smoky, Thai Curry, Chili Lime and Bar-B-Que. This jackfruit can serve as a stand-in for meat in various dishes including tacos, nachos, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta or rice dishes, according to the Chicago-based company.


December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

CHA’S Montreal-based Cha’s offers two different types of jackfruit in a can: Young Jackfruit in Brine and Sweet Jackfruit in Juice. Both are certified organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and have no added sugar or sulphites. The sweet jackfruit is packed in organic pineapple juice, while the young jackfruit is packed in a brine of purified water, organic coconut vinegar and sea salt using BPA-free cans.

GRACE FOODS Along with its line of canned beans, peas and callaloo, Caribbean food company Grace Foods also now offers a canned jackfruit: Young Green Jackfruit in Brine. The brine is a simple water, salt and citric acid combination and the can’s label highlights that this product is vegan, high in fibre and a “perfect meat alternative.”

ECOIDEAS Ecoideas’ packaged jackfruit products come in shredded and cubed varieties. There’s Original Cubes, Original Shreds, Spicy BBQ Shreds, Tasty Thai Cubes, Teriyaki Cubes, and Spicy Mexican Shreds. The Canadian company’s certified organic jackfruit cubes and shreds can be used as a meat alternative to add to sandwiches, tacos, pasta, rice, salads and more.



The ongoing battle over credit card fees continues IT WAS TWO decades ago that Canadian grocers began noticing that credit card fees were nibbling at their bottom line results. As Canadians began to use credit cards with greater frequency, companies like Visa and MasterCard began to offer premium cards with more and more bells and whistles (wooing users with the opportunity to earn airplane tickets, money back and even VIP experiences). To pay for these added perks, credit card companies increased the fees to retailers. Indeed, the fee charged to grocers each time they swiped a customer’s credit card quickly reached anywhere from 2% to 4% of the value of the transaction. As grocery sales became more and more dependent on credit and debit cards (as they became a preferred method of payment with many consumers), the impact on grocers’ bottom lines became more acute. With profit margins for grocers famously slim, often as low as 1%, a 2% fee or more per transaction was clearly intolerable and unsustainable.


In 2014, a group called the Small Business Matters Coalition formed—comprised of about 25 trade associations, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG)—and it soon took up the challenge to lobby the credit card companies and the federal government to lower the rate being paid by retailers, noting that the 2% or even 3% rate in Canada was much greater than, say, Australia where it was only 0.5%. Why such a difference? Visa and MasterCard eventually told Ottawa they would agree to lower the fees to an average of 1.5%. Those rates went into effect in 2015, and the agreement expires in 2020. In August 2018, the government announced it had reached a new agreement with Visa and MasterCard to make a reduction in the average fees down from 1.5% to 1.4%, which would begin May 2020. A win, yes, albeit not as big a drop as it could be. In response to this announcement, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) stated in

December 2019/January 2020 Canadian Grocer

a release that this reduction still “falls well short of where it should be,” and noted that the RCC would continue “its assertive advocacy efforts to push for more meaningful reductions in credit card interchange.” Gary Sands, senior vice-president public policy and advocacy for CFIG notes: “it’s not what the card companies say the rate is, it’s what the rate is that matters,” noting that the percentage the card companies cite is an average rate for all their cards, including the premium ones. In the meantime, Interac debit fees are just a few pennies per transaction—a flat fee rather than a percentage of the purchase, so no matter how big or small the customer’s purchase is, the fee is always the same. No wonder grocers would prefer their customers use Interac debit. Sands says the Small Business Matters Coalition targeted Liberals and the NDP in the run up to the recent federal election, and Visa and MasterCard responded by saying they would reduce the fees for the independent grocery channel to 1.33% for Visa and 1.36% for MasterCard. Large grocers with more clout such as Loblaw and Walmart get an even better rate “which is 0.89% for Walmart,” according to Sands. He is hoping for a further reduction to around 1.22%, although even that “is less than what is possible,” Sands believes. The Competition Bureau, a few years back, estimated revenue from credit card fees in Canada to be about $5 billion annually. Certainly, a good portion of that was taken from grocers. Canada is the second-most card friendly country in the world after Sweden, according to ZUU Online. A report from the Canadian Bankers Association revealed that nearly 74.5 million MasterCard and Visa credit cards are collectively held by Canadians. We await whether further reductions will happen, but as Sands says: “it’s like a boxing match with many rounds. We’ve won a few battles but this is a war.”  CG

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


George Condon



Investing for Growth

Kraft Heinz Canada’s winning recipe for sales growth and giving back

Q&A With Bruno Keller Kraft Heinz Canada President 2020 Product Innovation New tastes consumers will love Smart Play Get ready for the next Kraft Hockeyville!

