Ethnic F oods RES EARCH
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PRODUCE MAN MEET DARREN GOLDIN, EDIBLE INSECT FARMER P.10 DOES YOUR STORE NEED A PLANT BUTCHER? P.17 RAISING THE BAR WITH SPECIALTY CHOCOLATE P.47
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Ethnic F oods RES EARCH
CPMA chair Sam Silvestro is on a mission to promote fruits and veggies
PRODUCE MAN MEET DARREN GOLDIN, EDIBLE INSECT FARMER P.10 DOES YOUR STORE NEED A PLANT BUTCHER? P.17 RAISING THE BAR WITH SPECIALTY CHOCOLATE P.47
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CONTENTS April/May 2017 Volume 131 Number 3 FEATURES
5 Front Desk 21 Shopper Sense 50 Checking Out STORE OF THE MONTH
6 Nations Fresh Foods This multicultural grocery store in Mississauga, Ont., puts prepared and ethnic foods at the forefront
10 Darren Goldinal The co-founder of Entomo Farms explains why the edible insect industry is hopping 12 Milestones IDEAS
17 Does your store need a plant butcher? How fruit and veggie prep services can help you sell more produce
19 Take it to the bank
Learn how Food Banks Canada wants to reduce food waste with an innovative app
PUSHING PRODUCE 24 CPMA’s Sam Silvestro talks about eating more fruits and veggies, working in produce and why you should never stop learning
20 Ideas worth stealing Great ideas for grocers from around the world
47 Setting the bar high
BACK TO BASICS 28 Grocers don’t need expensive technology to compete with online retailers—offer personal shopping experiences instead
CANADIAN EXOTICA COVER AND THIS PAGE: MIKE FORD
39 A look at some of the tropical produce growing right here in Canada
How consumers’ tastes are shifting toward premium chocolate offerings
49 Just desserts
Cupcake girl Lori Joyce launches Betterwith, a new ice cream brand
49 New on the shelf
Are these new products right for your store?
CPMA's New Product Showcase
ETHNIC FOODS REPORT 42 New Canadian Grocer research reveals that demand for ethnic foods is on the rise. Our experts discuss how retailers can win the category
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April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
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Volume 131 Number 3 GROUP BRAND DIRECTOR Alison Wood firstname.lastname@example.org
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EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Tom Barlow, Ross Bletsoe, François Bouchard, Mandi Fawcett, André Gagné, Annick Gazaille, Denis Gendron, Lorelle Gilpin, Florent Gravel, Won Suk Ha, Jessica Kim, Les Mann, Ken Schley, Peter Singer, Mondella Stacey, Mike Venton
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FRESH FOCUS Today’s shoppers insist on fresh. Retailers of all stripes are competing to meet this demand IN 2014, a Toronto Star headline posed the question: “Would you buy fresh groceries at Shoppers Drug Mart?” At the time, the prospect of buying tomatoes and leafy greens at a drugstore seemed a novel idea. Even the chain’s executive vice-president and chief merchandising officer, Mike Motz, admitted the biggest hurdle would be getting customers to believe they really could get fresh food at a pharmacy. Now, of course, it’s not just drugstores that are learning the value of fresh. Online retailers are vying for their piece of the fresh pie as are meal kit providers. Even vending machine operators like Fresh Now are dispensing fresh salads and other healthy fare via automated kiosks around Vancouver. Luckily, traditional grocers are stepping up their game. They know fresh is their biggest weapon in the battle to attract and retain customers.
GROCERS KNOW FRESH IS THEIR BIGGEST WEAPON IN THE BATTLE TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN CUSTOMERS Produce departments, in particular, are often regarded as the make or break departments, with many consumers deciding to shop or not shop at a grocery store based on the quality of the produce. Grocers are also adding more organics, local foods, value-added products and convenient solutions. In “Does your store need a plant butcher?” on page 17, correspondent Rebecca Harris looks at a new grocery store service that marries the healthy eating and desire for convenience consumer trends. Simple, yet genius. Exotic fruits and veggies are also in higher demand, thanks
to increased travel, changing demographics and exposure to channels like the Food Network. Writer Danny Kucharsky discovers that, when it comes to sourcing exotics, we don’t always have to look beyond our borders. Some resourceful producers have found a way to grow papayas, bananas and more right here in Canada (read more on page 39). This taps into two more consumer trends: the desire for exotic produce and shopping locally. With produce, the stakes (or shall we say beefsteaks?) are high. According to Nielsen figures, fruits and vegetables are worth more than $10 billion to retailers. Here’s to grocers continuing to prevail in produce.
Executive Editor firstname.lastname@example.org April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
The Facts Location Mississauga, Ont. Number of Employees 200 Size 60,000 sq. ft. Specialties Ethnic and prepared foods
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
STORE OF THE MONTH
Global Grocer Nations Fresh Foodsâ€™ new Mississauga location meets growing consumer demand for ethnic and prepared foods By Chris Powell Photography by Justin Poulsen
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
IT’S JUST BEFORE NOON ON WEDNESDAY, and Nations Fresh Foods’ newest store is beginning to fill with people looking to grab a quick bite for lunch. Most of the action is at the large buffet area, where customers of all ages and ethnicities stand shoulder to shoulder perusing more than 40 freshly prepared items ranging from jerk pork and barbecue pork ribs to goat curry and grilled beef. The sushi and teppanyaki sections are also doing a brisk business, as are the dim sum, Chinese barbecue and fresh salad counters. “It’s a market restaurant concept, and it’s never boring,” says Frank Ho, the multicultural grocery chain’s senior vice-president. “I believe prepared food is the future of grocery.” At Nations’ Hamilton and Mississauga locations, he says, prepared food accounts for between 30% and 40% of total sales. Nations Fresh Foods opened its first location in Woodbridge, Ont., in 2012 and followed with a store in Hamilton one year later. In February, Nations opened a third location in Mississauga, and for good reason: Mississauga is Canada’s sixth-largest municipality, and boasts a growing ethnic population. More than one quarter of the population speaks a mother tongue other than English or French, including more than 28,000 people who speak one of the Chinese languages. The 60,000-sq.-ft. store is designed in a modern aesthetic, with dark wood, glass and steel elements complemented by the occasional bamboo plant. The prepared foods are featured near the store entrance, with other grocery departments (including an enclosed seafood department that uses powerful fans to ensure odours don’t waft into other areas) located deeper within the store. The store’s “Where East Meets West” philosophy is reflected in its blend of western and ethnic items in every department. Along with the traditional western-style fare, you’ll find chicken feet and pig ears in the prepared foods section, grass carp steak, conch and shark steak in the seafood section, and products such as preserved plums and preserved orange peel in the centre aisles. The philosophy is even more present in the produce section. Bananas and broccoli are flanked by ethnic produce like bitter leaf (“I don’t even know who will use this but it will sell here,” says Ho, with a laugh), and exotic fruits such as dragon fruit, custard pineapple, milk fruit, rose apples and watermelon-sized jackfruit from South Asia. “Produce is one of our bright spots because of the diversity,” says Ho. He adds that nearly half of Nations’ produce—and as much as 30% of its fruit—can’t be found at a typical grocery store. The meat department also caters to multicultural shoppers, offering a range of halal meats for Mississauga’s large Muslim community, while other meat is either prepackaged or custom cut for the store’s Asian customers. Nations Fresh Foods continues to expand with a fourth store set to open in Toronto this September. Ho says the grocery chain has signed a long-term lease at the now-shuttered Target outlet at Stock Yards Village. CG
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
STORE OF THE MONTH
FRANK HO, NATIONS FRESH FOODS’ SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, ON THE RISE OF PREPARED FOODS AND WHY DIVERSITY IS HIS STORE’S GREATEST ASSET. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE STORE? The prepared food area, because ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat and ready-to-cook is important for people living in urban areas. Basically, customers belong to two groups: the cooking group and the non-cooking group. Most second-generation immigrants and busy people belong to the non-cooking group, and they want a variety of convenient and affordable prepared foods daily. EAST MEETS WEST Nations’ diverse offerings range from dim sum to burgers.
WHAT ARE THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN THE GROCERY INDUSTRY? In the real estate industry they say location, location, location. In the grocery industry, it should be fresh, fresh, fresh. Freshness is the most important aspect, then variety and an affordable price. WHAT DISTINGUISHES NATIONS FROM ITS COMPETITORS? Our prepared foods and our diversity. Our prepared foods provide convenient access to a wide selection of global tastes to meet every customer need. And our diversity is not only in our food, but also in our people. Nations Fresh Foods has customers and employees from all over the world who bring a unique and colourful food culture to our stores. It’s unbelievable and unbeatable.
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
PEOPLE Who you need to know
The Facts Who Darren Goldin Position Co-founder & VP, Operations, Entomo Farms What’s New? A significant expansion of mealworm production
Cricket champion Entomo Farms’ Darren Goldin has high hopes for the edible insect market By Rebecca Harris Photography by Jaime Hogge
THE WAY DARREN GOLDIN SEES IT, a hopping cricket business at the grocery store is just a matter of time. “Five years down the road, I think all major grocery stores will have sustainable protein sections with an array of insect-based products,” says Goldin, co-founder of Entomo Farms, an enterprise that raises and processes crickets and mealworms for human consumption. “Ten years down the road, we’re going to see more insectbased products in the freezer sections of grocery stores, and I think the offering will continue to diversify.”
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
PEOPLE 30 SECONDS WITH:
DARREN GOLDIN WHAT’S THE TRICK TO GETTING PEOPLE TO EAT INSECTS? The vast majority of North Americans are incredibly squeamish about eating an insect. If they can see the whole insect, especially the face and the eyes, they’re 90% disinterested. But if you take that insect and grind it into a powder and put it in a food that’s familiar, you get an inverse split, where 90% of people will try it, and only 10% are squeamish.
WHAT HELPS GET INSECT PRODUCTS OFF THE SHELF? We’ve learned that, when people are introduced to these products by somebody they
If that comes to pass, there’s a good chance a lot of those insects will come from Entomo. The 60,000-sq.-ft. N o r w o o d , O n t . , f a c i l i t y, about two hours northeast of Toronto, is the largest cricket farm in North America. The company sells cricket powder (or “flour”) to food manufacturers that use it as an ingredient in foods such as protein bars, crackers, tortilla chips, pasta noodles and even in pet food. On the consumer side, Entomo Farms sells cricket and mealworm protein powder for soups, desserts and smoothies, as well as its line of whole roasted crickets and mealworms—some with flavours like barbecue and honey mustard—that are perfect for salad toppings or as a snack. Products are sold at entomofarms.com with some items also available at specialty stores including Toronto’s Summerhill Market, B.C.’s Choices Markets and Mom’s Organic Market in the United States.
know, they’re much more likely to try it. But if we put product onto a store shelf where none of the sales people are interested in it or know anything about it, it’s just going to sit on the shelf.
WHAT DO YOUR KIDS THINK OF THE WHOLE CRICKET OPERATION? They were young enough when we started that they were, and are, unfazed by it. When I bring a different kind of insect home or if my wife is trying a new recipe, my older daughter loves to try and taste everything. And my younger daughter, if you put insect powder into chocolate chip cookies, she’s all in.
