Page 1




JUNE 2017








CONTENTS June 2017 Volume 131 Number 4 FEATURES


5 Front Desk 21 Eating in Canada 46 Checking Out STORE OF THE MONTH

6 Fresh St. Market

Fresh St.’s third location in Surrey, B.C., attracts families and foodies with its focus on fresh


10 Vikram Vij

The celebrity chef talks Indian food, cooking for Tom Cruise and his push into grocery

12 The Buzz IDEAS

15 Planet-friendly produce Sustainably grown produce could be your next differentiator

17 Secrets to success Tips from Vince’s Market’s Giancarlo Trimarchi

18 Open for business

GOURMET GROCERS 22 More and more grocers are attracting customers with restaurantquality ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat meals

SCHOOL’S IN 26 Parents are seeking healthy packaged snacks for their kids. Retailers and manufacturers are listening

Costco caters to the retail, restaurant and office crowd with its new store


41 The scoop on frozen desserts

What’s going on in this cool category? Lots of innovation

43 Got your goat?

Consumers are going crazy for goat products. Find out why


The buzz about bone broth

FIGHTING FOOD FRAUD 28 A look at the tools that can help grocers mitigate the risk of food fraud

FOLLOW US ON @CanadianGrocer Canadian Grocer Magazine



33 Introducing the Retail Council of Canada’s 2016 new product finalists June 2017 Canadian Grocer


September 21, 2017 The International Centre 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON 7:30 - 10:30 AM

FOR FULL DETAILS VISIT www.CanadianGrocer.com/microsite/starwomen

June 2017


Volume 131 Number 4 GROUP PUBLISHER Jennifer Litterick jlitterick@ensembleiq.com

VICE PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR, EVENTS & MARKETING Michael Cronin mcronin@ensembleiq.com

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Lina Trunina ltrunina@ensembleiq.com

WEB OPERATIONS MANAGER Valerie White vwhite@ensembleiq.com

EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Shellee Fitzgerald sfitzgerald@ensembleiq.com

MANAGING EDITOR Day Helesic dhelesic@ensembleiq.com

ONLINE EDITOR Kristin Laird klaird@ensembleiq.com

CONSULTING EDITOR George H. Condon condug@sympatico.ca


PRODUCTION MANAGER Michael Kimpton mkimpton@ensembleiq.com

ART DIRECTOR Glenn Taylor gtaylor@ensembleiq.com

SENIOR DESIGNER Josephine Woertman



SALES SENIOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Vanessa Peters vpeters@ensembleiq.com

DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS David Wood dwood@ensembleiq.com

ACCOUNT MANAGER Jacquie Rankin jrankin@ensembleiq.com

SALES, SPECIAL REPORTS Michelle Iliescu miliescu@ensembleiq.com 1-877-261-6636

SUBSCRIPTION / ADDRESS CHANGE Email: grocer@halldata.com Phone: 1-844-246-3190 Online: www.canadiangrocer.com/subscription

LICENSING AND REPRINTS Please contact Wright’s Media ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com 1-877-652-5295

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

MAIL PREFERENCES: From time to time other organizations may ask Canadian Grocer if they may send information about a product or service to some Canadian Grocer subscribers, by mail or email. If you do not wish to receive these messages, contact us in any of the ways listed above. Contents Copyright © 2017 by Stagnito Partners Canada Inc., may not be reprinted without permission. Canadian Grocer receives unsolicited materials (including letters to the editor, press releases, promotional items and images) from time to time. Canadian Grocer, its affiliates and assignees may use, reproduce, publish, republish, distribute, store and archive such submissions in whole or in part in any form or medium whatsoever, without compensation of any sort. ISSN# 0008-3704 PM 42940023 Canadian Grocer is Published by Stagnito Partners Canada Inc., 2300 Yonge Street, Ste. 1510, Toronto, Ontario, M4P 1E4.


Printed in Canada at Transcontinental.

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

A MATTER OF CHOICE Is giving a consumer too much choice a bad thing? RECENTLY, A STUDY APPEARING in the Journal of Consumer Psychology challenged the notion that there are negatives to giving consumers too many options. For years, a chorus of researchers along with a popular book, The Paradox of Choice (2004), by psychologist Barry Schwartz, have promoted the belief that too many choices overwhelm us and leave us dissatisfied. So much so that when confronted with a wall of competing products we may abandon the idea of making a purchase at all. In a widely publicized move a few years back, Tesco culled about one-third of its products. Its offering had swelled to 90,000 SKUs, which included nearly 100 rice options and 28 types of ketchup. The retailer said one of the reasons for the cuts was to simplify the shopping experience. Those who dispute “choice

NEW AND UNIQUE ITEMS OFFER RETAILERS A POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION FROM THEIR COMPETITORS overload,” including the researchers of the study (The Positive Effect of Assortment Size on Purchase Likelihood), contend that consumers prefer more choices over fewer. After all, would Starbucks be as popular if it didn’t have infinite customizable beverage options? Perhaps the answer for retailers isn’t about the number of choices offered but giving shoppers better and more compelling choices. New products are the lifeblood of the grocery store and unique items offer retailers a point of differentiation. And any advantage in today’s marketplace is worth pursuing.

The pages of this issue are packed with stories about providing consumers with choices. At Fresh St. Market (Store of the Month, page 6), Mark McCurdy, VP of H.Y. Louie’s retail division, explains the company’s goal of giving its customers more fresh choices. At its newest store it has even reversed the conventional product assortment formula of 60% grocery, 40% fresh to get there. Our frozen dessert report (page 41) looks at how manufacturers are serving up new choices for consumers with dietary restrictions. And we’ve also rounded up the finalists of the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards (page 33), which celebrate the best in innovation. Cheers to choice!

Shellee Fitzgerald

Executive Editor sfitzgerald@ensembleiq.com June 2017 Canadian Grocer


The Facts Location Surrey, B.C. Number of Employees Close to 100 Size 24,500 sq. ft. Specialties “Centre of the plate” fresh food


June 2017 Canadian Grocer


Fresh First Fresh St. Market in Surrey, B.C., puts fresh food front and centre By Tom Zillich Photography by Lucas Finlay

June 2017 Canadian Grocer


YOU KNOW THOSE WONDERFUL AROMAS that tickle the nose when you walk into a public market, like the bustling one at Vancouver’s Granville Island? The smell of warm bread, simmering soups, cut flowers and sweet strawberries—well, those are exactly the aromas that greet you at Fresh St. Market in Surrey, B.C. Fresh St.’s third location is in the heart of Surrey’s fast-growing Panorama neighbourhood. Since opening in the summer of 2016, Fresh St. Market has attracted families and foodies alike. When customers come in and ask themselves, “What’s for dinner tonight?” Fresh St. staff is ready with an answer. Gary Sorenson, H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd.’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer, has led a move to close the company’s wholesale business to concentrate on retail operations. The Fresh St. banner is his baby. Sorenson and his team began brainstorming Fresh St.’s store concept five years ago, after being inspired by a visit to the Whole Foods Market’s flagship location and Central Market in Austin, Texas. Fresh pork ribs, certified Angus beef, stuffed lobster tail and British Columbia–grown peppers are the kind of “centre of the plate” foods Sorenson finds exciting. At Fresh St., packaged pasta, canned corn and other dry goods are moved to side aisles to make way for fresh food, which is the focus in the centre of the store. “It’s not that we don’t pay attention to the traditional centre-store items,” says Sorenson, “but we’re not going to try to compete with Real Canadian Superstore or Save-On or Walmart, though we aim to remain competitive and price those goods properly.” In the heart of the market are ready-to-eat meals that include warm curries, build-your-own sandwiches and sushi. Nearby, the bakery tempts with softball-sized cinnamon buns and loaves of Rustic Cheddar Asiago bread, and departments such as the Highway 10 Deli and Howe Sound Seafood Co. buzz with customers. The adjacent produce department features a rainbow of fresh offerings, many of them locally grown on nearby Fraser Valley farms. “A traditional grocery store will have about 60% dry goods and 40% fresh, and we’ve flipped that ratio,” notes Mark McCurdy, the company’s vice-president of retail development. “We try to concentrate more on the pure food shop and try not to bring in too many items that don’t relate to food.” At the Panorama location, the layout allows customers to see the entire store when they walk through the doors, which is a departure from its sister markets in West Vancouver and in the Fleetwood area of Surrey. “When we go into development, if we can dictate the shape of the store that includes lower-profile grocery shelving, that’s the layout we’re going for in the future,” says Sorenson. Coming soon to Fresh St. Market at Panorama is the retail chain’s click-and-collect refrigerated locker system, a $3.99 service that allows customers to order groceries online and, once items are ready for pickup, visit the store, punch in a direct-messaged code on a locker and retrieve groceries. “That ecommerce side of the business is a growth area nobody can ignore,” Sorenson says. “We’re certainly jumping in with both feet.” CG


June 2017 Canadian Grocer



GARY SORENSON, THE EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT AND COO OF H.Y. LOUIE CO. LTD., ON WHAT MAKES A GREAT EMPLOYEE AND HIS BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN BUSINESS. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN EMPLOYEES? We try to hire for attitude and train for talent, and that’s something we talk about all the time. First and foremost, you have to hire people with the right attitude, and then you teach them the skills required for the job. We’re looking for enthusiastic employees who like food and enjoy interacting with customers—that’s the key.