Insights in Action

A focus on data drives the triple win


Shopper marketing that moves the needle

(L-R) Bruno Keller, President; Dana Somerville, Chief Growth & Sustainability Officer; Peter Hall, VP Sales and Head of Foodservice, Kraft Heinz Canada


Oven Baked


Contents K5 The Year Ahead


2020 will bring exciting possibilities for grocers to partner with Kraft Heinz Canada

K6 Q&A With Bruno Keller

Kraft Heinz Canada President shares his plans to drive innovation, grow business and cater to consumers’ tastes

K9 Winning With Insights

Data-driven insights and smart shopper solutions build basket size


K13 Commitment to Community

How Kraft Heinz Canada brings communities together from coast to coast

K18 New Product Showcase

A sneak peak at what’s launching in 2020

K13 K18





Visuals subject to change.

The Year Ahead Dear Colleagues, The start of the New Year brings with it a sense of excitement and possibility, an opportunity to refresh and renew, reflect on the past and plan for the future. As we look ahead to 2020, we see 12 months of exciting possibilities for our customers to partner and grow with Kraft Heinz Canada. As leaders in the CPG industry, Kraft Heinz Canada has the expertise, tools and strategic capability to help drive sustainable and profitable growth in 2020 and beyond. This includes:

Bruno Keller

• Winning Innovation: Our Marketing and Sales Planning teams work in conjunction with customers to ensure every product we bring to market is designed to meet the needs of consumers and makes sense for your business. • Shopper Marketing and Insights: We have a team dedicated to analyzing and understanding all levels of shopper behaviour and developing the best programs to increase basket size and drive category growth in any store or region. • Scale Marketing Programs: Kraft Hockeyville and Kraft Heinz Project Play are well established, best-in-class community-based programs that continue to grow and bring consumers to grocery store aisles for brands they know and trust. • Iconic Brands: From Kraft Peanut Butter to Heinz Ketchup and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Heinz has the brands Canadians know and love, and we continue to invest in these brands to make them more appealing for consumers. Taken together, we believe these initiatives and plans provide an exciting platform for opportunity and growth with our customers. We hope you are as excited as we are for the year ahead and the opportunities available to our retail partners to continue to build mutually beneficial partnerships. Sincerely,

Peter Hall Bruno Keller President Kraft Heinz Canada

Peter Hall VP Sales and Head of Foodservice Kraft Heinz Canada



MEET BRUNO KELLER: Kraft Heinz Canada’s New President The former leader of Category Development takes the helm at Canada’s No. 1 food company, with a focus on driving growth for Kraft Heinz’s powerful brands and putting customers at the core Tell us about your career history with Kraft Heinz.

Before joining Kraft Heinz Canada, I spent the past 18 years between Brazil and Italy. I joined Kraft Heinz in 2014 and the following year was named Managing Director for Italy and then, two years later, Managing Director for Southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal). I came to Kraft Heinz Canada in 2018 as VP of Category Development and then as President since September 2019. I am truly excited to be leading such a great team and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with customers, focusing on consumer needs and developing our employees, while helping to make Canada an even better place. I’m very proud that almost 70% of our products are prepared in Canada, and we want to build on that.

Having worked at Kraft Heinz in Europe, what do you find unique about the Canadian market?

Every market is unique, but what I have learned is that once you focus on consumers with every decision, understanding what their pain points are, what their needs are, and then how to solve their problems by offering great products, you will win. The attention on how to build a better world is an amazing strength of Canada. With that, sustainability is at the centre of our attention. Canada is showing global leadership on this agenda and, as the largest food company in Canada, we must do our part to reduce the impact on the world and leave a better place for future generations.