Though most westerners are hesitant to eat insects, there’s good reason to jump on the bug bandwagon. Crickets are high in protein and packed with vitamins and minerals such as iron and vitamin B 12 . Not only that, farming insects has a much lower environmental footprint than farming traditional livestock. “When you combine the sustainability story with the health aspect of cricket powder, then it starts to really change people’s perspective on why they should make this choice,” s a y s G o l d i n . T h i s y e a r, Entomo Farms is expanding its mealworm production to 272 kilograms per week (up from 45 kilograms) because demand is so high. Goldin is a Johannesburg native who immigrated to Canada with his family in 1986. He traces his path to the cricket world back to early childhood. “Growing up in South Africa, I was a huge nature lover and reptile enthusiast,” he says. As
adults, he and his brother Ryan ran Mountain Rhythm, a custom percussion instrument company. But eventually, things took a turn. “When the U.S. economy started to crash [in the early 2000s] and the music industry became a very difficult industry to earn a living in, we were brainstorming different ways to transition out of the business,” says Goldin. Already an avid reptile collector and hobby breeder, Goldin made a realization. “When you breed a snake, you sell a snake to a person once,” he says. “But then he buys food for that snake from somebody else every single week.” Soon after, Goldin and his brother co-founded Reptile Feeders, a company that supplies insects and rodents to the reptile industry. Then, in 2013, they started
thinking about making the switch to raising crickets— for human consumption. They’d been inspired by a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations touting the benefits of eating and farming insects. After recruiting another brother, Jarrod, the siblings launched Entomo Farms (originally named Next Millennium Farms) in 2014. Seizing the chance to be part of the growing edible insect industry is a testament to Goldin’s deep-seated entrepreneurial spirit. “My entire family, as far back as I know, were always entrepreneurs,” says Goldin. “It’s a blessing and a curse because my mind will never sit still. It’s the mind of an entrepreneur— you see everything as a way to create opportunity.” CG
CONGRATULATIONS Jennifer Cheung 2016 Recipient of the Keith Conklin Sales Excellence Award, Nestlé Canada Inc. Steve Fox, Senior Vice President, Customer Development, Nestlé Canada, is pleased to announce Jennifer Cheung as the 2016 Keith Conklin Sales Excellence Award winner. Keith Conklin, former Nestlé Canada CEO, had an enduring impact on the company during and beyond his 30-year career. To sustain his legacy for excellence in sales leadership, execution and transformation, we created an award in his honour. Jennifer Cheung, Key Account Manager, Walmart, is the highly deserving recipient of this prestigious award. As a true general manager, Jennifer is a role model leader at Nestlé Canada through her professionalism, integrity and outstanding performance. She inspires colleagues through her best-in-class communication and collaboration skills and her positive attitude. She clearly exemplifies Keith Conklin’s determination and “Passion to Win” spirit – leveraging roles and processes to drive continuous improvement and displaying exceptional coaching both within and outside of her team. On behalf of your colleagues, it is with great pride that we honour Jennifer’s talent and dedication. Congratulations Jennifer!
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Awards Congratulations to independent Ontario grocer Vinceâ€™s Market, recently named one of Canadaâ€™s Best Managed Companies. The Deloitte program recognizes
Clockwise, from left: Retiring Loblaw COO Grant Froese; Natureâ€™s Emporium opens in Burlington; Food Safety Recognition winner Angela Bernoski from Pillerâ€™s.
exceptional business performance in privately owned and managed companies. / Global public health organization NSF International announced the 2017 Food Safety Recognition Awards: Angela Bernoski, director of quality assurance and food safety at Pillerâ€™s Fine Foods in Waterloo, Ont., won the Food Safety Leadership Award. / Kelowna, B.C.â€™s Peterâ€™s Your Independent Grocer was recognized as one of the winners of the 2017 Employer Awards for Newcomer Employment, a Government of Canada initiative. More than 22% of its staff has immigrated to Canada.
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Openings Health food market Natureâ€™s Emporium opened a third store in Burlington, Ont., this February. The 20,000-sq.-ft. store features a 100% organic fresh produce department, a large selection of vitamins and supplements, as well as a juice bar, bistro and an expansive patio. / The North West Company also opened two newly renovated grocery stores in northern Quebec. Northern Kuujjuaraapik has added 3,750 square feet of space and new offerings in almost every department. Northern Inukjuak debuts a Tim Hortons beverage counter and an expanded full-service deli. More than $7 million of capital was invested and nine employment opportunities have been added to the region. / In March, Mars Canada opened an expanded chocolate facility in Newmarket, Ont. The $70-million, 60,000-sq.-ft. plant will manufacture and package Maltesers for the first time in North America.
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Four events to add to your calendar: SIAL Canadaâ€™s North American Food Innovation Exhibition takes place at the Enercare Centre in Toronto May 2â€“4. The show features pro ducts, equipment and tech nology for pros in the food retailing, foodser vice and food processing sectors. While at SIAL, donâ€™t miss the Ethnic Food Hub in partnership with Canadian Grocer on May 2, from 1:00-4:30 p.m. Learn more at sialcanada.com. / The Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Trade Show takes place at the Metro
Toronto Convention Centre May 9â€“11. Learn more at convention .cpma.ca. / Food and Consumer Products Canadaâ€™s Annual Supply Chain Symposium takes place at Mississauga Convention Centre on April 6. Discover new innovations, trends and best practices in manufacturing and distribution. Learn more at FCPC.ca. / Canadian Health Food Association West takes place at Vancouver Convention Centre April 6â€“9. Learn more at chfa.ca.
Celebrating This year, Foodland Ontario celebrates its 40th anniversary. Over four decades, the Foodland Ontario program has helped connect the fresh food that Ontarians eat to the farmers who grow it.
Deals Qualicum Beach, B.C.-based Quality Foods has been sold to The Jim Pattison Group. Quality Foods first opened in 1982 and there are currently 13 stores operating on Vancouver Island. The retailer was recently named Business of the Year at the 17th Annual Vancouver Island Business Awards. / In February, Maple Leaf Foods announced the acquisition of Lightlife Foods, Inc., a U.S. maker of refrigerated plant-based protein foods for US$140 million. With the acquisition, Maple Leaf Foods is expanding into this fast-growing category. / In March, Canada Bread Company, Ltd. acquired Stonemill Bakehouse Ltd., a leading producer of slow fermented craft breads made with non-GMO-certified and organic ingredients. The company will also close two bakeries in Quebec this year: the St.-CĂ´me-LiniĂ¨re bakery will be shuttered in May and the Beauport bakery, in September. CG
LOBLAW COS. LTD. ; NATUREâ€™S EMPORIUM, PILLERâ€™S
Loblaw has announced that its COO Grant Froese is retiring on April 14. Froese joined the company in 1978 as a grocery clerk in Winnipeg. / Agropur Cooperative has named RenĂŠ Moreau its new president. Moreau replaces Serge Riendeau, who is retiring after heading Agropurâ€™s board for the past 15 years. Moreau, a Quebec dairy farmer, has been an Agropur board member since 1998, and became vice-president in 2012. / Tina Lee, CEO of T & T Supermarket, has been named to the Canada-U.S. Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. The 10-member council is tasked with finding ways to promote female leaders in business.
SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS DELIVER BIG IMPACT As Canada’s leading tissue manufacturer, Kruger Products understands our responsibility to reduce our environmental impact. Our efforts to date are delivering measurable results and we’re committed to continuing our sustainability journey.
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NIGHT TO NURTURE 2017 GALA RAISES $2 MILLION TO SUPPORT THE GROCERY FOUNDATION AND KIDS HELP PHONE
MORE THAN 3,600 grocery industry professionals came together to support The Grocery Foundation’s “Night to Nurture” fundraising gala on Feb. 4. The event, which took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, raised $2 million to support the foundation and Kids Help Phone. The gala’s mission is to nurture children’s physical and emotional well-being, and to ensure they have vital supports in place, including proper nutrition and mental health counselling. “We were thrilled with another great event, which brings the industry together to help ensure kids get all they need to be the best they can be in their lives,” says Anthony Longo, chair of The Grocery Foundation and president and CEO at Longo’s. Well-known TV personality Ben Mulroney did a terrific job as emcee. The evening’s hosts, Michelle Scott, executive director of The Grocery Foundation, and Sharon Wood, president 14
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
and CEO of Kids Help Phone, introduced the audience to the purpose of the event. Celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday was the evening’s theme, which was highlighted by performances from iconic band Blue Rodeo and energetic group Hedley. Jacob Hoggard, the lead singer of Hedley, spent extra time congratulating the industry on its efforts. “The Night to Nurture is a wonderful celebration at what is, without question, the biggest gathering of companies from across the entire industry,” says The Grocery Foundation’s Michelle Scott. “In that regard alone, it is truly an amazing event. But long after the night ends, the impact carries on, and that’s where the magic really begins. We hear about it each and every day from the counsellors who take the calls and the student nutrition partners who see children flourish.”
1 / Master of Ceremonies Ben Mulroney talks about the cause.
2 / A dynamic and passionate performance by Hedley. 3 / Sharon Wood, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone, welcomes and thanks guests.
4 / Michelle Scott, Executive Director of The Grocery Foundation, thanks guests and sponsors for their support. 5 / Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo.
6 / 3,600-plus guests enjoy dinner in the dining room. 7 / Guests arrive and travel the red carpet to enter the reception. 8 / Giancarlo Perri and Joelle Raby of Rich Products submit their raffle tickets. 9 / Raffle winner Cassie Landolfi and husband, Tony, with their new 2017 Lexus RC 300.
A Special Thanks To O u r G a l a S p o n s o r s The Grocery Foundation and Kids Help Phone would like to thank the following Platinum Sponsors for their ongoing support of the Night to Nurture Gala:
More Ideas on page: 18 Fraudulent food 19 An app to help reduce food waste 19 Highlights from GSFW 2017 20 Great ideas for grocers
Retailers, suppliers, shoppers, insights
DOES YOUR STORE NEED A PRODUCE BUTCHER? This value-added service capitalizes on today’s health and convenience trends, while enticing shoppers to try new fruits and veggies
By Rebecca Harris
MEAT BUTCHERS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN a staple at supermarkets, but produce butchers? It’s a novel idea that just might have legs. After all, nobody likes to cry over onions, and who really knows how to cut up an artichoke or a dragon fruit, anyway? Well, produce butchers do. The in-store service allows shoppers to get their fruits and veggies peeled, chopped and diced right before their eyes. More and more grocery stores are catching on. Upscale Toronto grocer Pusateri’s has free vegetable butchery at its flagship location on Avenue Road and at Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s in the Eaton Centre. In the United States, retail/restaurant chain Eataly offers free produce butchery at its April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
WANT MORE? Visit CanadianGrocer.com for extended coverage on many of our IDEAS stories
New York City and Chicago stores, and Whole Foods launched the service (for a nominal fee) at its new location in Manhattan. “It is, in a word, genius,” says David Bartolini, principal at Toronto retail and brand consultancy David Bartolini Consulting. “It’s a fantastic value-added service, one that capitalizes on multiple trending fronts,” he says. Those trends include convenience, personalization (getting a one-on-one consultation with the butcher), customization (having your produce chopped the way you like it), and transparency (seeing the preparation of your food). But what does Bartolini find the most exciting? It demonstrates that innovation doesn’t have to be complicated. “Whole Foods and Pusateri’s are simply repositioning a process that many retailers are already doing—the cleaning and the chopping—in the back of the store,” he says. “They’re creating transparency while adding value for the consumer.” The service is becoming a real differentiator with the potential to boost revenue. When the Pusateri’s team started thinking about elevating the shopping experience in the produce department, differentiation was one of the goals. “Our meat counters are full service, our café is an Italian barista-style café and our pastry counter is full service,” says Angus McOuat, vice-president of merchandising and marketing at Pusateri’s. “But in our produce department, we didn’t have that extra service to help our customers. “We think the vegetable butcher is a great way to engage with our guests, have better conversations around the product they’re purchasing, and provide them with an extra value-added service so they choose Pusateri’s over other stores.” The strategy is paying off. McOuat says people are buying fruits and vegetables they wouldn’t normally purchase because they feel there’s too much preparation required. On top of that, McOuat notes that the Eaton Centre location attracts young professionals who may not have time to do a full dinner preparation. “Instead of grabbing a fast-food meal on the way home, they can cook a delicious meal for themselves,” says McOuat. “So we absolutely believe it has led to stronger sales, especially in that downtown market.”