NOW THAT’S A VIEW Shoppers can see the entire Fresh St. Market store layout right from the entrance.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS? I’m a true blue Western Canadian kid, so beef is a big part of my diet. I love the fresh beef we have at Fresh St. Market. The triple-A Angus program is in the top 3–5% of the top beef available in Canada; it’s a great product. I’m excited about all the foods our directors find and bring into our stores. The journey of discovery is what we get, week in and week out. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? The real estate side of the business is extremely competitive; finding suitable locations in Greater Vancouver is a challenge. We’re all bidding for the same spots as they come up so it’s a challenge to find good locations to grow the banner. But, we’ve got a number of irons in the fire and hopefully we’ll announce another couple of locations soon.

June 2017 Canadian Grocer


PEOPLE Who you need to know

The Facts Who Vikram Vij Position Celebrity chef, restaurateur and manufacturer What’s New? Two soon-to-beannounced product lines for grocery


June 2017 Canadian Grocer


SPICE KING Vikram Vij is seeking to match his restaurant success at the grocery store By Raizel Robin Photography by Adam Blasberg

VIKRAM VIJ SOUNDS A LITTLE tired over the phone. It’s no wonder: somewhere between running his four restaurants, overseeing a 28,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility, launching a new line of frozen meals and releasing an autobiography (Vij: A Chef’s One-way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase), the Vancouver celebrity chef has just returned from a trip to Delhi. The purpose of the dizzyingly quick trip—he flew there and back in 24 hours—was to taste the new meal he had developed for Air Canada, which is being served on its flights to India. He wanted to eat the food exactly as it was served: at 37,000 feet. “I needed to experience the whole flight,” says Vij. “Was there too much or too little food? How was my stomach feeling when I got to Delhi? What was missing? At altitude, your palate is completely different than when you’re on the ground.” He came away enlightened; he has plans to add more olive oil and spices to the meal, and maybe some yogurt as well. It’s that tight quality control and obsessive attention to detail that have helped Vij’s food stand out. Starting out in the kitchens of an Austrian ski resort and later at the Banff Springs Hotel, Vij dreamed of opening a restaurant that served the Indian cuisine he grew up on but with an approach that was more fine dining. Presenting Indian food is tough,” he says. “It’s brown, browner and brownish. I wanted proper service and stemware.” By 1994, he opened Vij’s, a 16-seat restaurant in Vancouver. Fast forward 10 years, the restaurant, at a roomier location, was beloved for its vibrant take on Indian food. His cooking attracted many visiting celebrities including Pierre Trudeau, Martha Stewart and Tom Cruise. Vij himself, a gregarious host and restaurateur, had also become

famous in the foodie community. In 2004, when local independent grocer Stong’s Market approached him to develop a line of prepared curries, he was ready to take the leap into grocery. Vij opened another restaurant, Rangoli, and used it to test the product line over the next three years. He broke ground for his manufacturing facility in 2007, a 28,000-sq.-ft. factory in South Surrey, B.C. All the while he continued to build his brand,


VIKRAM VIJ ON COOKING FOR MARTHA STEWART I made a chutney with mint, mango and cilantro. But I wanted to throw her a curveball so I added green mangoes to it. I gave it to her and said, “Tell me what you think it is.” And she said, “What I really taste here is this green mango.” I was floored. I had so much respect for her; she really knows her ingredients.

ON COOKING FOR TOM CRUISE He was on a diet. I cooked him daal, vegetables and naan and he was happy with it. But it was Katie Holmes [Cruise’s former wife] who really enjoyed my food.

ON HIS FAVOURITE CUISINE, ASIDE FROM INDIAN We’re lucky to live in a country where we have so many cuisines to choose from. Korean, Chinese, Italian—we have a diverse, beautiful country.

ON HIS FAVOURITE VEGETABLE TO COOK WITH Red wine grapes. [Laughs.] I usually have a couple of glasses when I’m cooking. At least, if not a bottle!

publishing two cookbooks, joining CBC’s reality show, Dragons’ Den and making regular media appearances. Soon enough, he had secured orders from 20 more stores. The biggest challenge of moving into retail was learning how to cook on a large scale. “Cooking in a restaurant is somewhat whimsical,” says Vij. “Being a manufacturer is an exact science.” He went from boiling chickpeas in stockpots to boiling them in 568-litre kettles. And when mistakes happened, they were costly. For six and a half years, the factory suffered losses of up to $50,000 per month. Even for an entrepreneur whose cooking empire is worth about $50 million, it was no small drop in the bucket. Today, the Vij’s At Home brand is available in grocery stores across the country. The line of prepared Indian foods includes Coconut Beef Curry, Saag & Paneer, Curried Chickpeas and bagged, frozen Indian meals—more than a dozen SKUs in total, each retailing for less than $10. Profitability, says Vij, is “just around the corner.” The facility’s revenue has grown a whopping 37% in the past year. Not only that, Vij is set to release two new product lines for grocery in May. With 17 SKUs plus the foodservice lines, the number of people Vij is feeding has grown exponentially. At his factory, however, everything is still made by hand. His 24 employees chop and cook the tomatoes and onions, and his spices are roasted and ground by hand. “It’s like a giant kitchen,” he says. Vij continues to take great pride in his modern twist on traditional Indian food, and that means his personal touch is never compromised. “When you come to my house,” he says of his cooking style, “I want you to eat Vij’s food, not just Indian food.” CG June 2017 Canadian Grocer


THE BUZZ The latest news in the grocery biz

Minister Leal with Food Basics’ Gary Spencer at the Retailer Awards; Whole Foods Leaside

The Longo family

COMINGS AND GOINGS Crossmark named industry veteran Mark Ayer senior vice-president of customer development in April. Empire Company Limited has announced an initiative intended to save $500 million by the end of fiscal 2020. Michael Vels has been appointed chief financial officer and Clinton Keay has been named executive vice-president, technology. Jason Potter has been appointed executive vicepresident, operations; Lyne Castonguay has been named executive vice-president, merchandising; and Pierre St-Laurent has been appointed executive vice-president, Quebec. Both François Vimard and Yves Laverdière will retire, and Beth Newlands Campbell, who served as president for Atlantic/Ontario, will leave the organization in June.


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

OPENINGS Provigo Le Marché opened a new location in April. Established on the second floor of the prestigious L’Avenue condominium tower, the supermarket is across from the Bell Centre, the second bbusiest amphitheatre in North America. To Toronto’s Leaside neighbbourhood has a new Whole Foods Market. W The retailer opened a Th st store at 1860 Bayview AAve. this spring. C Costco opened its fifirst Costco Business C Centre in Scarborough, O Ont., in late March, ca catering to retailers, re restaurants and offices.

AWARDS Anthony Longo, president and CEO of Longo Brothers Fruit Markets along with the entire Longo family will receive the Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) Canadian Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award at the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards gala in Toronto on May 31. The RCC has also named Clint Mahlman, executive vice-president and chief operating officer at London Drugs its Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year. In April, Foodland Ontario celebrated grocery retailers at the 2017 Retailer Awards in Toronto. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal personally awarded three Vision Awards, recognizing grocery head offices for their corporate commitment to local foods. The 2017 winners were Sobeys in the Conventional category, Food Basics (Metro) in the Discount category and Longo Brothers Fruit Markets in the independent category.

EVENTS THIS MONTH DCI’s first ever Annual Summit and inaugural Star Awards Gala Dinner will take place on June 7 in Toronto. Visit distributioncanada.ca for details. IDDBA 17, the international premiere event for dairy, deli and bakery professionals, will be held June 4–6 in Anaheim, Calif.