What has you most excited about taking on your new role?

What I am most excited about is our people and the passion for our brands. We have such a talented team, with a great mix of experience and youth, which is what


makes us different, and creates a positive environment that fosters entrepreneurship and meritocracy. Our people, combined with the amazing brands and big dreams, make Kraft Heinz Canada unique and that will help us build on our position as Canada’s No.1 food company.

What are your top priorities as Kraft Heinz Canada’s new president?

Our top priority is to continue to grow our business in a sustainable way, having brands and products that make everyone’s lives easier, with amazing flavours and great meal solutions, while increasing our efforts to build a better Canada, by reducing our environmental footprint. As mentioned before, sustainability is also our top priority. We must act, and fast, to build a better place for the next generations. Finally, Kraft Heinz Canada will contribute to making Canada an even better place to live, work and grow through iconic community engagement programs such as Kraft Hockeyville and Kraft Heinz Project Play.

How will you lead your team to achieve success?

By being surrounded by great people, investing in them and letting them work. Besides that, I’m a believer that people are at their best when they have a clear purpose. It must engage them and unite them. We want everyone to be energized every day, so it is a win-win-win for customers, consumers and Kraft Heinz Canada.

What do you see as the biggest consumer trends driving change in the food sector?

Our industry is constantly changing, and the pace of change itself is increasing. There is an established trend


toward food that is less processed and better for you. With that in mind, consumers will see cleaner ingredient lines from Kraft Heinz and a commitment to no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, with sustainability being at the centre of our actions.

How is Kraft Heinz responding to those trends in terms of new product innovation?

We have several exciting innovations in the pipeline. What I can tell you is that everything we are doing revolves around understanding consumers better than anyone else, solving consumer pain points and delivering delicious solutions behind the most powerful brands that consumers trust. We want to build on our iconic brands, while keeping a close eye on evolving categories. CRAVE is a recent example of a winning Kraft Heinz innovation in the singleserve frozen meals category that has no artificial flavours or colours and doesn’t sacrifice taste. At the global level, we have Evolv Ventures, which is a $100-million venture fund led by a team of food, start-up and venture capital veterans. As the world’s fifth-largest food and beverage company, we can provide access to unparalleled market intelligence, strategic partnerships and industry influence to innovators in this growing space.

How is Kraft Heinz ensuring that its iconic brands stay relevant with today’s consumers?

The key pillars for growth in Canada are our flagship brands that Canadians have loved for decades. Philly Cream Cheese, Kraft Peanut Butter, KD, Kraft and Renées Salad Dressings, Heinz Ketchup, and Maxwell House Coffee. We need to keep anticipating changing consumer tastes with new offerings that tap into broader marketplace trends. In 2019, we increased our media investment more than

30% behind our core brands, and this is just the beginning. We are working to connect with consumers in a more modern way, with digital as the main growth platform. It’s also important for us to be creative with our marketing to better understand today’s consumers, who are looking for unique ways to connect with brands. Our “Perfect Pour” Heinz Ketchup bottle with the label angled for perfect pourability is an example of an iconic brand connecting with today’s consumers in a fun and engaging way. The Canadian campaign was a hit across North America.

How does Kraft Heinz keep with up the changing needs of grocery retailers?

We are a Sell Out-driven company and we’re investing heavily in Category Management, bringing technology, data and insights to drive category growth for our partners. The Customer Insights team plays an important role in understanding the changing retail grocery landscape. At the same time, our Field Sales Team works closely with stores to ensure we are responding to the latest data and helping them improve Sell Out. We also recently held our first Innovation Lab, which was a customer-only glimpse into our upcoming innovations. Our customers were very excited about it and we will build on this concept and the insights gained to design even better innovations in the future.

What are the keys to a successful retail partnership in today’s evolving landscape? Everything we do must be consumer-centric and focused on solving pain points for our consumers. When you start from that point of view, you are better able to anticipate issues and come up with innovative solutions, to then partner with the retailers and build a win-win relationship.