FRETTING OVER FAKE FOOD IS FAKE FOOD A PROBLEM IN CANADA? MOST CANADIANS THINK SO A NEW DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY–LED study reveals Canadians’ concern over fake foods is growing, with many wondering if they’re really getting what they’re paying for.
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
Isabel Morales, manager of consumer insights at Nielsen Canada, says that having produce butchers allows retailers to become an ally in their customers’ quest for health. “Anything grocers can do to help consumers achieve more healthful habits will translate into increased loyalty and consumer dollars,” says Morales. “A produce butcher is also an educator for different types of fruits and vegetables, and encourages consumers to try new things.” Toni Abramson of YamChops, a plant-based butcher shop in Toronto, notes that sales of plant-based foods in the United States topped $4.9 billion in 2016. “Since opening our store two years ago, we’ve seen a huge increase in what we call flexitarians—people who are still consuming meat or animal protein but are looking to reduce their intake and supplement with more plant-based options,” says Abramson. At YamChops, customers can choose from a wide variety of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals such as beet burgers, carrot lox and Szechuan “beef” wraps. Abramson says the shop is in talks with a couple of grocery retailers who are considering carrying YamChops products. “They want to carry more plant-based foods,” she says, “whether it’s proteins or nut-based cheeses, because they see a demand for it.”
63% 40% of survey respondents are concerned about food fraud (the mislabelling, adulterating or counterfeiting of food products).
believe they’ve actually purchased a counterfeit food product.
IDEAS To help address the problem, the FoodAccess App will provide a network where all food providers and retailers can connect. Gersho describes it as an easy-to-use “Craigslist type of opportunity” where a grocer can post a note about an available food package and the first to express interest can pick it up. “We know there are stores already donating to food banks, but not all of them donate. This could A FINALIST IN GOOGLE.ORG’S IMPACT CHALLENGE, be an easy, cost-effective FOOD BANKS CANADA AIMS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE way to engage smaller WITH AN INNOVATIVE APP grocers,” she says. By way of the Impact By Rosalind Stefanac Challenge, Google.org, FOOD BANKS CANADA is one step closer to the charitable arm of Google, travels creating an app that connects farmers, to different parts of the world to supmanufacturers, grocers and food banks port non-profit innovators who use with the goal of reducing food waste technology. This marks Google.org’s across the country. After submitting its first competition in Canada. “This is FoodAccess App idea to the Google.org a country with a talent for innovation Impact Challenge, a national competi- and a culture of helping others, and we tion to fund innovative ideas that tackle knew that we would get some bold and social problems, the idea was selected smart ideas from Canadian non-profits,” as one of 10 finalists, beating out more says Nicole Bell, public affairs manager than 900 projects from other Canadian at Google Canada. non-profits. Google.org is donating a total of $5 “We know there’s an abundance of million in grants to the 10 finalists, to food in Canada, yet 860,000 people are contribute to the development of the helped by a food bank every month,” projects. Then, five of the finalists will says Marzena Gersho, director of com- each be awarded a $750,000 prize, with munications and national programs at the remaining finalists receiving $250,000 Food Banks Canada. “We also estimate each. All finalists will also get hands-on that $15 billion worth of food is wasted support for a full year. For Bell, the goal through the food value chain outside of the Impact Challenge is clear: “We the home, from farm and transport all want to see all of these incredible projects the way through to retail.” come to life and make an impact.” CG
GOOGLE.ORG; LEFT FIELD FOODS
Take it to the bank
WHERE DID THEY BUY THE FAKE FOOD? ACCORDING TO SURVEY RESPONDENTS: 65.9%
bought the fake food at a regular grocery store
12.2% said a non-traditional food retailer 9.8% said at a farmers’ market 2.4% made the fake purchase at a restaurant or food outlet SOURCE: FOOD FRAUD AND RISK PERCEPTION
WHAT YOU MISSED AT GSFW HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT CAUGHT OUR ATTENTION LAST MONTH AT GROCERY AND SPECIALTY FOOD WEST IN VANCOUVER
THE STORE AS A STAGE In one conference workshop, marketing expert Tony Chapman reminded retailers that the experience economy is growing twice as fast as the material economy. He encouraged them to think of their stores as a stage to act upon, somewhere to create experiences and theatre—not just a place to sell groceries.
CHANNEL CHALLENGE Nielsen’s Carman Allison told attendees that traditional grocers are being challenged by alternate channels. Over the past five years, $4.3 billion has shifted to online retailers, dollar stores and warehouse clubs.
COOL NEW PRODUCTS Calgary-based Left Field Foods debuted Spokes, a new line of air-puffed potato snacks. CEO Dave Pullar said that, since they’re not oil-fried, Spokes are light; one cup is just 40 calories. They’re also preservative-free, gluten-free and available in flavours like Mango Habanero and Sea Salt.
WANT MORE? Visit CanadianGrocer.com for extended coverage on many of our IDEAS stories
P LL RESULTS TASTES ARE CHANGING—IS YOUR PRODUCE DEPARTMENT? Our food tastes are changing, so we’re told, and we’ve developed an appetite for more exotic fare. Those in the know chalk it up to changing demographics, increased travel to far-flung destinations and more adventurous palates, especially among millennials. But are consumers looking to the produce department to satisfy their desire for exotic foods? We asked readers on CanadianGrocer.com:
Is demand for exotic produce growing in your store?
YES. AS MY SHOPPERS’ PALATES CHANGE, SO DOES MY PRODUCE.
NO DOUBT. THESE DAYS, EXOTIC FRUITS AND VEGGIES MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF MY PRODUCE SECTION.
NOT AT ALL. MY CUSTOMERS ARE TRADITIONALISTS.
IDEA GENERATOR ARCTIC APPLES THE FIRST GENETICALLY engineered apple has finally hit the market—for a 10-store test run in the U.S. Midwest. Okanagan Specialty Fruits, a biotech company in SummerMO apple land, B.C., has created a GMO th the that resists browning. With same nutritional value as a regan ular apple, Arctic Goldens can or be sliced and packaged for g convenient snacking, making o the fruit more appealing to o consumers and less likely to or be thrown away. Approved for o, consumption in Canada, too, g in Arctic Apples may be landing on. our produce departments soon.
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer rocer
STEALING NATURAL BRANDING In Sweden, ICA Supermarket is testing a more sustainable way to price its fruits and veggies. Instead of using plastic stickers and extra packaging, the retailer is employing laser technology to mark avocados and sweet potatoes directly on their skins. The laser changes the skin’s pigment so the product’s name, country of origin and PLU code are clearly visible. ICA says laser technology creates a fraction of the carbon emissions needed to produce a plastic sticker and eliminates the need for extra packaging. U.K. retailer M&S is conducting a similar trial on coconuts.
QUEBEC’S WAR ON WASTE Major grocers in Quebec are teaming up with food banks in a province-wide program to help feed those in need while diverting food waste from landfills. Launched in March, the Supermarket Recovery Program (SRP) is touted as the first of its kind in Canada and aims to benefit the 400,000 people who rely on food banks every month. The program was first launched as a pilot project in 2013, where 177 participating supermarkets recovered 2.5 million kilograms of food worth about $20 million. The SRP’s goal is to get 611 stores on board within three years and recover eight million kilograms of food annually. Now that Quebec has put its plan in action, can other provinces do the same?
RELAXED CHECKOUTS RE Whil retailers are usually trying to find ways to speed While up tthe checkout process, one Tesco store is doing the opposite. At a location in Forres, Scotland, Tesco is testing oppo a relaxed rel checkout lane with the goal of slowing down the sometimes hurried experience at the checkout, making it som less stressful for customers suffering from conditions such as dementia, autism and social anxiety. Staff members m manning the checkout have been trained by Alzheimer Scotland to identify shopper needs. S
OKANAGAN SPECIALTY FRUITS INC.; ICA SUPERMARKET
A BIT. I’LL TRY SOMETHING NEW EVERY SO OFTEN, BUT IT’S NOT A TOP SELLER.
SHOPPER SENSE Carman Allison
MOVING ON UP
pricing should factor in the realistic competitive context and retail dynamics.
Premium products are in demand as consumers seek a taste of the good life PREMIUM PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN A bright spot in today’s challenging retail environment. Sales of products in the “premium” tier—goods that cost at least 20% more than the average price for the category—are growing rapidly and, in many markets around the world, are outpacing total growth for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) categories. Both retailers and manufacturers can capitalize on the rising appetite for premium products by putting a premium on premiumfocused innovation. To effectively develop and deploy premium products, consider these guidelines:
ILLUSTRATION BY GLENN TAYLOR; BADGE FROM SHUTTERSTOCK
Create a highly differentiated offering. All successful innovations—regardless of price—share a common characteristic: they resolve a
consumer struggle. Nielsen research found that 75% of concepts tested don’t address any relevant need for consumers, and these concepts have less than a 5% chance of survival in market. Differentiation is particularly important for premium brands, as it helps justify the higher price point. Product concepts with higher uniqueness scores tend to be less price-sensitive. Diversifying your offering allows retailers to differentiate and align brands to overall banner stra tegy. It also reduces price matching. Ensure the product lives up to the promise. All products need to deliver on expectations but it’s particularly true for premium products. Higher prices set a higher bar for product performance; when a product is positioned
as premium, consumers have less tolerance for poor performance or undesirable attributes. Along with the product, things like store format, atmosphere and services need to align—you can’t just list premium and expect shoppers to buy—it’s part of the complete package. Make sure the price is right. Premium prices can var y significantly within most categories—from entrylevel offerings priced 20% to 50% higher than average to affordable luxuries, with prices at least three times higher. Just as new products should be developed with the consumer in mind, retailers should ensure they are priced based on consumers’ value perceptions and aligned to the overall banner strategy and positioning. Additionally,
Activate in a way that amplifies the product’s unique proposition. There is no single “right” activation model for premium products, but there are several considerations brands need to work with retailers on to optimize their strategy. First, brands need to be conscious of how consumers see their product on the shelf: where is it placed in relation to competitors, and what does this signal? In addition, brands should promote with caution, as discounting frequently or heavily can erode premium perceptions. Provide sustained, long-term support. Most new products experience a sales decline in their second year in market. What distinguishes the products that grow from those that decline? The growth brands spend almost the same amount on advertising in year two as they did in year one. In contrast, second-year ad spending for brands that decline equals only about one-fifth of their year-one budget. Given premium products’ higher price tag, consumer adoption may be slower than for mainstream or value products, so they could require even greater marketing support. Therefore, brands launching premium products must plan for robust, multi-year support that includes in-store support from retailers. CG
CARMAN ALLISON is vice-president of consumer insights at Nielsen in Toronto. Follow him @CarmAllison. April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
LICENSED VERIFIED CANADIAN PORK PRIMARY PROCESSORS:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE VERIFIED CANADIAN PORK™ BRAND: WWW.VERIFIEDCANADIANPORK.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CANADA PORK’S PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: WWW.CANADAPORK.COM CANADA PORK IS A NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INNOVATIVE PORK PRODUCERS AND MEAT PROCESSORS COMMITTED TO BUILDING CONSUMER TRUST, DRIVING SUSTAINABLE MARKETING SOLUTIONS AND GROWING CONSUMER DEMAND.