NEW PRODUCT The winner of SIAL Canada’s Innovation Grand Prize this year was Saffron Sugar Cube from Taj Foods, Minami Inc. These sugar cubes are 100% natural, and are sold in convenient, resealable packages.



A delicious, single-serve warm meal in 3-4 minutes

Great addition to the cut-veg set!



Expanded reach to SUPERFOOD & VEG KITS consumers

Higher ring additional margin dollars Mann Packing Co., Inc., Salinas, CA




e fe






All new grocery sessions brought to you by Canadian Grocer


TORONTO coffeeteashow.ca





CALL NOW TO EXHIBIT AT CANADA’S #1 COFFEE & TEA INDUSTRY EVENT OF THE YEAR! Jacquie Rankin Tel: 1.877.687.7321 ext. 1022 | email: jrankin@ensembleiq.com

More Ideas on page: 16 Private label is on the rise 17 Top tips for grocery success 17 Highlights from SIAL Canada 18 Costco caters to businesses


Retailers, suppliers, shoppers, insights

PLANETFRIENDLY PRODUCE Consider sourcing sustainably grown produce for your store—it could be a differentiator for today’s ethical shoppers By Day Helesic


WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT a cute little symbol, a frog surrounded by the words “Rainforest Alliance Certified” or a Fairtrade Canada seal could influence a sale in your produce section? Coffee, tea and cacao, regularly certified by organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade Canada or UTZ already make appearances in certain areas of the store, but today’s ethical shoppers are looking for certified products in every aisle, including in the produce department. For chains like Whole Foods Market, sustainability is an important part of its brand story. “Whole Foods seeks out growers who support environmental and agricultural sustainability,” says Gary Macdonald, Whole Foods’ purchasing director in Toronto. In 2007, the retail chain created the Whole Trade Guarantee to highlight its commitment to ethical trade, working conditions and environmental practices. Then, in 2015, Whole Foods launched the Responsibly Grown rating system, which rates fresh produce and flowers based on farming practices that impact the environment and human health. June 2017 Canadian Grocer


“We take great care in selecting and working with the best third-party certifiers in the world,” says Macdonald. The Rainforest Alliance offers certification to farmers who follow the Standard of the Sustainable Agriculture Network. The organization currently certifies products such as coffee, tea, cacao, flowers and more than 50 different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Certification helps ensure that soil and water are conserved, deforestation is prohibited, that there are better workers’ rights and no slave or child labour. Another third-party certifier, Fairtrade Canada, certifies almost 7,000 products, includOranges growing ing coffee, flowers, fruits and on a Rainforest vege tables. Fairtrade certification Alliance–Certifed farm in Costa Rica. ensures sustainability across social, economic and environmental pillars: there are minimum prices for Fairtrade products, working conditions are decent and there are fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. Grocers may do well to jump on the opportunity to appeal to the ethical shopper. “Canadian consumers now look for ethical and sustainable foods when they shop,” says Nicole Pasricha, manager of market transformations at the Rainforest Alliance. “Six out of 10 Canadians say they consider themselves ethical shoppers, and they expect retailers to consider social and environmental factors when making purchasing decisions.” Fairtrade Canada has also noticed a substantial increase in demand for certified products. “We’re seeing significant growth in the ethical consumer market,” says John Marron, director of commercial relations and marketing at Fairtrade Canada. “These consumers want to know where their products are coming from and they want to support socially conscious companies.” In Canada, Fairtrade bananas are particularly popular. “We’re seeing a 19% volume growth in Fairtrade bananas, year over year,” says Marron. “Many national and regional chains now offer them year-round.” Food market analyst Kevin Grier has another take. “Research shows that there is a segment of consumers who are concerned



June 2017 Canadian Grocer

One of the top strategies Canadians are using to save money is to switch to cheaper grocery brands, said Nielsen’s Jean-Baptiste Delabre at a session on private label at the SIAL Canada show in Toronto last month. As a result, private label is on the rise and now accounts for 18.4% dollar share, and is growing faster (+5%) than national brands (+2%).

about sustainability or similar attributes, but it’s not big, it’s 5 to 10%,” Grier says. “The vast majority of consumers are more concerned with the same things our grandmothers were concerned about: nutrition, value and taste.” That said, he acknowledges that retailers are looking to pull ahead of their competition, no matter what. “Grocers, especially traditional banners, are desperate for differentiation. They want to position themselves to compete with higher-end banners, bringing in niche products like certified produce that shoppers with higher incomes will choose to spend money on.” If you’re interested in sourcing sustainably grown produce, talk to your suppliers—they likely offer certified options. Today’s ethical shoppers may appreciate the effort, and it might even increase consumer engagement and give your business an unexpected boost.



On Rainforest Alliance– Certified farms, respecting workers’ rights is critical for maintaining certification.

Here’s a look at how private label is performing in MEAT & SEAFOOD


30.3% 24.9% +6%



Secrets to success




By Shellee Fitzgerald

“IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT,” isn’t a rule often followed at Vince’s Market. On the contrary, the owners of the Ontario independent grocery chain say they’re constantly innovating and seeking out new ways to do things better. This factor no doubt helped Vince’s land on the list of Canada’s Best Managed Companies (presented by Deloitte and CIBC) for 2017. We asked Giancarlo Trimarchi, co-owner of Vince’s Market, to share a few things he’s learned about managing a successful grocery business:


1. STOP AND TAKE A HARD LOOK AT YOUR BUSINESS. About five years ago, Trimarchi, along with his father Carmen and his partner Brian Johns, started thinking about expanding the operation. “We took a good look at our business and asked ourselves if what we were doing was sustainable and scalable for growth,” he says. As a family-run business, all decisions were made at the top, which worked fine for a one-or-two-store operation. “But we recognized that as soon as we started to [grow] the business, we’d be stretched really thin.” Trimarchi says they started to focus on putting programs, policies and people in place so the business could thrive, whether they had one location

or 10. “It was important to figure out how to be the company we wanted to be, not necessarily the company we had been.”

2. START TALKING ABOUT SUCCESSION PLANNING EARLY. In a family-run business, talk of succession can be difficult. But Trimarchi says it’s important not to sweep it under the rug but, instead, to start talking about succession early on, in a meaningful way. By being prepared with a plan, he says, everyone can “breathe a sigh of relief because we know what to expect from each other and we don’t have to guess about what’s going to happen.”

3. EMPOWER YOUR EMPLOYEES. Vince’s Market has built a group of employees who are engaged in the business. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on building our supervisor team,” says Trimarchi. “We have a program that rewards them and there’s a profit-sharing model that supports them.” After all, he notes, these are the people running the departments and making sure customers have a good experience at the store.

some key grocery departments: DELI


23.7% 19.9%







REDUCING FOOD WASTE In Canada, 47% of food loss and waste happens in the home and 20% during packaging and processing. Provision Coalition’s Cher Mereweather said manufacturers can reduce waste by using online tools to streamline operations.

ALL ABOUT HALAL The halal food market in Canada is an estimated $1-billion industry growing 13% annually. Salima Jivraj of Nourish Food Marketing said more millennials and nonMuslims are seeking out halal food for its quality and superior animal welfare practices.

THE EVOLUTION OF HMR In one conference session, panellists declared that growth in the HMR segment is unprecedented. Today’s time-strapped shoppers expect safe, wholesome, restaurantquality meal solutions that have wide appeal.