Spread the word on New KRAFT CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT! Made with No Palm Oil and Low in Saturated Fat

Visuals subject to change

Winning With Insights Kraft Heinz Canada’s deep focus on data-driven insights and shopper marketing solutions is helping retailers drive basket size and build excitement in store


n today’s dynamic CPG and grocery space, data is the foundation for making smarter business decisions and gaining a competitive edge. As the value and quantity of data rapidly rises, the days of going on gut instinct alone are gone. “Both internally at Kraft Heinz and at our retail partners, decision-makers want to see the hard data and facts behind any proposed strategies before giving the go-ahead,” says Richard Tazi, Canada Head, Business Intelligence, at Kraft Heinz Canada. “Data-driven insights can uncover growth opportunities in all areas of the marketing mix—from optimizing assortment to improving promotion efficiency or finding untapped consumer needs.” With the accelerated speed of data growth, Kraft Heinz is staying ahead by investing heavily in thought-leadership research in four key areas: assortment, shelving, price and promotion. “Each of these core fundamentals, when done right, will help drive category growth and improved shopper satisfaction,” says Jeremy Attridge, Head of Category Management and Development at Kraft Heinz Canada. “Our team’s focus is to drive the triple-win: category, consumer and customer.” To drive category growth, the Insights team has invested significant time and resources developing the “perfect shelf” across eight macro categories worth more than $3.7 billion in retail sales. The process requires an extensive review of the consumer path to purchase and existing conditions in the market. From there, the team tests multiple iterations and shelf designs in a shopper lab to create shopper decision trees, which provide a deeper understanding of how shoppers make choices at the shelf, as well as optimal category and product placement. “Our vision is to drive $322 million in category growth over the coming years through optimal retail execution of shelf design and assortment,”says Attridge. As in most industries today, the new data era has

The shopper lab at Kraft Heinz allows the team to get a deep understanding of how shoppers make choices at the shelf

also brought the need for new skillsets and talent. Kraft Heinz now has in-house data scientists and data engineers working closely with the Insights team to build the company’s capabilities for the future. Kraft Heinz is also training its analysts in areas of data wrangling, visualization and modelling. “The future will require the Insights team to move beyond answering “What happened?” to asking “What will happen?” and “What do we need to do to achieve it?”’ says Tazi. Beyond evolving its skillset, Kraft Heinz is leveraging new big-data technologies. It has built more intelligent and automated tools that seamlessly integrate into its business processes and decision-making.



How does Kraft Heinz’ focus on data-driven insights ultimately drive sales and basket size? “We are obsessed with the shelf and ensuring the sections are clean, easy to shop, reduce item find time, and are natural to shoppers based on their shopper decision tree,” says Attridge. “Shoppers have a finite amount of time that they are willing to spend in store. When they can fulfill their core list faster, the potential for an expanded basket with new items becomes possible.”

"What sets our programs apart is the power of Kraft Heinz scale and the breadth of our brand portfolio." Putting The ‘Shopper’ In Shopper Marketing

With its smart shopper marketing solutions, Kraft Heinz Canada knows how to drum up excitement at retail. The company takes a “shopper first” approach and creates customized programs that fit the individual needs and wants of consumers. The programs are designed to both build Kraft Heinz’ brands and drive a specific consumer behaviour or action. “What sets our programs apart is the power of Kraft Heinz scale and the breadth of our brand portfolio,” says Isabelle Boulos, Canada Head, Shopper Marketing, at Kraft Heinz Canada. “When you bundle that with the equity of our legacy programs, namely Kraft Hockeyville and Kraft Heinz Project Play, and with strong shopper offers at point of purchase, it allows for significant impact with our consumers.” Launched in 2006, the Kraft Hockeyville competition has awarded more than $3.5 million across 81 Canadian communities to local hockey arenas. The program kicks off each year in January, and creative shopper marketing executions help rally the community to vote, as well as provide relevant promotional vehicles. “Kraft Hockeyville is our gold standard shopper marketing program that has set the benchmark for future programs and we will continue to bring our signature programs to life for our retailers,” says Boulos. “Also, as we look at elevating our game, we will be tapping into key meal occasions while offering superior merchandising and executions in both grocery and perimeter departments.” Across all programs, Kraft Heinz is amplifying its in-store executions with a creative omni-channel presence, as an increasing number of shoppers are going online to plan their shopping trips. “Shopper marketing is an integral part of retailers’ strategies, as it successfully engages the shopper in-home, out-of-home and in-store through multiple touch points,” says Boulos. “We know our shoppers think about how and where they can get the brands they love. We also know that our retail partners think about category growth and points of distinction. As shopper marketers, we must think of both and create activations that meet all objectives."