This material has been made possible through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative
Veriﬁed Canadian Pork™ Locally farmed, federally approved, globally distributed Canada Pork (a division of Canada Pork International) is a national alliance of innovative pork producers and meat processors committed to building consumer trust, driving sustainable marketing solutions and growing consumer demand. Kevin Mosser, Director, National Marketing for the organization, discusses the opportunity that Verified Canadian Pork™ offers and how Canada Pork can help retailers grow their pork category.
TELL US ABOUT VERIFIED CANADIAN PORK™. The Verified Canadian Pork™ (VCP) brand represents a farmto-table quality assurance promise from participating farmers and processors to differentiate Canada in the marketplace with some of the very best pork in the world. The VCP brand is built on a foundation of on-farm food safety, responsible animal care and mandatory traceability. It’s raised without the use of growth hormones (like all pork produced in Canada) and is minimally processed in participating federally approved HACCP plants across Canada. Verified Canadian Pork provides a credible national platform for brand building and can be leveraged as a resource by stakeholder partners along the supply chain to increase consumer confidence and awareness of the quality, wholesomeness and safety of Canadian pork products. Verified Canadian Pork is locally farmed, federally approved and, truly, a global success story. VCP co-branded products can be found at national and regional grocery stores across the country. HOW DOES CANADA PORK IMPLEMENT VCP PROGRAMS? Growth of the Verified Canadian Pork program really took off in 2015, when Canada Pork introduced five categories of VCP partner programs, which provide marketing opportunities to promote VCP co-branded programs across a wide range of distribution sectors. VCP partner categories allow programs to be customized to link to a specific geographical region or to retail end-user brands. Furthermore, co-branded programs have the opportunity to utilize the VCP value proposition as a platform to add additional attributes to strengthen the brand promise with a program or product line from a single- or multiple-licensed VCP processor. For instance, additional attributes may include selected specifications for marbling, meat colour, texture, ageing or other attributes such as “free from” claims, heritage breeds or specialized farming practices.
WHAT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO LICENSED RETAILERS OF VERIFIED CANADIAN PORK? The Canada Pork team brings market-tested programs, services and expertise to increase demand, market share and category growth at the meat case for premium quality Canadian Pork. For licensed Verified Canadian Pork retailers, Canada Pork can offer point-of-sale material development, consumer marketing support, recipe video development, education and training seminars, and VCP brand promotion support. HOW CAN RETAILERS FIND OUT MORE? The Canada Pork team looks forward to working with the retail sector, including grocers and manufacturers of further-processed pork products, to develop the pork category into a profit and sales growth centre. For more information, visit the Verified Canadian Pork™ website at www.verifiedcanadianpork.com or contact Kevin Mosser directly at email@example.com or call 519-260-0571.
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE IN CANADIAN GROCER: APRIL/MAY 2017
Pushing Produce CPMA chair Sam Silvestro talks to Canadian Grocer about getting Canadians to eat more fruits and veggies, attracting talent to the industry and why, in this business, you should never, ever, stop learning
By Shellee Fitzgerald
AM SILVESTRO IS A GUY WHO spends a lot of time thinking about fruits and vegetables and who knows, too well, the challenges of selling them in Canada. Sourcing Photography headaches, weather, rules, regs, fickle consumers, shrink, Mike Ford safety, GMOs—he’s had to contend with it all over the decades, first in his own shops in his hometown of Guelph, Ont., followed by long stretches at Sobeys, then Walmart. But he also sees his industry as one that’s brimming with opportunities. With his year-long stint as chair of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) coming to an What lessons are still relevant from end in May, we took the opportunity to chat your early days selling produce? with Silvestro about all things produce. Value. People are always looking for value when it comes to food, especially fruits and vegetables. Nobody wants a rotten tomato. Nobody wants a bruised banana. People want to know that there’s care and handling that’s gone into the food they buy.
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
What are the biggest challenges currently facing the produce industry? Labour’s always a big question, on the farm or at retail— everyone always wants to find people. It’s not easy. Whether you’re on a farm in Mexico or California, or right here in Canada, it’s really hard to find local people who want to do that type of work. And on the retail side, it’s finding people who want to make a career [in produce]. That’s one of the things that CPMA is working on. We’re trying to educate young people. The fruit and veggie industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry that continues to grow and there are lots of opportunities. We’re really working toward trying to educate people about the potential of our industry.
you’re trying to do is sell more fruits and vegetables, trying to increase that part of the business. It’s also about the common good. How do we improve traceability? How do we improve healthy eating? How do we check childhood obesity? Are there ways we can help with cancer, with heart [disease]? You know all of these things that are for the greater good—that’s what everybody sitting around that room is advocating for.
Boosting consumption is critical to the future success of the produce industry. What is CPMA doing to help achieve this?
You have to be very, very nimble; you have to know the marketplace. Our marketplace continues to change and, with the influx of immigrants, you have to know who your next customer is going to be. If we go back a decade or so, we didn’t sell much karela or okra but today—depending on your customers—those products have become staples. You have to have them.
There are all kinds of initiatives we’re working on. One is called 20 by 20, which is about trying to boost [fruit and vegetable] consumption by 20% by 2020. Now that sounds like a lot, but it’s really just one more serving. If we could get that one [extra] serving that would be wonderful. We also have Half Your Plate, a consumer program, which is really as simple as it gets: fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. And then we have the Freggie kids’ program, which is another big piece. If we can get to children at a young age and explain the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, maybe when they’re out shopping with their mother or father they’re going to say, “Pick me up that apple,” or “Pick me up that banana.”
There’s a lot of discussion around GMOs. What’s your take?
How has CPMA stepped up its efforts to provide education and training for produce workers?
It’s [an issue] that needs to be discussed, but I want people to be aware of and understand what they’re talking about. There’s way too much confusion and fearmongering
We’ve released a bunch of new podcasts and some [online] learning modules. Young people or new people who want to get into the business can use our programs and earn a Produce Basics Certificate and a Produce Essentials Credential. It’s extremely important because, if you have someone new [in your produce department] and say, “Go trim lettuce,” they really have no clue about how to do that or about the necessary safety precautions. These modules are going to help train those new people. And, we also have our Passion for Produce mentoring program. We take between 12 and 15 young people in the industry from any part of the produce business—retail, wholesale, growers, shippers—and let them attend a board meeting. We have leaders of the industry speak to them, mentor them and teach them. The program has been a complete success for us.
Kale may be big today, jackfruit tomorrow. How agile do produce managers have to be to keep up with ever-changing consumer preferences?
Our marketplace continues to change. You have to know who your next customer is going to be
out there about something that isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. We have a world that isn’t getting smaller; the population continues to grow and we need to feed that population. If we can find ways to increase what is coming out of an acre of land and do it safely, then we need to do it. It’s about educating the general public as to what this is and [helping them] understand that it isn’t all Frankenstein food.
How has working with an organization like CPMA helped you in your business over the years? Whether I was at Sobeys or whether I was at Walmart, the wonderful thing about being part of CPMA is being able to sit in a room with your major competitors. You’re not sharing any secrets or confidential information, you’re not telling each other what your sales or margins are, but as a collective, what
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you could give to produce managers? Never stop learning. Never stop. Listen to your customers. There’s just so much material out there that is available that will help explain what the new trends are. Your magazine, for instance—pick it up, read it, see what the new challenges are. What are the new things that people are looking for? Just don’t stop learning. And in the store, don’t do the same thing every day. Don’t keep the apples up at the front or the oranges, or whatever the case may be—continue to change things around; make it interesting for the customer who comes into your store. CG
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
LOADING UP ON EXPENSIVE TECH ISN’T THE ONLY WAY FOR GROCERS TO COMPETE WITH ONLINE AND OTHER NON-CONVENTIONAL RETAILERS. WIN BACK CUSTOMERS BY OFFERING COMMUNITY-MINDED, PERSONAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCES
Basics By David Sherman
ot everyone agrees that food-retailing prosperity depends on the ménage à trois between consumer, grocer and a consumer’s smart phone. Yes, mobile devices can play a part in elevating the march down grocery aisles. But some experts maintain that dependence on technology may be depersonalizing the shopping experience. And the experience, which begins when the shopper enters a store and ends when they drive away, is often considered the determining factor of whether the shopper will return, for how long and how much they’ll spend. U.K.-based retail futurist Howard Saunders consults, blogs and lectures—much like a standup comedian—on the misadventures of retailers eager to jump on the tech bandwagon. He says that retailers, in a bid to compete with fulfilment centres offering frictionless clickand-deliver services or retailers that promise scan-and-go, are ignoring the essentials of a successful shopping trip—the human connection and a sense of community. “Removing friction from the shopping experience has become another target in the battle against declining sales,” he writes. “But as is so often the case, they have completely misunderstood us.” The marketplace has been the centre of community life for hundreds of years. Replacing the cashier with self-checkouts and talking to customers via phone, smart carts or smart shelving, Saunders believes, will hasten the migration to online shopping. Shops could do better with decidedly low-tech, old fashioned service-with-a-smile and some “How’re the kids?” conversation. He maintains that retailers must invest in
Illustration by Hayden Maynard April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
the human side, providing places where shoppers can interact, learn, taste and laugh together. Jordan LeBel, associate professor of marketing at Concordia University with a special interest in food retail, says supermarkets also have to think outside the sector for inspiration. “Look at amusement parks,” LeBel says, “look to other industries, look for a unique feel and decor and apply it to the entrance of a grocery store.” The possibilities are endless: layout, colour scheme, lighting and even aroma can all attract customers. “Use anything that makes a customer want to shop there,” he says. Terrific service and convenience are must-haves for a personal shopping experience, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to self-checkouts or self-scanning. For many retailers, says LeBel, it means having well-trained, capable staff. At food stores such as Valmont and Latina in Montreal, Longo’s in Toronto or SaveOn-Foods in Western Canada, excellent service means having know ledgable clerks on the floor. Clerks can bring a customer to an item she’s seeking, rather than pointing to a numbered aisle. They
to improve the beginning and ending of the experience.” To be sure, retailers can accumulate megabytes of data via loyalty programs and smart phone apps. But talking to customers and finding new ways to attract them to the store shouldn’t be underestimated. Smart retailers transform their stores into hubs, with a deli and café that has Wi-Fi. “They’re a place to socialize,” says Rebecca Chesney, director of IFTF Food Futures Lab at the Institue for the Future, in California. “When I travel and want lunch, I’ll stop at Whole Foods, sit down, have a salad and use the Wi-Fi.” Some grocery stores offer a place for children to play and large washrooms that are easily accessible. Stores that hide restroom facilities in the back or up a flight of stairs aren’t appreciated by older people or parents of young children. Central Market, in Texas, is another g r o ce r y s t or e doi n g i t r i gh t, s ays Chesney. “It’s very much about food as adventure and discovery, with wines and produce from all around the world, not to mention a patio and a playground. On Friday nights a band plays, so you can
Instead of trying to keep up with Goliaths like Amazon with its delivery drones and checkout lane–free stores, grocers should play to their strengths can also suggest alternative products if asked, or they might find a recipe for a shopper. A personable employee may even know a shopper’s name and ask about the family. In the big supermarkets, customers are often left to wander a 50,000-sq.-ft. space in search of an item. And if they find a staff member to ask, he or she might not know where it is, either. The goods have been moved but the staff hasn’t been informed. How a customer finishes their shopping is also crucial. “Research tells us the most important moments are the ending moments,” says LeBel. If the cashier isn’t friendly, doesn’t make eye contact or is busy talking with the bagger about her date the night before, it’s a turnoff for the customer. “Stores have
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
bring the kids, grab a cold beer and go outside and listen to music.” Chesney also points to some stores that have a doctor come in once a week to tour the aisles with customers and answer questions on food choices and health issues. A health professional or informed staff person can help a shopper make intelligent, personal choices without being overwhelmed with information gleaned from the Internet. Instead of trying to keep up with Goliaths like Amazon with its delivery drones and checkout lane–free stores, grocers should play to their strengths. Creating low-tech, low-cost, personal shopping experiences—more like the supermarkets of days past—may be the best way to breathe new life into a grocery store and its bottom line. CG
Social Grocery HERE ARE FOUR WAYS TO CULTIVATE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AT YOUR GROCERY STORE.