OPEN FOR BUSINESS Costco Canada gets back to its roots with its first Business Centre location By Chris Powell

is a little different than the other 94 Costco warehouse clubs in Canada. At the entrance where you’d typically see TVs,tablets and other electronics on display, professional-grade appliances such as meat slicers and blenders sit instead. There aren’t any free samples of Kirkland Signature salsa or Krispy Kreme doughnuts (sorry!) but shoppers can feast their eyes on products such as a Willy Dog Hummer Hot Dog Cart for $5,500 and refrigerator units that go for $4,600. Located in a former Zellers store, this is Costco’s first Business Centre location in Canada (it currently operates 14 similar stores in the United States). The Business Centre targets the needs of businesses of all sizes, from retailers to restaurants to offices. “We set the tone for who we want to cater to as soon as customers walk in,” says Marc-André Bally, vice-president of Costco Business Centre Canada. According to Bally, 80% of the more than 3,000 products sold at the store—roughly two-thirds of them grocery products—aren’t found at regular Costco warehouse stores. In fact, this iteration of the store harkens back to Costco’s 1980s roots, when the retailer catered primarily to business customers. “We’re going back to what we were 30 years ago, and reconnecting with that business owner or that office operator who needs to re-stock the vending machine or cafeteria,” says Bally. “We haven’t been serving our business members the way we’d like to; it’s time for us to start taking care of them.” The Business Centre offers 127,000 square feet of no-nonsense shopping. Wooden pallets are stacked


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

high with industrial-sized containers of mayonnaise, tuna, cheese and olive oil. There’s no fancy packaging or the usual visual appeal of mainstream grocery items. The Business Centre is designed to cater more to commercial customers rather than everyday grocery shoppers. “It’s not meant to be a sexy environment,” says Bally, who’s been with Costco for 27 years. “You’ll see a lot more brown boxes than you’ll see in a traditional grocery store. Members recognize the products so we don’t need to fancy up the packaging. We don’t want to add any costs to the operation.” The store also boasts the biggest walk-in cooler of any Costco store in the world. The 11,300-sq.-ft. behemoth houses products such as 10-kilogram containers of feta cheese, stacks of Canada AAA striploin and bags of pre-peeled onions and potatoes. Not only that, more than 90% of Business Centre items come from Canadian suppliers: look for 15-kilogram tubs of Palace mayonnaise, 1.88-kilogram tins of Pantry Shelf chunk light tuna and six-packs (2.84L) of Bonduelle whole kernel corn. The Business Centre also offers an added service where customers can shop for merchandise online and, with its fleet of six delivery trucks, Costco will deliver the next day (for orders placed before 3 p.m. for businesses within a 20-kilometre radius). “They’ve smartly positioned it so it doesn’t cannibalize the standard weekly grocery trip,” says Bruce Winder, co-founder of RetailAdvisorsNetwork.com. “They’re not going to shoot themselves in the foot. They’re going to take that high-margin, bloated distributor business and disrupt it.” Bally says Costco has expansion plans for the Canadian business, predicting that the GTA alone could support two or three stores. At the Scarborough location, more than 75,000 businesses are located within a 30-minute drive of the store. “The density of businesses in this area is tremendous,” he says. “It’s as dense as cities like Chicago or Los Angeles. We wanted to put our best foot forward and open in a place that has a good chance of being successful.” CG



P LL RESULTS BOYCOTTS ARE PERVASIVE—WHAT’S YOUR STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH THEM? Consumers have a lot of clout these days and they know it. Money talks; shoppers can use their buying power to protest or punish a company when they think it’s been misbehaving. As a tactic to bring about change, boycotts are nothing new. But in the current climate, barely a week goes by without a new boycott surfacing. Uber, Starbucks, United Airlines and YouTube are just a smattering of companies that have recently found themselves shunned by consumers. So we were curious: how would you deal with a boycott?

We asked readers on CanadianGrocer.com:

How would you deal with a consumer boycott of a brand or product?




Take a neutral position. I’m a grocer, not an activist.


Wait and see. These things tend to blow over.


Don’t know. It’s tricky— there are two sides to every dispute and I don’t want to alienate any of my customers.


Drop it immediately. I don’t need the hassle and there are plenty of other products to fill its place.

Idea Generator




COFFEE FLOUR When coffee is harvested, the outer fruit of the coffee plant is usually discarded as waste. CF Global Holdings is transforming that waste into a unique, gluten-free flour. Coffee Flour, made from milling the discarded outer fruit, is great for baking and cooking—use it in breads, muffins, cookies, brownies and savoury recipes, too. No, it doesn’t taste like coffee: think floral, citrus and roasted fruit notes, instead. And ounce for ounce, it only has as much caffeine as dark chocolate. The best part? This flour is packed with protein, antioxidants, iron, fibre and potassium. Look out; Coffee Flour might be the next big super-ingredient.

Buy admission tickets online now and save up to 42%: www.anuga.com/tickets

Koelnmesse Inc. 8600 West Bryn Mawr Avenue Suite 410 North Chicago, Illinois, 60631 Phone +1 773 326 9922 v.woods@koelnmessenafta.com

TAIPEI GETS READY TO WELCOME THE WORLD The 27th edition of the Taipei International Food Show (Food Taipei) gets underway in just a few weeks. Bigger and better than ever, this year’s show (running June 21–24) will boast exhibitors from 39 countries and nearly 68,000 attendees from all around the globe. Serving up a full menu of the hottest tech, trends and specialty products, this year’s show promises something for everyone. Here, the folks at the Taiwan Trade Centre in Vancouver tell us more about this global food fest and why you should go.

industry from raw materials to grocery. The event also brings distinct Taiwan touches (everything from DIY noodle makers, cutlery and sealers) and is enhanced by Taiwan, Japan and Korea national pavilions. Each exhibitor offers their own surprises in terms of flavour, products and approaches.

What’s new at Food Taipei 2017? Taiwan producers are putting in a robust exhibit of natural and organic foods, which reflect a growing awareness and interest in these products. And this year, the new European Pavilion includes the countries: Estonia, Latvia and Italy. Although the U.S.A. Pavilion and the Canada Pavilion have been exhibiting for more than a decade, attendees are sure to discover several surprises.

What makes this show so unique? With more than 4,000 booths, you know this is no ordinary show. There’s much to take in for North Americans who are just discovering the new menus of Asia. As part of Asia’s Super 5-in-1 Expo, visitors can also check out: Halal Taiwan, Taiwan Horeca, Foodtech & Pharmatech Taipei, and Taipei Pack. Each event focuses on its respective expertise to create an event that covers every facet of the


The halal expo is being expanded this year—why is that? The expanded halal expo picks up on the Taiwan government’s efforts to enhance ties with Islamic nations. One step the government has taken is the establishment of the Halal Promotion Center, Taiwan Halal Center, which provides detailed information to vendors interested in exploring the halal market. Taiwan already is renowned for great

food. With Taiwan Halal Certification issued by the Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA), producers know their products are spot on in terms of flavour and that they comply with Islamic dietary laws. More than 400 manufacturers producing thousands of products are already halal (THIDA) certified. For foreign and domestic companies, the Taiwan International Halal Expo (Halal Taiwan) is the best platform to link up with this niche market. And remember that Taiwan has been well connected with Islamic nations through centuries of business and trade. With this event comes a fresh financial services section that complements exports of halal products.

How has the show grown? Why should Canadian retailers make the trip? Food Taipei joins up most Taiwan food processing-related exporters, importers and agents for those serious about business. For food, tech and ideas, it’s the nexus between East, West, North and South. Canadians will be pleasantly surprised at the dynamism, selection and prospects of this show. And that helps explain why the 2017 event has soared to 4,000 booths from 3,600 booths in the previous year.

• Runs June 21–24 at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Taiwan • Organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) To learn more about Food Taipei and to register, visit www.foodtaipei.com.



THE DISRUPTORS Millennials’ penchant for snacking is serving up both challenges and opportunities for retailers and CPGs S H I F T I N G E A T I N G PA T T E R N S amongst millennials is having a significant influence on the Canadian food and beverage marketplace, disrupting many mature and iconic “sit down” categories and brands while offering opportunities for foods and beverages that are convenient, widely available and portable. As millennials’ lives are increasingly busy, they more often turn to snacks to help them power through their days. Almost a quarter of millennials report a style of eating that focuses on minimeals (five or more small meals per day) while foregoing traditional meals almost altogether, according to Ipsos FIVE research. Shifting the spotlight from traditional meal regimes to more frequent, smaller meals poses a striking challenge to manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators who have, for decades, built strategies

over-index for consuming snacks that are organic, no-sugar-added, vitaminenriched and fortified, compared to other cohorts. Millennials also are more likely than others (index of 120) to seek specific benefits from snacks such as aiding digestive functions, improving the condition of skin, hair and nails and enhancing memory or mental functions.

around traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner dayparts. But considering the importance of this group, it is absolutely critical to keep up with the needs and emerging factors that will drive millennials’ choices.