Insights Power Innovation

At Kraft Heinz, all product innovation is grounded in consumer insights using either in-market testing or concept testing. In one recent success story, Kraft Heinz found an unmet need in the frozen dinners/entrées aisle and developed CRAVE—a line of single-serve frozen meals that delivers on taste. “Consumers want taste, and while there are numerous brands in the category that stand for value or better-for-you, there were previously no brands that fulfilled taste properly,” says Kraft Heinz Canada’s Jeremy Attridge. Two years in market, CRAVE is still driving significant growth, up 448% in the latest 52 weeks.


Frozen Meat Alternatives! BOCA Vision: To be the brand that liberates people from a meat-centric world

Original Chick’n Veggie Burger Original Veggie Burger

Veggie Crumbles Veggie Chick’n Nuggets

Brand Benefit: An easy way to replace meat that tastes as good as the real thing


Plant-based protein on trend for Canadians

43% of Canadians want to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diets to improve overall health 39% of Canadians define themselves as Flexitarian+1



Strong product performance in Canadian consumer trials

BOCA was tested with Canadian consumers and passed product test scores2

Leverage US Brand Equity

BOCA consumption was US$42 million in 2018, with 8.4% category share3

Consumers like the taste of BOCA and believe it “tastes as good as real meat”2

In US, BOCA has successfully brought Millennials (aged 18-34) into the Meat Alternative category, as Millennials now account for 28.3% of category 1 Flexitarian+ includes Flexitarians, Pescatarians, Vegetarians, and Vegans 2 Nielsen BASES Concept Testing on BOCA Original Veggie Burger, BOCA Original Chick’n Veggie Burger, BOCA Veggie Crumbles, BOCA Veggie Chick’n Nuggets in 2018 3 Nielsen Answers MarketTrack 52-week consumption period ending December 31, 2018





Made with natural ingredients 


100% certified organic and prepared 

to homemade and Made with  Close Natural Ingredients and Acerola Cherry.

NEW HEINZ BY NATURE POUCHES and acerola cherry in Canada

 Sustainable packaging: Only brand playing in recyclable glass jars

 Meeting consumer needs:

Largest single ingredient assortment (11 skus) to help moms introduce solids

Commitment to Community Kraft Heinz Canada’s popular CSR initiatives help bring communities together from coast to coast


s the largest food company in the country, Kraft Heinz Canada is at the table with millions of Canadians every day. With its suite of well-known corporate social responsibility initiatives focused on the infrastructure of play, Kraft Heinz Canada is also with Canadians when they’re at the rink, the baseball diamond, the community swimming pool, and a host of other places that bring communities together. “Our corporate social responsibility strategy is built on four pillars,” says Av Maharaj, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Legal and People & Performance at Kraft Heinz Canada. “Better Supply Chain, Better Environment, Better Products and Better Communities. Our goal is to promote sustainability across our supply chain, while improving the products we sell and making a positive impact in communities across the country.”