PROVIDE EXPERT ADVICE Some of the biggest retailers house walk-in clinics within their stores. But smaller grocers can still have in-store dietitians or nutritionists who are available to answer consumers’ questions and help them make choices during their shopping trips. Providing such services can help build loyalty. CREATE AN INVITING PLACE TO EAT AND GATHER Shoppers enjoy a place to sit and have a bite to eat in-store. Too often, however, the area resembles a characterless food court or school cafeteria, says Rebecca Chesney of California’s Institue for the Future. Soften the lighting, make the seating comfortable and create an inviting spot where shoppers can linger, chat, relax and eat well. Take a page from Montreal’s Marché Epicure, where owner Igor Goldberg says of his customers, “First they eat, then they shop.” TRY DYNAMIC PRICING Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management and professor in food distribution and policy at Dahousie University, points to the success McDonald’s has had with its all-day breakfast. He notes that eating habits have changed; meals are no longer eaten at conventional times. Supermarkets can take advantage of this evolution with dynamic pricing, offering specials at certain times of day on ready-to-eat items or other groceries, in order to increase traffic at off-peak hours. CATER TO OLDER SHOPPERS Invite older shoppers, in a supermarket’s slower hours, for a walk through the store and offer them free coffee. Your supermarket could become a favourite gathering spot for seniors.
TUESDAY MAY 9 to THURSDAY MAY 11 convention.cpma.ca
CANADAâ€™S LARGEST EVENT DEDICATED TO THE FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INDUSTRY
NEW PRODUCT SHOWCASE
Today’s produce departments are overflowing with items that are innovative, convenient and, of course, healthy. Want proof? Check out these items from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s New Product Showcase (or see them first-hand at the CPMA Convention and Trade Show May 9–11, in Toronto).
BASIN GOLD COOPERATIVE
BC HOT HOUSE FOODS INC.
Eat Smart® Salad Shake Ups™ NEW single-serve salad kits come with an interior tray that serves as a lockable lid making it conveniently easy to mix the toppings and dressing. Eatsmart.net | Booth # 1239
Side Delights® Farmer’s Table® Organic potatoes are available in red, yellow and russet varieties in both paper and poly bags. Bilingual labelled (English and French) bags are ready for distribution. SideDelights.com | Booth #1403
Grown with the same love and care that you put into your culinary creations, Avalantino tomatoes bring out the bold and aromatic flavours that you love. Available in a 3-lb box. BCHotHouse.com | Booth #1213
BRAGA FRESH FAMILY FARMS Introducing Josie’s Organics Chopped Salads & Baby Blends. josiesorganics.com Booth # 238
BOLTHOUSE FARMS, INC. Introducing two new lines from Bolthouse Farms: Premium Organic Dressings that are lower in fat and calories, and organic cold pressured juices from 1915. Stop by booth #321 and try them today! bolthouse.com | Booth # 321
DEL FRESCO PRODUCE LTD. Our DelfrescoPure® Mini Mixers® stem from an all-in-one approach to flavour, texture and variety. Keeping your taste buds in suspense with every bite, these gourmet snacking tomatoes are a truly unique experience. DelFrescoPure® invites you to explore our new top-seal packaging with extra security features. Delfrescoproduce.com | Booth # 1527
COUNTRY SWEET PRODUCE, INC. Sweet, single and ready to mingle! A single, microwaveable Jewel sweet potato ready-to-eat in less than eight minutes. Available in conventional and organic. Perfect for the individual on the go. Bakosweet.com | Booth # 440
DEL MONTE FRESH PRODUCE CANADA, INC. Del Monte’s Vegetable Noodle line is a 100% fresh and healthy low-carb pasta alternative. Del Monte Fresh vegetable noodles include Zucchini, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, Carrot, Beet and other mixes. Freshdelmonte.com | Booth # 907
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
CFP LTD. Not all good things come in small packages. These jumbo cherries are incredibly sweet and plump and are just picked from sunny orchards in the Okanagan Valley. CFP-ltd.ca | Booth # 1213
DOLE FOOD COMPANY Through specially branded DOLE® Classic Iceberg Salads, Classic Romaine Salads, Iceberg Lettuce, Romaine Hearts, bananas, pineapples and berries, Dole and Disney are making it easier for shoppers to make healthier choices. Dole.com/Disney | Booth # 503
The Earthbound Farm brand redesign represents a significant shift for an iconic organic brand. The brand identity (logo), packaging communication hierarchy and visual communication elements have all evolved to create more effective at-shelf brand blocking, an easier-to-shop assortment, and clearer direction to new, innovative products. Earthboundfarm.com | Booth # 1413
For consumers who love potatoes, but worry about their carbohydrates or glycemic load. Carisma has a lower glycemic response. Great for diabetics! Earthfreshfoods.com | Booth # 1103
Introducing Fresh Express Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette, Asian Sesame Ginger & Sunflower Ranch Chopped Kits. The 100% organic, chopped salad kit has the ingredients your family will love all in one place. Freshexpress.com | Booth # 703
GIRO PACK INC. FRESH DIRECT PRODUCE LTD.
Check out Fresh Direct’s attractive, young coconut gift box with sturdy handle and playful monkey graphic design. It’s easy to handle, merchandise, and fit 3x3 into a nine-piece carton box. Freshdirectproduce.com | Booth # 508
Specialty Apple Slices. Creating renewed Interest in a classic fruit, Freshline’s ever expanding brand features premium apple slices with the popular honey crisp apple wedges and exciting peach and grape flavoured slices. Freshlinefoods.com | Booth # 645
Two new additions to the lineup of mesh bag styles: The Window Ultrabag is a new concept based on the well-known and very popular Ultrabag system, but with the added benefit of allowing better visibility of the product. The window compact bag has a horizontal design that integrates a large window for increased visibility. Giropack.com | Booth # 1306
Discover the world’s newest super fruit, the haskap berry. The haskap berry is incredibly high in antioxidants and has a delicious sweet/ tart taste. Haskapa offers frozen berries, awardwinning juice, health powders and much more. Haskapa.com | Booth # 630
Come and take a closer look at the world’s largest organic mushroom grower. From coastto-coast, we’re committed to providing our customers with pesticide-free mushrooms, innovative products and category insight. We look forward to seeing you in Toronto. Highlinemushrooms.com | Booth # 1421
Houweling’s Signature Selection Tomtastic Yellow Cherry Tomato is a premium snacking tomato that delivers huge flavour, high brix and exceptional sweetness for a consistent premium eating experience. Offering a yearround California and British Columbia-grown advantage. Houwelings.com | Booth # 212
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
INTERNATIONAL HERBS LTD.
J&D PRODUCE, INC.
We have grown to become your national, local grower of fresh herbs, specialty vegetables and fruit in organic and conventional offerings. Ready to fulfill your needs in a one-stop delivery. Internationalherbs.net | Booth # 1231
Honeysuckle Reds - The latest onion from J&D Produce, an extremely mild and delightfully sweet red onion that provides an enjoyable eating experience customers will appreciate. So mild, the whole family will SMILE. Littlebearproduce.com/hsronion Booth # 932
OPA Greek Yogurt Dressing – new look, fewer calories, same great taste! Litehousefoods.com | Booth # 509
LOVE BEETS Love Beets’ Beet Powder is made from 100% beets, has zero grams of added sugar, and is non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Add it to water, smoothies, yogurt, sauces, baked goods and more! Lovebeets.com | Booth # 1507
MASTRONARDI PRODUCE LTD. Not your typical pickle! This sandwich-topping favourite gets a fresh facelift and it’s quick and easy to make. This pail contains fresh SUNSET® cucumbers and a packet of spices to create dill-icious homemade pickles overnight. It’s the real dill! Sunsetgrown.com Booth #709
MASTRONARDI PRODUCE LTD. MANN PACKING CO. INC. Mann’s Nourish Bowls™ are a delicious single-serve, warm meal with fresh veggies, grain and sauce. Ready in 3-4 minutes, this product features uber-trending vegetables: kohlrabi, butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, kale, and sugar snap peas. Veggiesmadeeasy.com | Booth # 1320
Beat the midweek blues with SUNSET’s all-new Minzano® Pasta Kit, a convenient pack that contains everything you need for a fresh and flavourful 15-minute pasta dinner. The kit combines SUNSET’s fresh Minzano® saucing tomatoes with perfectly portioned pasta and expertly mixed seasonings, hand-selected by Roger Mooking. It’s convenience without the guilt, and it’s only 15 minutes away. Sunsetgrown.com | Booth # 709
MONAGHAN MUSHROOMS Vitamin D Mushrooms – Our mushrooms are enriched with Vitamin D giving you 100% of your daily Vitamin D in just one serving. Monaghan-mushrooms.com Booth # 1524
MUCCI FARMS MUCCI FARMS Sweet, yummy, crunchy and fun! Veggies to Go™ are a healthy on-the-go snack for kids. They’re great for lunches, dipping and half-time snacking. Bite-sized and full of flavour! Muccifarms.com | Booth # 420
Cherto gourmet cherry tomatoes taste as good as they look, kept on-the-vine to achieve traditional tomato flavour and freshness. Now available in a top-seal, re-sealable package that will keep you going back for more! Muccifarms.com | Booth # 420
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
NATUREFRESH FARMS TOMZ™ Snacking Tomatoes are fresh, multi-flavoured tomatoes grown year-round to give consumers a consistent quality product, regardless of the season. Naturefresh.ca | Booth # 107
NATURIPE FARMS LLC
NatureSweet® Cherubs® are the heavenly salad tomato and the best-selling tomato in North America. These tomatoes are 100% greenhouse grown, they are juicy, irresistible, guarantee sweetness and superior flavour. New larger size. Naturesweet.com | Booth # 1324
NatureSweet® Constellation™ tomatoes are a colourful blend of our great-tasting tomatoes in one convenient package. These tomatoes are 100% greenhouse grown, picked at the peak of freshness for year-round enjoyment. Naturesweet.com | Booth # 1324
Since 1917, our family of growers has been dedicated to growing premium quality berries. This year we honour our family farms and the passion that goes into producing every berry. Naturipefarms.com/100years Booth # 1513
ORORA FRESH HABITAT™
organicgirl true hearts – three new delicious, crunchy and nutritious true heart leaves salads: butter, butter plus! and romaine. The only product like this on the market! iloveorganicgirl.com | Booth # 639
Introducing the world’s most innovative topseal tray! TotalFlange™, HideAwayVents™, SmmoothBase™, JuiceTrap™ and InvisiRib™…. All combine to make a package with superior performance and look. Ororafresh.com | Booth # 1813
Crisp. Refreshing. Invigorating. Leafy Fresh lettuce is the newest addition to Pure Flavor’s unique product line. Available in 5 varieties in multiple combinations, Leafy Fresh satisfies all flavor enthusiasts. Pure-flavor.com | Booth # 1711
Cloud 9 is a premium light-red, round cherry tomato with an optimum balance of sweet and sour taste, wrapped up in a sustainable, paper package made of tomato plant fibres! Pure-flavor.com | Booth # 1711
NICHOLS FARMS A new snacking option from Nichols Farms – the 7 oz. Roasted Salted Organic Pistachio. Nicholsfarms.com Booth # 202
PURE FLAVOR Mini Munchies™ are the perfect addition to any kid’s lunch or on-the-go snack. It’s the perfect mix of Pure Flavor’s classic, juicy Juno Bites® Grape Tomatoes, sweet Aurora Bites® Mini Peppers and cool Poco Bites® Cocktail Cucumbers. Pure-flavor.com | Booth # 1711
RED SUN FARMS Red Sun Farms Organic Grapes are a delicious, sweet tomato, packed with flavour! Taste the difference for yourself at booth 401! Redsunfarms.com | Booth # 401
SCHUR STAR SYSTEMS INC. The Schur Star Concept consists of our unique packaging machine and pre-made Schur Star bags, automating your packaging process and upscaling your products. Schur Star bags can be made to meet all possible functionalities, features and shapes, including all-barrier capacities. Schur is the market leader in innovative packaging solutions. Schurstarusa.com | Booth # 1721
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
SINCLAIR SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, LLC Sinclair Print on Demand™. Using direct thermal technology integrated with precision stepper motor controls allows packing houses to print produce labels at the point of application and to reduce label inventories. Sinclair-intl.com | Booth # 223
SLICED FC LTD.