HEALTHY FRESH A quarter of all fresh fruits and vegetables consumed at a snack occasion are eaten by millennials. While perishability of fresh snacks appeared to be a concern when choosing a snack in the past, the consumption rate of fresh items among these individuals has risen 3% in year-over-year tracking, driven by a growing demand for real food options that are fresh, not processed and locally sourced. As millennials increase their consumption of healthy snacks, this group is seeking functionality from snacking rather than an “absence of” ingredients. Millen nials

ADOPTION OF PLANT POWER Millennials over-index in the consumption of vegan/ vegetarian items at snack occasions (index of 135). Additionally, millennials are more likely to search online for terms related to plant-based snacking including higher search rates concerning chia, kefir and seaweed, denoting their interest in plant-based foods and beverages. However, the requirement for protein remains quite strong among both trailing



Eat 3 traditional meals a day and seldom snack Eat 5–6 or more small meals throughout the day Eat 3 traditional meals a day and often snack Index % OF INDIVIDUALS’ PREFERRED STYLE OF EATING

31% 52% 17%



-6% 4% 2%

Over-index = more than 120 Under-index = less than 80 140


120 90



millennials (index of 129) and leading millennials without kids (index of 145). As well, consumption of meat protein snacks remains strong among millennials (index of 118), perhaps denoting a desire for a flexitarian-type style of snacking that sees consumers eating fewer meat protein snacks while not giving them up completely.

FEAST EXPERIENCE Finally, millennials are the quintessential “binge” generation. Consider millennialcreated indulgences such as the Saturday night pre-drinking routine, live-streaming video gaming or binge-watching television. This desire to treat themselves also extends to snacking, particularly in the evening after a demanding day. Key to the indulgent snack experience is consumption while watching movies and socializing. There is little doubt that millennials remain a mustwin generation, particularly given their sheer size, broadening and burgeoning sphere of influence and their rising spending power. While targeting their love of snacking will provide a significant opportunity for growth for manufacturers and retailers, it will be those companies that have the rigour and discipline to evolve their value proposition to meet the differentiated needs of millennials as they age and evolve, that will win their wallets. CG

60 30 0

Kathy Perrotta is vice-president at Ipsos Reid in Toronto. kathy.perrotta@ipsos.com Ipsos Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader and offers syndicated information and custom solutions across key sectors, including CPG June 2017 Canadian Grocer


Welcome to the ever-evolving world of meal solutions By Rosalind Stefanac

IT’S OFFICIAL: grocers are honing in on traditional restaurant

turf in a major way. Whether it’s a full home meal replacement (HMR) or components to add to a home-cooked meal, grocers are proving they can offer innovative and highquality “ready-to-heat or ready-to-eat” options to draw more and more customers every year. According to the 2017 Canadian Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report from research firm Technomic, nearly four in five consumers now purchase meal solutions from retailers (including grocery stores) at least once a month, and more than a third do so weekly. The latest figures from Nielsen show HMR sales have increased 25% since 2012 and today, the Canadian HMR market is worth about $880 million. “Generally, we know retailers are fighting not only for the consumer share of the wallet, but also the share of stomach,” says Carman Allison, Nielsen’s vice-president of consumer insights for North America. Not only are retailers expanding HMR offerings beyond traditional rotisserie chicken and pizza, he says, but they’re experimenting with options that help consumers customize their orders on demand.

WHO’S DOING IT RIGHT? Take Freson Brothers in Alberta, where shoppers can choose from a combo-driven menu featuring a choice of hot sides (mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, barbecue baked beans etc.) and protein such as crispy chicken, Alberta beef or pork slow roasted in the smoker. Bakery and deli director Jay Cummings says the customized omelette station introduced in the Fresh Market more than a year ago has been another big draw. “It’s a great


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

option for weekend brunch,” he says, adding that about 30% of Freson customers are coming for prepared meal solutions. According to Nielsen, chicken still dominates the prepared food market at 53% of dollar sales, but other offerings such as cooked ribs, pasta dishes, salads and sushi are also gaining favour. In addition to made-to-order sandwiches, chicken and pizza, a daily changing menu of hot items at Toronto-area chain Longo’s provides everything from Chicken Cordon Bleu to cauliflower alfredo to fig and fennel salad. “When I began my career, Caesar salad was a breakthrough but now there are a host of people willing to try new foods,” says Gary Wildman, the food service director at Longo’s. “The benefit of carrying a large assortment means customers can be adventurous with little risk because they can try something like a spicy chicken meal for $6.” At Stong’s Market in Vancouver, hot meal options change consistently, offering ethnic flavours and gluten-free options from time to time. “We try to keep a balanced menu by offering some static items that customers are used to coming back for like stone-oven pizza, paninis and soup, but also some new things for them to try,” says marketing manager John Roden. The classics like chicken and pizza still hold strong at Metro, thanks to ongoing innovation, says André Gagné, vice-president of fresh merchandising. In its renovated stores, the company has introduced a spit-roasted chicken cooked in a gas-fired rotisserie oven and a more upscale hand-drawn oval pizza called the Artisan. Four times a year, the grocer offers “Flavours of the Season,” with new pizzas, sandwiches and chicken. “Right now, we are in a Canada 150 theme with



Stong’s, Vancouver

Stong’s, Vancouver

IGA, Montreal


Summerhil Market, Toronto

June 2017 Canadian Grocer


Tapping into meal kit momentum

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? But even with continued growth, some analysts believe grocers have just scratched the surface of where HMR is going. “I think this category is underdeveloped and there is a lot more growth potential,” says Robert Carter, executive director, foodservice at NPD Canada. For one, he expects there will be an expansion of HMR—now geared to dinner options—to include more breakfast and beverage programs. “Some are doing it now with pop or juice displays nearby, but they really haven’t tapped into what the true bundling opportunity would look like,” he says. “With the option of beer or wine available [in some grocery stores], there really is the opportunity to drive up the spend and offer a restaurant-like meal solution.” Given that millennials are still the biggest demographic going to restaurants, Carter says there are better ways to lure this tech-savvy segment of the population. “HMR is so far behind in terms of technology,” he says. “Even something as simple as tying into a food delivery service like UberEats or having an app where a customer could choose from different customized meals for pickup would be huge.” Chang agrees, noting some innovations happening in the United States already with 7-Eleven testing meal delivery options. As retailers continue to improve their HMR offerings, she says this section of the store will be a visit driver in and of itself, so grocers should consider moving these departments to the front of the store if they haven’t done so already. “I think many grocers are still in the mindset of ‘let’s see what sells,’ ” says Carter. “There are so many meal occasions to cater to and once grocers truly market to that we will really see this category take off.” CG


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

Meal kit from HelloFresh

Getting everything you need—pre-cut and portioned—to make multiple servings of a delicious and healthy meal at home is gaining appeal, shows the latest numbers from Nielsen. Chefs Plate, One Kitchen and HelloFresh are just a few examples of Canadian companies capitalizing on this growing preference for simplified, convenient, healthy cooking at home. According to a 2017 Nielsen report, The Mindset of the Meal Kit Consumer, one in four adults in the United States has purchased a meal kit for delivery or in-store in the last year, and 70% continue to buy more after that first purchase. Men are 40% more likely to purchase the kits, as are millennial and Gen X shoppers. While most consumers are satisfied with the meal kit options available, almost half (46%) say they would be more likely to purchase a meal kit if it was less expensive and 86% would like to be able to add dessert. The majority (81%) also feel that meal subscription services are healthier than those prepared options offered at the grocery store. With more than a third (36%) of consumers still looking to buy kits in their local grocery store, the opportunity is ripe to assemble these same components at an affordable price. It’s a concept that some grocers have implemented quite successfully already. With the “Fresh Meals Made Easy” program at Longo’s, introduced last fall, it’s all about “breadth and choice,” says Gary Wildman, food service director. “We’ve deconstructed an entrée where our customers can have the choice of a protein, starch, sauce and vegetable,” he says. “We’ve given our customers hundreds of meal ideas every time.” But he warns that it always has to be easy, with ingredients that are high quality and nutritious.


Montreal smoked meat wraps, bacon pizza and maple-infused barbecue chicken,” says Gagné. “Our restaurant-quality food does appeal to time-starved people and we also offer great value versus quick-service restaurants.” In addition to the sheer convenience of being able to buy your dinner while you grocery shop, HMR is gaining market share because it is less expensive than a restaurant meal and less time-consuming, says Maia Chang, senior research analyst, consumer insights at Technomic. Millennials with young children are driving the growth primarily, says Chang, but urban dwellers of all ages are turning to HMR more often as well. “In cities, it’s more convenient to pop over to a grocery store to pick up a meal, so there has to be variety,” she says, adding that consumers are starting to look for more ethnic options, especially Brazilian, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese flavours. Some grocers like Bruno’s Fine Foods in Toronto, are finding their HMR appeals to other demographics as well. “About 20 to 30% of our customers are seniors so we always provide individual servings,” says Al McMurray, store manager. “We’re also focused on all-natural products and have built a reputation for providing options customers know will be free of preservatives.”




Ready when you aren’t.