Kraft Hockeyville and Kraft Heinz Project Play

Kraft Heinz believes that communities build the spirit of hockey, and hockey, in turn, is at the heart of Canada’s communities. Over the past 14 years, Kraft Heinz, in partnership with the National Hockey League® (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association® (NHLPA), continues to capture the spirited stories of our hockey nation. Kraft Hockeyville is the search for Canada’s most passionate hockey community. The program unites the spirit and passion of Canadian hockey communities and helps support the future of hockey in Canada by investing in the infrastructure required to keep the game going: the local arena. The community that is crowned Kraft Hockeyville receives $250,000 toward arena upgrades in their community and an NHL® pre-season game. “Since 2006, we are proud to have been able to give back to 81 communities awarding over $3.5 million and we can’t wait to kick off year 14 on January 1,” says Matt Bruce, Brand Manager, Kraft Heinz Canada. In 2019, the town of Renous, N.B. was named Kraft Hockeyville and the prize money was used toward putting in a girls’ locker room and replacing their ice plant. In addition to the prize money for arena repairs, Renous hosted an NHL® pre-season game in September between the Montreal Canadiens® and Florida Panthers®. Renous also received $10,000 in equipment from NHLPA® Goals & Dreams. The equipment donation will be distributed through the local organizing committee to a grassroots hockey program in the community to be used in the purchase of new equipment to help deserving youth play hockey. The three finalists from Rich Valley, Alta., Saint Polycarpe, Que.; and Wilkie, Sask. earned $25,000 in arena upgrades along with $10,000 in equipment from


NHLPA® Goals & Dreams. For those who engage in sports and recreation other than hockey, Kraft Heinz Project Play is a vital community builder. Whether it’s on a baseball diamond, in a swimming pool, or on a football field, play brings people together. However, 46% of sport and recreation facilities in Canada were assessed to be in poor, very poor or fair condition, requiring attention. That’s why Kraft Heinz, TSN and RDS continue to partner to build better places to play across the country through the Kraft Heinz Project Play program. Over the past 11 years, Kraft Heinz Project Play has awarded nearly $3 million to 77 communities. “From coast-to-coast-to-coast, there are recreation centres, fields and pools that act as the heart of their communities – they’re where we build lasting friendships, create memories, and teach and experience the value of teamwork,” says Bruce. After almost two million votes were cast over a 48-hour voting period, the town of Saugeen Shores, Ont. was named the 2019 Kraft Heinz Project Play winner and received $250,000, which will help build Lamont Sports Park into a prime destination for baseball, fastball and softball lovers across the region. Finalists from Lanigan, Sask., Nepean, Ont. and Salmon Arm, B.C. each received $25,000 for facility upgrades. “Places to play are truly at the centre of Canadian communities and this was clear in the thousands of stories we received from coast to coast,” says Bruce. “It's always amazing to see how communities come together to rally behind projects so close to their hearts.” In total, Kraft Heinz has supported 187 communities, contributing over $7.7 million to play-based infrastructure projects across Canada.



Over the past 13 years, Kraft Hockeyville has awarded over $3.5 MM to 81 communities across Canada, because we believe that community builds hockey and hockey builds community!










2019 program impressions across Canadian consumers.1

Overall awareness for the Kraft Hockeyville brand 2 with 67% awareness amongst NHL fans.3

Votes in 32.5 hours showcasing high engagement amongst Canadians.1

NHL fans are the primary grocery buyers in Canadian households.3

1 2 3

Kraft Heinz 2019 Internal Results Kraft Heinz Panel Study 2019 IMI 2019


NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. NHL and NHL team marks are the property of the NHL and its teams. © NHL 2019. All Rights Reserved. NHLPA and the NHLPA logo are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League Players’ Association. © NHLPA. All Rights Reserved.

Fighting Hunger at Home and Around the World

Food insecurity is not something that just happens in other places. According to Food Banks Canada’s HungerCount 2019 Report, there were more than one million visits to more than 2,300 food banks in Canada, with over 5.5 million meals and snacks provided. As part of its vision of growing a better world, Kraft Heinz Canada partners with Food Banks Canada to make food donations to help reduce hunger and end food insecurity across the country. Over the past five years, Kraft Heinz Canada has provided $3.5 million in support to Food Banks Canada, along with more than $55 million in food donations. In 2019, the company stepped up its efforts. On October 16, World Food Day, Kraft Heinz held a 24-hour global meal-packing relay race in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, an international, not-for-profit hunger relief organization. Starting in Sydney and ending in Chicago, 15 Kraft Heinz offices and factories around the world joined together to pack over 1.2 million meals destined for children and families in need. Employees from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated. Kraft Heinz is committed to delivering one billion nutritious meals by 2021.