THE STAR GROUP
TAYLOR FARMS RETAIL INC.
Add a dash of colour to snacks, soups, salads or mains with vegetable noodles, an easy way to incorporate fresh flavour into almost any recipe. Cut fresh in Western Canada. Slicedfc.com | Booth # 1213
Inspired Greens. Making great taste easy. From buttery to nutty, sweet to spicy, tender to crunchy, you get a combination of tastes and textures that makes salads simple and lunches lively. Thestargroup.ca | Booth # 1213
Taylor Farms Stir Fry Kits include vibrant blends of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, carrots, red cabbage and peas, along with a delectable sauce. Perfect for adding your choice of grain, nut or other protein, to create a nutrient-rich meal without the hassle of washing, chopping, or paying to dine out. Taylorfarms.com | Booth # 331
TEMKIN INTERNATIONAL, INC.
THE LITTLE POTATO COMPANY
Temkin’s Steam Bags are quick, easy, and utilize laser venting technology that allows contents to be steamed in a microwave without consumers having to open packaging prior to cooking. Commercial.temkininternational.com Booth # 1501
Something Blue delivers striking colour and taste with the convenience of no washing or peeling. Bursting with nutrition, our blue Creamers are sure to make a bold statement on your shelves. Littlepotatoes.com | Booth # 301
TEMPO PLASTICS LIMITED
Utilizing modified atmosphere packaging, TimeFresh keeps organic products natural without preservatives, increases distribution chains through extended shelf life and improves profits with decreased shrinkage and spoilage. Tempoplastics.com | Booth # 131
For over 45 years Tempo Plastics has delivered award winning, custom printed, made to order flexible packaging. With full graphic capabilities, state-of-the-art HD flexographic printing presses and expanded 100,000-square-foot facility, our company is GFSI HACCP compliant and ISO 9001 certified. Tempoplastics.com | Booth #131
THOMAS FRESH Thomas Fresh is Western Canada’s premium fresh packer. We supply high-quality Asian, organic and conventional produce from established farms. Our delicious potatoes have a fresh new look! Thomasfresh.com | Booth # 931
VILLAGE FARMS Our expanded, top-seal selection offers the opportunity to stack products and potentially increase ACV. Top-seal packaging offers a tamper-proof seal along with other aspects that are important to consumers. Villagefarms.com | Booth # 1621
YERECIC LABEL VEGPRO INTERNATIONAL INC. New chopped salad kits portioned in smallersize packs to meet demand for healthier options. At home or on-the-go, these are ideal to satisfy cravings or to brighten up a meal. Attitudefraiche.com | Booth # 601
WINDSET FARMS Windset Farms® introduces its new TRIO Snack Pack, a healthy on-the-go snack! This re-sealable pack contains Cocktail Cucumbers, Mini Peppers and Tomato Ensemble – full of flavour, nutrition and under 100 calories! Windsetfarms.com | Booth # 1127
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
FlagTag! is perfect for the produce and floral department where eye-catching displays are the top drivers of impulse purchases (Power of Produce, 2016). YLFresh.com Booth # 1139
Now even more to love in Canada ...
831.751.3800 • GreenGiantFresh.com
Green Giant, the Green Giant character, Sprout, and associated words and designs are Trademarks of B&G Foods North America, Inc.—used under license. ©2017 B&G Foods North America, Inc. Box Tops for Education and associated words and designs are trademarks of General Mills, used under license. ©General Mills Cauliflower Crumbles® is a registered trademark of Growers Express, LLC.
By Danny Kucharsky
From okra to bananas to papayas, Canadian growers are proving that exotic produce, once reserved for warmer climes, can be grown successfully in decidedly nontropical Canada. Not only does increasing the production of locally grown tropical produce provide farmers alternatives to more conventional crops but, as Canada’s ethnic population grows, the availability of this produce may be highly lucrative to retailers. Here’s a look at some of the exotic produce being grown right here in Canada.
Okra: a niche market More than 70% of the world’s okra crop comes from India, with the rest grown in the Middle East, Africa, the southern United States and the Caribbean. Though Canada imports more than six million kilograms of okra annually, according to Statistics Canada figures, the country’s growing about 24 hectares of okra, too. “Okra does really well here despite the fact that it’s a sub-tropical crop,” says Viliam Zvalo, a research scientist in vegetable production at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Vineland, Ont. “Our summers are warm enough, especially in southern Ontario, southern Quebec and B.C.” The centre is conducting research on optimizing the production of okra in Canada. The key to locally grown okra is in short-season hybrid varieties that can be grown between May and September. Yes, it’s more expensive to produce okra in Canada compared to the low labour costs of India, but efficient use of drip irrigation and black plastic mulch–covered fields (to retain heat) can April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
make it competitive. Zvalo says the biggest challenge in okra farming is finding enough experienced labour. “Okra needs to be harvested every day. If you let it grow too far, it becomes hard and unmarketable.” Zvalo notes that a 2015 study by Quebec’s Agriculture Department found that a small okra farm can produce a net profit of about $18,000 per hectare—that’s in range of what growers like to see. “You’re not going to have a mass amount of growers in Canada, but there are growers who have found the niche.” Although quantities are limited, Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro all sourced Canadian-grown okra last year, and Zvalo says produce managers were happy with the product. “They really had good feedback on Canadian-grown okra,” he says. “It tends to be fresher than ‘beaten-up’ imported okra.”
Canada Banana Farms
with bowed ribs of PVC piping covered in stretched plastic), to help replicate the jungle-like conditions the produce needs to flourish. The company plans to expand its number of hoop houses this spring. Sold at outdoor markets in the summer and in food box programs in the winter, Canada Banana Farms produce attracts customers who drive from as far as Toronto (about two hours away) to pick up papayas, bananas and their leaves to make tea. The farm also sells to several grocery stores and plans to ink a few major contracts by the end of the year. Brake hopes other Canadian farmers will also start growing tropical produce. For him, it’s turned out to be a solid business venture. “You’re not going to make a million dollars in your first year but you’re going to make a real comfortable living at it.”
Growing produce in Nunavut
Children who live in Naujaat, Nunavut, call it the Green Igloo. More accurately a geodesic greenhouse dome, this “igloo” may hold the key to improving the quality of produce in the North and reducing sky-high prices. Growing North, an initiative that provides greenhouse-grown fresh produce to the North, is the brainchild of Ben Canning, 21, a Ryerson University student and Stefany Nieto, 22, a Ryerson graduate, as a way to help reduce the cost of food for northern Canadians. The geodesic growing dome comes from Growing Spaces, a Colorado dome builder, which is designed to withstand the high winds, snowdrift and extreme cold conditions of the Far North. “It’s almost like a tank of a greenhouse,” says Canning. Now a non-profit in Nunavut, Growing North has raised $280,000 for the project, including a $100,000 in-kind donation from Naujaat, a community of 1,350, in the form of a 25-year lease for the land that houses the greenhouse. Last year, Canning trained community members, who had little local knowledge of agriculture or horticulture, to maintain and run the greenhouse. This “test run” produced multiple harvests of fresh produce that were distributed to the community free of charge. “A lot of people were amazed at how different the food Children from Naujaat, Nunavut, tasted,” Canning says. “When they tried a fresh pose in front of the “Green Igloo” tomato, their eyes lit up.” with Ben Canning of Growing North. Since last May, vegetables such as kale, lettuce, broccoli, beans, snow peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, beets, potatoes and Swiss chard have been thriving in the greenhouse. And by 2019— once an off-the-grid heat and power system is installed—the goal is to have production yearround. This year, the focus is on kale. (Children and adults alike went crazy for kale chips, a healthy alternative to potato chips, made from the greenhouse kale crop). Growing North will hold bi-weekly farmers’ markets and is leaning toward signing a deal with the local Northern store co-op to supply produce at lower prices. For instance, a head of lettuce that now sells for $10 would cost only $5. “For a family that makes only $12,000 a year, those incremental differences really add up,” says Canning. Six other communities in Nunavut have expressed interest in obtaining greenhouses of their own. CG
Terry Brake hasn’t eaten a store-bought banana for years. Instead, he opts for bananas grown at the aptly named Canada Banana Farms in Blyth, Ont., which he manages. “They’re creamy and sweet,” he says of the bananas, which sell for 55 to 70 cents a pound, depending on the season. “And a lot of our customers say they don’t have that bitter aftertaste.” When a car accident left Brake unable to work, a doctor gave him a banana plant to take care of as part of his therapy. His success at growing the plant indoors gave him the idea to start a tropical produce farm. Brake and Canada Banana Farms’ investor and owner Laurie Macpherson launched the venture in 2010. But bananas aren’t the only things growing at Canada Banana Farms. Brake says it grows “pretty much everything tropical,” including three kinds of papayas, three varieties of mangos, limes, lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, guava, pineapple, lychee and avocado. The farm grows less exotic fare, too, such as tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli. Produce is grown year-round in four 100-by-30-ft. hoop houses (temporary structures with rigid frames often made
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
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BY DAY HELESIC
New Canadian Grocer research reveals that demand for ethnic foods is on the rise. Want to know what it takes to win in this complicated category? We asked a group of grocery experts and they answered: it all comes down to being authentic, knowing your customer and keeping it fresh 42
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
no surprise that Canada’s shifting demographics have had a major impact on grocery stores. As ethnicities become more diverse across the country, interest in ethnic food continues to grow. In a recent survey commissioned by SIAL Canada and Canadian Grocer, 83% of respondents who said their store carried ethnic foods said the percentage of the store dedicated to ethnic foods had increased over the past three years, and for more than a third, the increase had been “significant.” In the competitive business of selling groceries, catering to ethnic shoppers just makes sense. In fact, 90% of survey respondents agreed that selling ethnic food was a big opportunity to differentiate them from the competition, and
84% agreed that their stores had seen ethnic shoppers’ baskets grow as the selection of ethnic food increased. But it’s not just ethnic customers who are looking for multicultural foods— growth is coming from all demographics. More than half of the survey respondents said the sale of ethnic products was mostly driven by increased demand from both ethnic and non-ethnic shoppers. We discussed these findings and more with industry experts Salima Jivraj, managing director of Nourish Food Marketing and B.K. Sethi, founder and president of B.K. Sethi Marketing Ltd., as well as a number of grocers with expertise in the category: Reena Taheem, assistant product manager of multicultural, Loblaw; Frank Ho, senior vice-president, Nations Fresh Foods; Ravi Maharaj, category manager, ethnic fresh, Sobeys; and Chris Yu, category manager, Galleria Supermarket. Our experts talked about the demand for ethnic foods, the shoppers who buy them, and what’s next for the category.