® Registered trademarks and ™ trademarks of Kruger Products L.P.

School’s In By B y Amanda Baltazar altazar


June 2017 Canadian Grocer


rocery stores have a big part to play when it comes to meeting the needs of the back-to-school crowd, especially when parents are looking to buy healthy lunch and snack items. Canadians have become more food aware and according to data from Nielsen, 55% of us actively seek healthy food products, and that number rockets to 74% for households with kids who are under the age of six. Jess Pirnak, a nutritionist at Choices Markets in Delta, B.C., says that before the kids head back to school, moms are on th lookout for healthy packaged snacks. “The snacks aren’t the necessarily for kids’ lunches; they could be for a 3 p.m. [after school] snack,” she says. At her store, moms find seeds, dried fruits and roasted chickpeas most appealing.


In the run-up to back to school, health is top of mind for parents. Retailers and manufacturers are stepping up to lend a hand

Solutions for the lunch bunch Talk to any parent of school-age kids and they’ll likely tell you packing lunches is a chore. It can be a real challenge to send children to school with interesting—not to mention healthy—food, day after day. For parents who are looking for healthy snacks that aren’t loaded with sugar and sodium, here are some options:


Good granola bars. Not all granola bars are created equal—some are about as nutritious as a candy bar. Jess Pirnak, a nutritionist at Choices Markets in Delta, B.C., is a fan of FreeYumm and MadeGood. Both brands are geared to kids with allergies and are classroomfriendly. The bars don’t contain any of the 11 major allergens, including dairy, gluten, tree nuts and mustard.

Seeds, popcorn and more. Nuts are popular choices for healthy snackers but they can be allergens and banned from schools. Instead, Pirnak promotes items that are great alternatives to chips: pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpeas and popcorn. PopCorners from Our Little Rebellion contains no artificial ingredients and is gluten free.

According to Nielsen, about 68% of Canadian consumers read product labels. Pirnak says parents are especially concerned about the percentages for daily nutritional values on nutrition tables. And a challenge is actually understanding the labels as well as the claims on packaged foods. At back-to-school time, Pirnak reaches parents through email and via in-store displays that feature healthy foods, food samples and other nutritional information. At all 12 Choices Markets locations, tours are also offered to parents, which include tips on packing healthy lunches. Pirnak says she encourages parents to shop for healthy snacks such as dried seaweed, cereal bars, and fruits and vegetables. Colemans, a chain of 11 grocery stores in Newfoundland, also runs store tours around the back-to-school period—for entire classes. The retailer takes its act on the road, too. Judy Bennett, the company’s event planner and nutrition educator, visits different classes in the communities Colemans serves, giving presentations on healthy eating and advice on cooking balanced meals. She also invites kids to touch and taste fruits and veggies, including exotic types like dragonfruit. At the end of the presentations, Bennett passes out recipe cards for children to take home along with Frootie Tootie club cards, which entitle the kids to a free piece of fruit on every visit to the supermarket. In-store, kids can interact with produce managers who often give educational tours. Colemans stores also showcase big back-to-school displays, featuring foods such as granola bars, cereals and bananas. And once kids are back in class, the retailer promotes its private label grab-and-go bagged lunches. This year,

An alternative to sugary drinks. Organic Meadow has seen sales of its new shelf-stable milks increase every month since they were launched last October. They sell especially well when placed with the refrigerated set, says marketing manager Michelle Schmidt. “It’s no longer enough to be organic; consumers want their favourite organic product on the go or to put in their kids’ lunches,” she explains.

Colemans plans to launch grab-and-go lunch trays with cheese, crackers and fruit. Of course, it’s not only retailers stepping up their efforts in the months leading up to back to school. Manufacturers also rev up their promotional activity. For instance, Riverside Natural Foods, which markets MadeGood allergy-free granola bars, holds contests in grocery stores where participants can win a computer or a backpack full of products. The Vaughan, Ont.-based company also runs back-toschool discounts and digital couponing. President Nima Fotovat says that, by far, discounts are the biggest driver of sales for the company’s products. Piller’s Fine Foods, a maker of deli meats and snacks, is especially popular with older elementary school kids. To get into parents’ grocery baskets, the Waterloo, Ont.-based company offers digital couponing, particularly with Save.ca, and it emails coupons out to consumers, too. During the run-up to back to school, Piller’s holds in-store demos, featuring recipe cards, coupons, and ideas for lunch boxes. The brand also posts back-to-school recipe ideas on social media and runs online contests where kids can win an iPad. One of General Mills Canada’s back-to-school programs is Lunch Box Win. Promoted through the company’s consumer website, LifeMadeDelicious.ca, and in-store through its product packaging, the idea is to help remove the stress of making school lunches by providing inspirational photos of lunch boxes and recipes. As Tiffany Carver, General Mills’ director of customer marketing says, the program is “focused on banishing lunch-box boredom.” CG June 2017 Canadian Grocer



June 2017 Canadian Grocer

Fighting Food Fraud With more cases of fake foods being uncovered, grocery retailers need to ensure they’re getting the real deal By Rebecca Harris Photograph by Justin Poulsen


n the years since the highly publicized U.K. horsemeat scandal in 2013, food fraud has continued to make headlines: criminal gangs in Italy are exporting fake extra-virgin olive oil; less expensive honey is being sold as Manuka honey; and ground coffee is being tested by researchers in Brazil for fillers like corn, soybeans and starch syrup. It’s no wonder consumers are waking up to food fraud. A recent study from Dalhousie University in Halifax found that 63% of Canadians are concerned about food fraud—food products that have been deliberately mislabelled, adulterated or are otherwise counterfeit. The study, Food Fraud and Risk Perception, also found that nearly 43% of respondents believe they have purchased a counterfeit food item at some point. When asked to identify where they purchased a fraudulent food product, two-thirds of respondents said at a regular grocery store. “The seed of doubt has been planted,” says Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management at Dalhousie. He doesn’t think there’s more food fraud today—it’s been around for thousands of years—but we now have the technology to track and trace it. “Most importantly, expectations have changed,” he says. “People know food fraud is out there; they’re starting to ask questions and they’re expecting the supply chain to become transparent.”

How concerned are Canadian grocery retailers about food fraud? David Wilkes, senior vice-president of government relations and grocery division at Retail Council of Canada, says there are a variety of regulations and checks and balances in place to guard against fraud. “For the most part, we have not seen the challenge around food fraud increasing,” he says. “We do have the expectation from our suppliers that the products we’re purchasing are properly labelled and identified, and we’re seeing good compliance with that.” Art Smith, CEO of supply chain standards organization GS1 Canada, agrees that, though food fraud isn’t a huge issue in Canada compared to other countries, “it’s one of the issues that we have to pay attention to.” He goes on to say that, as supply chains get longer and become increasingly global, they become more complex. “One weak link can destroy the brand at the end of the chain.” Smith adds that consumers are demanding more transparency about the food they buy. “They’re holding the retailer accountable for what’s listed in stores.” On top of that, Charlebois says that many retailers have private label brands, which makes them highly vulnerable. “If they don’t defend their private labels, they may actually make their own labels more vulnerable.” While there’s no hard data on food fraud in Canada, the Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that fraud June 2017 Canadian Grocer



June 2017 Canadian Grocer

Buyer Beware “Retailers are growing more concerned about food fraud in the wake of several incidents, both from domestic manufacturers and imported foods,” says Victor Muliyil, food technical program manager at SGS North America. Instances of food fraud have included:

Olive oil adulterated with corn or sunflower oil, or more dangerously with peanut/ hazelnut/walnut/ soybean oil (which can constitute allergens)

Saffron adulterated with wood residue and tartrazine (yellow #5) food colouring

Apple juice concentrate adulterated with liquid invert sugar, malic acid, caramel colour, apple flavour and aroma

at every stage of the supply chain. “GS1 standards are like a shared language, but they’re also interoperable,” says Keogh. “So, regardless of which technology the company is using, they can still talk to each other.” Another key tool is supply chain mapping, which Keogh says is starting to grow. “There are technology companies that help facilitate global mapping of supply chains. When you map your supply chain, you can look at the differ-

Honey adulterated with liquid invert sugar or high fructose corn syrup

Orange juice concentrate adulterated with pulp wash, a liquid made from exhausted orange pulp