“As one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, Kraft Heinz is committed to doing our part to end global hunger,” said Miguel Patricio, Kraft Heinz Global CEO. “We partner with local, national and international organizations and promote employee volunteerism to give back. This employee-led initiative to pack one million meals in 24 hours speaks to our commitment as a company and individually as members of our communities to help eliminate food insecurity.” Each meal includes micronutrient powders containing 23 essential vitamins and minerals – developed by Kraft Heinz food science and nutrition experts – as well as rice, soy and vegetables. Each serving of micronutrients provides an entire day’s worth of nutrition for healthy growth and development and has been proven effective in preventing and treating iron-deficiency anemia and other vitamin and mineral deficiencies. “Giving back to communities where we live, work and play is part of who we are and part of our vision of growing a better world,” says Kraft Heinz Canada’s Maharaj. “Relieving food insecurity and ending hunger is an issue close to us as a large food company, and we are grateful to our community partners such as Food Banks Canada for delivering front-line support.”


For those who want a little more peanuty flavour.


New Product Showcase A sneak peak at on-trend innovations hitting store shelves in 2020


t Kraft Heinz Canada, product innovation is grounded in insights so brands can deliver what matters most to consumers. Consumers are seeking authentic, quality products that are less processed, have clean ingredients and offer them guiltless pleasure. In 2020, grocers can count on Kraft Heinz to bring excitement and added sales across categories with new innovations from its top-selling brands.

Heinz by Nature

Inspired by nature, close to homemade – that’s new Heinz By Nature baby food pouches. Shipping early Q2 2020, Heinz By Nature is 100% organic, sustainably packaged and prepared in Canada, with natural ingredients (nothing artificial added), including acerola cherry, an emerging superfruit boasting high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. Grow the infant category by trading consumers up to this unique offering. With 11 single-ingredient SKUs, Heinz By Nature meets consumer needs with moms introducing their babies to solids.

Kraft Extra Roasted Peanut Butter

The Kraft Peanut Butter you know and love, now Extra Roasted! From the #1 brand in the peanut butter category, and proudly prepared in Canada, Kraft Extra Roasted Peanut Butter tested outstanding with consumers. Available January 15, 2020 and supported with mass media and in-store support, this product is for those who want a stronger peanut flavour.



Kraft Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Spread the word, new Kraft Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is here! This sweet arrival from the leader in the spreads category is delighting chocolate spread lovers with a recipe that has no palm oil, and is low in-saturated fat, without compromising on indulgent taste and texture. Kraft Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is made with skim milk, roasted hazelnuts and cocoa, and will be supported with a multifaceted marketing campaign to bring excitement back to the chocolate spreads category.

CRAVE: New Varieties

Continue to disrupt the frozen aisle with a brand that delivers premium flavour and big taste, with no artificial flavours or colours. Deliver category innovation with new CRAVE Handhelds (Turkey & Bacon with Ranch Melt, Buffalo Chicken Melt, and Philly Cheesesteak Melt) and new CRAVE Dinners (Spicy & Creamy Cajun-Style Chicken and Sausage as well as Cheesy Loaded Potatoes with Angus Beef & Bacon). Since launching in March 2018, the brand has been a success and CRAVE is the largest player in the premium frozen meal segment.

Cracker Barrel Mac & Cheese

Here’s a chance to leverage the equity behind the #1 brand in natural cheese to shake up the mac & cheese category. Launced in December 2019, Cracker Barrel Mac & Cheese is available in Cheddar, White Cheddar, and Cheddar Havarti. While trading consumers up to premium, 45% of Cracker Barrel Mac & Cheese volume will be sourced from incremental growth (new users and increased baskets).


Canadians are decreasing their meat consumption and looking for protein alternatives. BOCA provides an easy way to replace meat that tastes as good as the real thing! With no artificial flavours or colours, BOCA products have at least 50% less fat than their comparable meat substitutes. Available in Q2 2020, the line-up includes BOCA Original Veggie Burger, BOCA Original Chick’n Veggie Burger, BOCA Veggie Crumbles and BOCA Veggie Chick’n Nuggets.



KD is now

cheesier •D elicious KD taste you know and love, but now with 15% more cheese •A lways made with real cheese •K D is made with no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives

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