PHOTO CREDIT SHUTTERSTOCK
market is growing a lot so we carry a full variety of ethnic snacks, which have diverse flavours and healthier ingredients than North American snacks.
RAVI MAHARAJ MAH
NATIONS FRESH FOODS
B.K. SETHI MARKETING LTD.
NOURISH FOOD MARKETING
WHAT’S CONTRIBUTING TO THE SURGE IN DEMAND FOR MULTICULTURAL FOODS?
Salima Jivraj: It definitely stems from increased immigration to Canada in the last 30-plus years, but it’s also driven by how we interact as a society as well. We are a very multicultural society—people are interested in not only their own foods, backgrounds, faiths and cultures, but they’re interested in their neighbour’s as well. It’s also interesting how small the world is getting. You can get recipes from around the world; you’re connecting with people from around the world. It’s not just about our own physical borders now; because of increased communications we have the world at our fingertips. B.K. Sethi: Over the past 25 years, the Canadian mainstream consumer has been travelling more. Thirty years ago, Canadians wouldn’t travel too far, but now they go to Jamaica, the Dominican, or to Hong Kong, and when they travel, they bring back those tastes. That creates demand for ethnic food. Ravi Maharaj: Restaurants, cooking shows and social media also play a very important part when it comes to grocery chains. The same people who are enjoying authentic dishes at ethnic restaurants are going to the grocery store
looking for the same ingredients. They want to replicate some of these meals at home. This is also increasing demand for ethnic foods in our grocery stores.
WHAT ARE THE KEY TRENDS YOU’RE SEEING IN THE CATEGORY?
Reena Taheem: The biggest trend we’re seeing is that our multicultural customers are looking for authentic flavours and products that give them a “little taste of home.” We’ve also noticed that several products that were once considered ethnic are now recognized as more mainstream. For example, you’ll now find taco kits and taco seasoning in the grocery aisles rather than the international aisle. Frank Ho: I think ethnic prepared foods are very important; the potential is just phenomenal. Also, fresh food will be key for all grocery stores. New immigrants want “instant” fresh food. They come from an environment where they buy groceries from the farmers’ market. Take meat, for example. They want to see the fresh meat cut in front of them; otherwise they don’t believe it’s fresh. Chris Yu: As an ethnic grocer, I’ve noticed that people in the North American market are snacking a lot, more than ever before, mostly because of their busy lifestyle, or because they don’t have time for full meals. We think the ethnic snack
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO KNOW THE ETHNICITIES OF YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Maharaj: You absolutely need to understand who your customer is. If you don’t, you could end up putting out a product mix that is completely off. It’s imperative that grocers do research on their customers: knowing their habits, how many times a week they shop, if they participate in family shopping. You have to understand your customer’s lifestyle. Taheem: It’s extremely important that we know our customers and understand what they’re looking for. With this top of mind, we can work to ensure that the assortment in our stores reflects our customers’ needs. We cater to many different ethnicities; you’ll find that our assortment reflects the demographics of the community where the store is located. Jivraj: What we’re noticing in the halal industry is that there’s a generational handoff happening. People who are first and second generation Canadians who happen to be Muslim and abide by a halal lifestyle don’t necessarily want the same things that their parents of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent want. The younger generation is experiencing a disconnect. Their parents may be going to traditional halal meat stores but it may not meet their needs, so they might look for alternatives like national grocery stores or big box stores. To get a real understanding, it’s important to know how multicultural groups fit in socio-economically.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE BEST AREAS OF INVESTMENT?
Sethi: I think ready-to-eat is a great area of investment. Today’s consumer is becoming very convenience-oriented. They don’t have a lot of time to shop and, even though they want to prepare ethnic foods, they can’t do it every day— maybe only once or twice a week. The rest of the time they want ethnic foods April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST THING YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT THE ETHNIC FOODS SHOPPER?
M a h a r a j : The ethnic consumer is looking for not only the best quality produce but also a very competitive retail price. If you have product that is cheap but it’s not fresh, you’re not going to get that ethnic consumer. There’s so much cooking involved; the ethnic shopper needs to replenish, coming back three or four times a week for fresh produce. If you have a really good deal as an opening special, family members will call each other. Word of mouth is probably the best advertising for the ethnic consumer. Taheem: I’ve learned that there are so many degrees of diversity. For example, when you look at South Asian customers, you have to understand that different cultures and religions make up this group and that each subgroup shops differently. There’s also a difference in how each generation shops. My mom shops differently than I do and her mom, my grandmother, shops completely differently than both of us.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPING THE CATEGORY?
Sethi: The biggest challenge retailers face is to understand your customer within your market area. The ethnic consumer is looking for authentic and, if possible, branded products. Another challenge is sourcing—getting the right
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
supplier who can provide consistent quality and pricing. To develop the ethnic category you need to partner with your suppliers and educate them on the kind of customer you’re serving. Taheem: It’s sometimes a challenge to source authentic product in the quantities we need to service our store network. At Loblaw, we have a dedicated multicultural sourcing team that is made up of people with varying ethnic backgrounds. For example, our sourcing managers for our East Asian and South Asian assortment are East Asian and South Asian. They understand the culture and the shopping habits of customers from those backgrounds. Maharaj: One of the challenges, from a staff perspective, is training everyone to understand the products you’re selling. If your staff is engaged and if they understand your product assortment, they’ll be better sellers on the front line. For example, the staff needs to understand when to take the product off and when to keep it on.
SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS Commissioned by Canadian Grocer and SIAL Canada, Research+Knowledge=Insights surveyed grocery retailers about the multicultural space. Research showed that the most prevalent types of ethnic foods carried are Chinese, South Asian, Southern European and Japanese, and that consumer demand is driving the expansion of the category. Yes Chose not to respond
ARE THERE ETHNIC COMMUNITIES THAT TEND TO SHOP AT YOUR STORE?
HOW DO YOU GET TO KNOW YOUR MULTICULTURAL CUSTOMERS BETTER?
Jivraj: I think it’s as simple as speaking to them. Surveys and investigating the neighbourhood are great ideas, but so many important insights can be missed. Having candid conversations on a regular basis helps retailers understand their customers’ needs. Sethi: Research on ethnic consumers’ buying and consumption behaviour helps retailers understand their customer. Getting involved in community events helps grocers understand consumption behaviours based on cultural, social and religious preferences. Ho: First, we identify our customers’ nationalities. We study the demographic chart of the trade area, we check the student demographics at neighbouring schools and we actively observe the store to identify the core ethnicities. We also chat with our customers to get a better understanding of what they need.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ETHNIC FOODS?
Sethi: The South Asian foods category is the fastest-growing category, followed
13% ETHNIC FOOD SELECTION IN STORES SHOULD BE TAILORED TO THE ETHNIC MAKEUP OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OR CITY AND NOT ON A “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” SOLUTION.
94 6 Agree
This survey was conducted for Canadian Grocer by Research+Knowledge=Insights in January and February 2017. There were 80 respondents.
that are ready to eat. If grocers can offer consumers authentic taste in prepared products, that’s where the growth will be in the category. Yu: We’re focusing on sauces for our ethnic customers; it’s one of our biggest categories. Another category we’ve invested in is prepackaged food. We’ve done a survey looking at how our customer base has changed over the past three years. We found that the number of transactions by Chinese and other non-Korean customers has almost doubled. We’ve changed our strategy to look for more opportunities in prepared foods and products that our non-Korean customers will enjoy.
WHY DOES YOUR STORE CARRY ETHNIC FOODS?
56% 45% 27%
Customers in my area are from those particular ethnic groups and want them/We’re primarily a market serving ethnic communities
We’ve seen a lot of interest from ethnic and nonethnic consumers in ethnic products
Non-ethnic customers in my area are interested in trying new types of food/cooking
Certain ethnic foods are trendy right now
WHAT FACTORS IMPACT YOUR SELECTION OF WHAT ETHNIC ITEMS TO STOCK?
Access to distributors/ wholesalers
With similar ethnic products (e.g. Ethnics Foods Aisle)
Products from a specific country of origin/specific ethnic producer
In regular promotional materials and on special occasions
47% WHAT COULD RETAILERS BE DOING BETTER IN THE CATEGORY?
Don’t know/ Not certain
3% IN GENERAL, DO YOU PLACE ETHNIC PRODUCTS…
WHEN DOES YOUR STORE PROMOTE ETHNIC PRODUCTS?
10% Depends on product
In a separate section
Only on special occasions (holidays, religious events, etc.)
In our regular promotional materials
WHAT TYPES OF ETHNIC FOODS DOES YOUR STORE TYPICALLY CARRY? (% of respondents carrying type of ethnic food) 78% Chinese 58% 44%
South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka)
Southern European (Italy, Spain, Portugal)
by the Chinese category. Together these groups add up to about 62% of the ethnic population in Canada. But we have to understand the diversity within diversity. In other words, not everyone in the Chinese category is Chinese, some are Malaysian, Thai and Taiwanese etc. South Asians include those from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. Mexican food is also becoming more popular. Ho: For us, we think we’ll see major growth in three categories: Middle Eastern, Filipino and East European. A lot of the immigrants are coming from these areas so this will be the next wave. Jivraj: We’re seeing halal HMR growing as a result of the foodservice industry. Bringing the restaurant experience into grocery is in demand. But one thing to note is that, yes, halal foods are predominantly South Asian and Middle Eastern, but halal is not necessarily an ethnicity in itself; it spans across every ethnicity. It’s hard to say what the next trend is going to be, but I definitely see that seeking out that diversity within different groups will be important. Taheem: With the growing Muslim population in Canada, there’s a need for a larger variety of halal food that goes beyond meat to include other categories like halal snacks, desserts and candies. The biggest opportunity I see is offering these customers convenient and healthy halal options.
34% Middle Eastern/Arab 34%
Western European (U.K., Ireland, Germany, France)
16% Balkan (Greece, Serbia etc.) 11% African 10% First Nations/Inuit/Metis
26% Latin American/Central America
8% North African
36% Caribbean/West Indies
23% Central Asia/Persian
Eastern European (Poland, Hungary, Russia, etc.)