Red snapper substituted with other species due to shortage of supply

ent nodes on the chain and then look at vulnerabilities you may have. You have to look at the different countries and even regions within the country that you’re sourcing products or ingredients from.” Retailers can also undergo food safety audits to help mitigate the risk of food fraud. SGS Canada, for example, has a new program called Food Safety Program Optimization (FSPO). Victor Muliyil, food technical program manager at SGS


costs the global food industry between US$10 billion and US$15 billion a year, affecting approximately 10% of all commercially sold food products. Other estimates peg it as high as US$49 billion. The costs are due to factors such as lost revenue, increased costs for recalls, decreased market share and damage to brand reputation. “The risks are huge,” says John Keogh, founder and president at Toronto-based Shantalla, which provides advisory services in areas such as supply chain and product and consumer safety. “Obviously, you have the financial risks and [loss of] brand equity.” He points out that the horsemeat scandal devalued Tesco’s stocks by £300 million (about CDN$530 million). “That can be quite significant to a brand.” While the horsemeat wasn’t a health hazard for consumers, the scandal brought to light a serious issue. “It pointed to the fact that retailers risk not being in control of their supply chains, and when you’re not in control of your supply chain, you have more vulnerabilities,” says Keogh. Another big risk of food fraud is public health. In cases of economically motivated adulteration (EMA), products are diluted with lesser-value ingredients. “If there is an ingredient in there that is not specified, and someone is allergic to that ingredient, it becomes a problem,” says Charlebois. Not surprisingly, the Dalhousie University study found that consumers with food allergies (as well as older, more educated consumers) are more likely to be more concerned about food fraud. In addition, those who experienced food fraud firsthand said they are far more likely to trust themselves and other consumers to manage the risks than they are to turn to government or industry. However, those who had not experienced food fraud suggested that industry and regulators could help mitigate risks. So, what can retailers do to guard against food fraud? “For retailers, it’s not business as usual,” says Shantalla’s Keogh. “There are counter measures that they need to put in place. Number one starts with having a shared understanding through their supply chain of the standards, so that all of their trading partners use the same standards.” He adds that some retailers will use internal codes, but that doesn’t work with a multi-party supply chain. With GS1 standards—the best known is the barcode—retailers can track products

North America, says the program functions within regular Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification, but offers better risk protection to retailers. This is achieved “by auditing vendors through a rigorous, risk-focused approach to verifiable food-safety control by deep diving into key aspects that could increase risk,” says Muliyil. “One of these key risks is food fraud.” The FSPO approach researches hazards, quantifies risk using a risk-builder tool kit, and provides training on how to rebuild risk-focused food safety management systems. “The comments SGS has received on the FSPO approach is that it’s refreshing in its focus and results,” says Muliyil. One technology that’s emerging is blockchain, which can be particularly useful to guard against counterfeit products and food safety issues. Blockchain technology is essentially a shared digital leger where all financial transactions are recorded, providing transparency and a way to trace transactions. Walmart is currently testing blockchain’s capabilities to improve food

safety. Last October, the U.S. retail giant launched a pilot project with IBM and Beijing’s Tsinghua University to improve the way food is tracked, transported and sold to consumers across China. In a press release, IBM noted that with blockchain, food products can be tracked from an ecosystem of suppliers to store shelves and, ultimately, to consumers. “When applied to the food supply chain, digital product information such as farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, ex piration dates, storage temperatures and shipping details are digitally connected to food items and the information is entered into the blockchain along every step of the process,” the release stated. “Each piece of information provides critical data points that could potentially reveal food safety issues with the product.” While not yet in the retail realm, DNA testing is also an important tool to detect food fraud. The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph, a pioneer in this field, revealed widespread seafood fraud in 2007, and has done ongoing work in this area. A 2011 study,

U YO VER 18 SEE NCOU6 20 VA -2 IN L 24



for example, looked at seafood samples from five Canadian cities and found that 41% of fish was mislabelled, and the majority was sold as species of a higher market value. The institute is currently collaborating with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to conduct investigations on items such as ground meats, spices, dairy, oils and honey. In 2015, German grocery retailer Metro launched PRO trace, a smartphone app that displays the origins of fresh fish and meat. Using a double-layered barcode developed by GS1, consumers can see information on where the fish was caught, when the fish was harvested, and where and when it was processed. For a number of meat products, the app provides details on the origin, process, quality and sustainability of the items. “Fish is a tricky category because it’s hard to understand what type of species you’re dealing with; there’s lots of obscurity in that field,” says Charlebois. “Transparency through data offered to consumers in real time is always very powerful, and I suspect that more grocers will do that in the future.” CG






APNM - Association des Producteurs des Nadorcott | AQDFL/QPMA | BC Tree Fruits | California Strawberry Commission | Canadawide Fruit Wholesalers Inc. | Centre Maraîcher Eugène Guinois Jr. Inc. Del Fresco Produce Ltd. | Dole Food Company | Duda Farm Fresh Foods | EarthFresh | FirstFruits Marketing of Washington, LLC | Florida Tomato Committee | Highline Mushrooms | Loblaw Co. Ltd. | Mann Packing Co. Metro Richelieu Inc. | Nature Fresh Farms Inc. | North American Produce Buyers Limited | Peak of the Market | Pear Bureau Northwest (USA Pears) | POM Wonderful | Rainier Fruit Company | Red Sun Farms Tanimura & Antle | Taylor Farms Retail Inc. | The Giumarra Companies | Thomas Fresh | Vineland Growers’ Co-operative Ltd. | VLAM | Washington Apple Commission | Westmoreland (TopLine Farms) Sponsors as of April 7, 2017





®/TM Coca-Cola Ltd., used under license.

1.25 L



ONE WAY TO WOO SHOPPERS to your store is to line your aisles with exciting new products. Each year the Retail Council of Canada shines a light on outstanding grocery products with its Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards. Here’s a roundup of the ďŹ nalists for 2016. Come back next issue to check out the winners!

Oasis Hydrafruit A. Lassonde Combining real fruit jjuice with sparkling water, this refreshing beverage hits the spot with 60% fewer calories than regular fruit juice blends. Available in three flavours: Watermelon Apple, Lemon Iced Tea and Fruit Fusion.

OKA Portion Pack Agropur Dairy Cooperative OKA fans can now enjoy their favourite cheese on the go with these convenient portion packs. Made with 45-day ripened OKA cheese.

Arla Lactose Free Creamy Cheese Spread Arla Foods For consumers seeking a lactose-free option in the dairy case, Arla has introduced this creamy cheese spread. Made with fresh cream and buttermilk and no modified milk ingredients.

June 2017 Canadian Grocer


Cielos Crunchy Olives Dumet AG Serving up something g new in the snack aisle, e, these olives are pitted, ed, sun-ripened and have e a crunchy rice-flour coating. Available in sour cream and onion n and pizza flavours.

SoFresh Earth’s Own

Whole Cuts Flavoured Potato Chips Calbee North America

Developed to reignite the plant-based category, this line of beverages from Earth’s Own comes in a 946mL format, ideal for smaller households. Available in four varieties including unsweetened Cashew and Almond-Coconut.

A chip that looks like a French fry! Whole Russet potatoes are cut then vacuum-fried, resulting in a tasty chip that’s crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

Restaurant Style Cavendish Farms Aiming to deliver dining-out flavour to homebodies, Restaurant Style Crunchy Onion Rings boasts the addition of quinoa and amaranth, while the Extra Thin Gourmet Frites are lightly seasoned with black pepper.

Organic Sorbet Fontaine Santé No ordinary sorbets, these frozen treats are packed with loads of fruit and are certified 100% organic. c. Flavours include mango, go, raspberry and pear.

Coca-Cola Meals Pack 1.25L Coca-Cola Limited Coca-Cola’s newest 1.25L format at is targeted to small households s and is slender, easy to carry and d small enough to fit in a fridge door. Available in Regular and Coke Zero flavours.

Ocean Mama Organic Sauté & Serve Frobisher International For those who need to get dinner on the table quickly, Ocean Mama has you covered. In these convenient Sauté & Serve kits, both the protein and veggies are 100% organic.


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

MORE FOOD FINALISTS GURU – Organic Energy Water GURU Beverage The company touts this beverage as the world’s first organic, zero-calorie energy water. Its energizing properties come from natural caffeine extracted from an infusion of organic green tea. Available in lime, grapefruit and pomegranate flavours.