9% None of the above
Sethi: If you really want to grow your ethnic category, make a bold statement. Try to provide ethnic products in all the departments, including fresh, meat, deli, dairy and grocery. Do your own homework, understand the products, and offer shoppers the authentic brands and products they need. Jivraj: If your store’s focus is on your ethnic consumer, focus on high quality fresh produce, competitive pricing, offer a selection of larger pack sizes to reflect larger household sizes and multigenerational families, and acknowledge special occasions and religious events. Ho: Retailers need to have an open mind and respect and appreciate cultural differences. Food is not just food. Food is culture and art. Food is entertainment and excitement. The differences in food culture are the most exciting. CG April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
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Stroll more Aisles: 47 The evolution of chocolate 49 Cupcake girl launches premium ice cream 49 New healthy products
AISLES Products, store ops, customers, trends
SETTING THE BAR HIGH Consumer tastes are changing—and so are grocers’ chocolate assortments By Shellee Fitzgerald
CHOCOLATE AT THE GROCERY STORE isn’t what
it used be. When you look beyond the Snickers and Kit Kats, there’s a whole other world of chocolate that has emerged. Tapping into consumers’ desire for premium products, this chocolate offers something a little different. The premium trend isn’t unique to chocolate; it’s happening all over the store. The coffee aisle, once the domain of family-sized tubs of ground beans and little else, has expanded to include a wide array of coffee from small-batch producers with catchy names and punchy packaging. Likewise, the deli department is serving up artisan cheeses and premium charcuterie options, while deep in the centre aisles, new kale and bean chips sit alongside traditional salty snacks and there’s an ever-growing selection of oils and vinegars. What’s brought about this change in appetite? “Our palates are evolving—we’re not afraid to try different foods,” says Tony Lancia, category manager at the Toronto grocery chain, Longo’s. “Consumers are looking for higher quality products that are unique.” Dominique Jacobson, vice-president of sales and marketing at Dovetail April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
CHECK OUT THIS CHOCOLATE!
GROWN UP CHOCOLATE COMPANY
BLUE PLANET CHOCOLATE
“Not for little monsters,” this company’s bars are reimagined for grownups. As part of its “Delicious Mission,” the company has unleashed decadent flavours including Dark Chocolate Smoothy and Glorious Coconut Hocus Pocus.
Blue Planet Chocolate founder Joel Fink spent years developing this line of Superfood Chocolate Squares, which combine quality, smooth dark chocolate with good stuff like chia, blueberries and baobab.
While the Rio Caribe Gold flavour kicked things off, Willie’s line of bean-to-bar chocolate has expanded to include a range of dark bars such as Sea Flakes and Milk of the Stars.
Made with responsibly sourced ingredients, Canadian chocolate brand Camino now boasts 14 bars. Intensely Dark and Salted Caramel Crunch are the latest additions.
Collections, a specialty foods distributor, agrees and adds that consumers’ relationship to chocolate, specifically, is changing. “Chocolate is now a more refined, adult luxury. Five or 10 years ago you wouldn’t hear people say, ‘I like a 70% or higher or I like only 80%,’” she says, referring to the cacao rates typically stamped on the labels of premium dark chocolate bars. “They’re really honing in on their preferences.” At Longo’s, it’s the premium or specialty chocolate offerings that set it apart from the competition. Lancia says great care is taken to enrich the assortment with items from small-scale manufacturers and artisan producers. “It’s an opportunity for them to develop their brands and for us to differentiate ourselves as retailers by bringing in those premium segments.” Lancia is particularly excited to bring The Grown Up Chocolate Company bars into Longo’s chocolate mix. The U.K. company describes its chocolate as reminiscent of the bars consumers ate as children but “reimagined for grownups only” with flavours like Dark Chocolate Smoothy and Superb Salted Peanut Caramel. “It’s one of those diamonds in the rough that I came across and brought in on a whim, and it’s been fantastic,” he says. “Yes, it’s expensive, but the quality is there and I think that’s what people are understanding; they know they’re getting value for the money.” The good news for the category, says
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
Kairen Wu, Lindt & Sprüngli Canada’s senior director of marketing, is that consumers tend to be looser with their wallets when it comes to buying premium chocolate, even in challenging economic times. They might not be able to afford that Mercedes they covet, but a $4 or $5 bar of chocolate can be justified as an affordable indulgence. Aside from pure indulgence, consumers also gravitate to premium choco late for its virtuous qualities. Though it’s a stretch to call chocolate a healthy food—despite persistent headlines suggesting that it is—some premium chocolate offers more options to consumers who have particular health or dietary concerns. Ritter Sport, for instance, has launched a vegan chocolate bar in Germany and Blue Planet Chocolate’s Superfood Chocolate Squares, which are packed with probiotics, recently debuted at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Eating too much sugar is also a concern for many consumers, but bean-to-bar chocolate producer Willie Harcourt-Cooze, founder of the Willie’s Cacao brand, contends that real chocolate isn’t the sugar-laden product consumers have become accustomed to in mainstream confectionery. A purist, he says too much sugar masks the flavour of the chocolate and when you’re using
high quality ingredients, as he does, you don’t need a lot. “We’re having to re-educate consumers about chocolate, that it isn’t this sweet thing.” Camino, the chocolate brand from Ottawa-based La Siembra Co-operative, also offers something for the growing number of conscious consumers. Everything the co-operative produces is certified fair trade and organic. Isabel Martins, the co-operative’s manager of sales and distribution, says consumers are “looking for better food solutions.” Since its inception in a church basement 18 years ago, La Siembra has been making goodies, starting with hot chocolate and expanding to a line of 14 bars as well as Cuisine Camino, a range of clean, allergen-free chocolate baking products. According to Euromonitor’s Chocolate Confectionery in Canada 2016 report, demand for organic chocolate is set to grow. The market research firm says that, as organic food becomes more of a fixture in consumers’ lives, organic chocolate will find a place alongside organic milk, cheese and produce purchases. Though still a small slice of the $1.64-billion retail chocolate category in Canada, specialty chocolate offers grocers a point of differentiation and a way to meet changing needs. As Longo’s Lancia says, “As consumers’ tastes are expanding, so are we.”
AISLES Ice cream
JUST DESSERTS Vancouver entrepreneur Lori Joyce tackles the freezer aisle with new ice cream brand, Betterwith By Chris Powell
LORI JOYCE RECEIVED A CHILLY RESPONSE when she pitched a national grocery chain her idea for a premium, high-fat ice cream made with traceable cream and zero preservatives. “When I first met with them, they said, ‘What makes you think you can go up against someone like Nestlé? They own the category and they’ll bleed you dry with the marketing dollars they’re going to put into it,’” she recalls. The entrepreneur’s reaction was instant. “You obviously don’t know me,” she said at the time. “I love that you told me that. My goal is to be the staple ice cream that’s in everybody’s freezer.” Joyce, who, in 2002, co-founded the successful B.C. retail chain, Cupcakes, and co-starred in the Gemini Award–winning series Cupcake Girls, is confident Betterwith Ice Cream can go cone-to-cone with leading premium ice cream brands. She
believes the category is ready for a strong challenger brand. “There’s been disruption in every other category except for this one. I’m a disruptor, and I felt it needed it.” Betterwith was originally conceived as an in-store brand for Cupcakes (as in cupcakes go better with ice cream), but Joyce quickly realized she would need to produce a minimum of 60,000 pints of ice cream to make it financially viable. “When I did the math, I realized I needed to get some big accounts,” she says. “I needed to get into grocery fast.” Joyce hired Vancouver agency 123w to oversee branding and design and, this past December, she launched Betterwith in Whole Foods and Choices Markets in the West, and on online grocery site Spud.ca. To date, she’s invested around $400,000 into the launch. With any luck, the investment will pay off. But Betterwith enters a market that has cooled over the past decade. The Canadian Dairy Information Centre (CDIC) says annual consumption of ice cream fell from 9.85L per person in 2005 to 4.79L per person in 2015, largely due to consumers’ desire for less fattening treats and a lack of innovation in the category. Joyce says Betterwith is the only preservative-free ice cream and is made with traceable milk sourced from the family-owned Lavender Farm in Abbotsford, B.C. Betterwith’s butterfat content is between 16% and 18% higher than mainstream ice cream brands, positioning it as an indulgence item. For Joyce, quality and traditional flavours trump trendiness. There’s been a surge in what she calls “funky” flavours catering to millennial consumers, but she’s targeting a different demographic: kids and adults aged 55 and older, the leading consumers of ice cream. At the moment, Betterwith is available in six flavours (cream, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, caramel and coffee) and Joyce plans to add six more “old school” flavours this year. Currently, she’s producing about 3,000 cases per month, and is aiming for sales of $1 million in the brand’s first year. Joyce envisions the brand expanding into other food categories but, for now, she’s building a foundation—in ice cream—on home turf. “As much as I want to play with the big guys, I absolutely keep my feet on the ground,” she says. “I want to stay local as long as possible.” CG
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Danone Canada’s OIKOS SuperGrains pairs Greek yogurt with quinoa, chia, buckwheat and flaxseed for a nutritious, protein-packed snack. There’s a flavour for everyone: mixed berries, peach, mango and cranberry-orange. April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
DOLLAR DAYS Thought Canada’s grocers had enough competition? Add another to the list—dollar stores NO ONE IN TODAY’S CANADIAN GROCERY industry would deny that competition for the consumer dollar is more intense than ever. Supermarkets are battling each other with lower price offers and price matching while mass merchan di sers, warehouse clubs, along with drugstores’ food offerings, continue to encroach on grocery territory. Traditional grocery store market share in Canada is estimated at 78%, down from 84% in 2010. Market share has also been impacted by home delivery (still small but growing) and, of course, Amazon. To compete, a number of Canadian grocers have begun click-and-collect programs, where customers order online and then pick up their items at a convenient location. But there is another area of competition that, for the most part, is running under analysts’ radars, and is growing fast: dollar
April/May 2017 Canadian Grocer
stores. These outlets continue to build their customer base, fuelled by consumers’ desire to get the best possible price. According to Nielsen, three quarters of Canadian households shop at dollar stores and the channel now accounts for $1.7 billion in CPG sales. There are five dollar stores in my Toronto neighbourhood, the parking lots of which often hold Lexuses and Cadillacs as well as the 10-year-old Toyotas and Hondas. Today’s dollar stores attract a wide range of shoppers from those on a limited income trying to stretch a buck to parents seeking stuffings for birthday loot bags to teachers who are sourcing school supplies. The two largest dollar store companies in Canada are Dollarama (around 1,070 locations across the country) and U.S.-owned Dollar Tree (around 230 locations). Then
DOLLAR STORES CONTINUE TO BUILD CUSTOMER BASE, FUELLED BY CANADIANS’ DESIRE TO GET THE BEST POSSIBLE PRICE George Condon is Canadian Grocer’s consulting editor. He’s based in Toronto. firstname.lastname@example.org
there’s Great Canadian Dollar Store and Your Dollar Store With More, both headquartered in British Columbia, with approximately 110 and 120 stores, respectively. Ontario’s Buck or Two Extreme Retail has more than 50 stores and, of course, there are a number of single- and two-unit locations in various Canadian centres. CIBC Capital Markets estimates the number of dollar stores (for chains with 50 or more stores) increased by 6% in the past year and that their compound annual growth rate was 8% over the past four years. Compared to the United States, Canada’s penetration of dollar stores is underdeveloped; there’s room for at least 1,000 more stores. Though national brand penetration in dollar stores is relatively new here, the sector’s growth has led to a number of brand manufacturers offering smaller sizes just to meet dollar store price points. This practice often extends beyond food products to include general merchandise items. Some dollar stores, such as Dollarama, carry a combination of house and national brands at different prices to provide its customers with choice and value options. Most dollar stores in Canada are planning to increase their store counts, convinced they have room to continue to grow sales. Perhaps the only barrier to opening new dollar stores is the lack of real estate in Canada’s urban centres, which may lead some retailers to set up shop in defunct and abandoned stores. Surprisingly, Canada’s traditional grocers are still managing to increase (though only slightly) their sales despite the competition. The result of astute operations and careful watch over margins, let’s hope their success is ongoing! CG
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