Oasis Active | A. Lassonde Natrel Lactose Free Butter | Agropur Dairy Cooperative Natrel Lactose Free Dairy Product | Agropur Dairy Cooperative Castello Decorated Cream Cheese Spread | Arla Foods

Ivanhoe Goat Cheddar | Gay Lea Foods Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips | Hain-Celestial Canada Daily Squeeze | Happy Planet

Castello Aged Havarti Cheese | Arla Foods

Chicken Ramen Soup | Les Plats du Chef

Castello Tickler Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese | Arla Foods

Max + Marcus Dijon Mustard | Max + Marcus Gourmet Products

Veg•e Proteins Blend | Bonduelle Americas Au Pain Doré Origine Pastries | Bridor

Black Diamond Natural Cheese Sticks | Parmalat Canada

Gourmet Nanny Hudson's Homestyle Relish | Burnbrae Farms

Lactantia Butter in Tomato Basil and Maple flavours | Parmalat Canada

Egg Creations! Whole Eggs | Burnbrae Farms

Riviera GMO-Free Set-Style Yogourt | Riviera

Cheecha Puffs | Left Field Foods

SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker | SodaStream Canada

Healthy Choice SIMPLY Entrees | Conagra Brands Océania Solo Sauces & Mayonnaise | Cuisine Mallmousse McSweeney's Pep' N Cheddies | Direct Plus Food Group Goat's Milk Butter | Finica Food Specialties Flow Water | Flow Water

Happy Planet Soup Happy Planet

L'Ancêtre Organic Le Port-Royal, skim milk cheese, lactose free, 50% less salt with flavours | Fromagerie L'Ancêtre

Healthy Crunch – Organic Kale Chips | The Healthy Crunch Company A Division of The Whole Living Kitchen Becel Margarine | Unilever BCS Canada Organic Chocolate 80g packaging “resealable” | Vigneault Chocolatier Excel Naturally Sweetened Gum | Wrigley Canada

Le Petit Espresso Semi-Soft Cheese | Fromagerie Domaine Feodal


Serving up comforting flavours, these new soups are made with all-natural ingredients. The Chicken Pot Pie Soup contains organic free-range chicken meat, while Korean Hot & Sour Soup (“Seoul in a bowl”) features a rich broth with kimchi and veggies.

Hyper Pop-ups | Carlton Cards Ltd. Twirly Treasures | Carlton Cards Ltd. King’s Crown Ultimate Beard Box | Gebr, Weyersberg – King’s Crown bmiSmart I-REMOVE Weight Loss | InQpharm North America Star Wars Light Sound and Motion Bands | Hallmark Canada SpongeTowels Ultra Strong | Kruger Products Sunlight 4 in 1 Powercore Pacs | Sun Products Canada

Lantic-Rogers Sugar + Stevia Blend Lantic For those looking to cut back on sugar, here’s an option. A half cup of this Sugar + Stevia blend equals the sweetness of one cup of sugar. Use to sweeten coffee or a batch of cookies. Presented in a convenient resealable pouch.


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

Award winning taste.




Piller’s Salami Whips deliver award winning flavour!* Available in three tasty varieties – Mild, Spicy, Kabanosy - these naturally wood-smoked meat snacks deliver the great taste and tender bite of salami, and are rich in protein and gluten free. Available in 100g re-sealable or 15g single-serve packs; perfect for lunches, entertaining and snacking on-the-go! *Voted the best new Meat Snack by consumers according to results of the 2017 BrandSpark Best New Product Awards survey and real user feedback from Shopper Army. The Best New Product Award logo is a trademark of Best New Product Awards Inc., used under license.

Organic Single ngle Serve Shelf Stable ble Milk Organic Meadow adow No fridge, no problem. serve milks These single-serve from Organic Meadow hocolate (available in chocolate avours) are and regular flavours) Canada’s first shelf-stable organic milks.

Ri i Riviera C Collection i Parfait P Riviera R A dessert with benefits. These E European-inspired parfaits are creamy yet low in fat, and high cr in calcium with seven grams of protein per pot. pr

Président Spreadable Goat Cheese Parmalat Canada A goat cheese that’s extra creamy for easy spreading on bagels, baguettes and more. It also makes a great dip for veggies.

Organic Artisan Blend Patience Fruit & Co by Fruit d’Or To stand out amid a sea of humdrum snacks, Patience Fruit & Co. by Fruit d’Or combines dried cranberries, nuts and aromatic spices in its Organic Artisan Blends. Two flavour options: Moka Moments and Exotic Journey.

Breyers Gelato Unilever Gelato fans now have another at-home option. This indulgent dessert comes in four flavours: mint chocolate, chocolate fudge, vanilla caramel and chocolate hazelnut. Comes in a see-through tub so consumers can view the gelato inside.

Country Harvest Canadian Rustic Bean Bread Weston Bakeries Each pack of Whips contains eightt e feet of tender salami links that are easy to snap off and eat. Naturallyy wood-smoked, these meat sticks are packed with protein and free of alll major allergens. Available in mild or spicy varieties.

38 38

June JJun un ne 22017 0117 0017 17 C Canadian Ca Can an a nadi ad a dian di an Grocer Grrocer Gro e

A blend of pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils and peas) are baked right into this bread giving it an impressive nutritional boost.


Piller’s Salami Whips Piller’s Fine Foods


Metro Brands, g.p.


Walmart Canada

Canadian Tire Corporation

Irresistibles Chocolate Granola Crisp Blueberry Almond

Nosh & Co. Caramel Cheddar Popcorn

Our Finest Belgian Chocolate Collection

FRANK Cookies

Smooth Peanut Butter Organics – Irresistibles 500g


FRANK Canadiana Mix Popcorn

Irresistibles Mini Gelato Bars

Costco Wholesale

Irresistibles Ultimate Beef & Bechamel Lasagna

Western Family Sauced Meatballs

FRANK + Picard’s Chip Nuts

Kirkland Signature Pepperoni Pizza Hand Stretched Crust 4 Pack Federated Co-operatives Co-op Gold Buttercrunch Toffee Chocolate Co-op Gold PURE Organic Coconut Peanut Butter Co-op Gold Fruit Vinegar Co-op Gold Sorbetto

Great Value Cooking Sauce Our Finest Uncooked Parmesan Smokie Bites

Western Family Wraps

Your Fresh Market Kansas City Style BBQ

Western Family Chicken Wings

14” Round Take’n Bake Pizza

Western Family Pulse Plus Whole Grain Loaf


Irresistibles Candied Atlantic Salmon

Sobeys Inc.

Canadian Tire Corporation

Irresistibles Belgian Chocolate Figurines

Sensations by Compliments Spirited Mickie BBQ Sauce

Irresistibles Organics Whole Grain Quinoa

Compliments Super Squeeze Real Fruit Purée and Vegetable Juice Snack

FRANK + Full Circle Program (14 Products, 3 Refills) Dust Pan & Brush Set, Bubble Up Dish Brush

Irresistibles Dark Chocolate Irresistibles Lobster Bites

Irresistibles Hand Stretched Frozen Pizza

FRANK + Full Circle Program (14 Products, 3 Refills) Kitchen Compost Collector & Dust Whisperer Microfiber Duster

Irresistibles Vegetable Chips

Sensations by Compliments Naturally Smoked Bacon

Irresistibles Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Sensations by Compliments Hand-Dee-Pies

PetSmart Canada

Longo’s Longo’s Signature Chocolate Chip Cookie Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

MITO Sushi





Vetdiet Dog Biscuits

Co-op Gold PURE Sustainable Seafood Steelhead Trout

Only Natural Pet Food

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 mosser@canadapork.com or call 519-260-0571.


Stroll more Aisles: 43 Year of the goat 44 Unique products for your store 45 The state of condiment sales

AISLES Products, store ops, customers, trends

Frozen desserts

THE SCOOP ON FROZEN DESSERTS It’s ice cream season, and changing consumer preferences are leading to a shakeup in the freezer case By Chris Powell


THOUGH IT’S STILL A BELOVED SUMMER TREAT, ice cream is travelling a bit of a rocky road in Canada. According to Mintel, 90% of Canadians consume singleflavoured ice cream during the summer months, contributing to annual sales of $284 million. (Mintel pegs the value of the entire frozen desserts category— including frozen yogurt, gelato and sorbet—at $409 million.) But while penetration remains high, the market research firm also says Canadians’ enthusiasm for ice cream seems to be cooling: annual consumption has fallen from 7.7 litres per person in 2008 to 6.8 litres in 2015, with an older population creating “headwinds” for the category. This is part of a broader trend that has led to similar declines in established markets like the United States and Europe, while emerging markets like China continue to grow. June 2017 Canadian Grocer




BEN & JERRY’S NON-DAIRY Made with almond milk, Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy line is 100% vegan (sans eggs, dairy and honey). These tubs are loaded with the indulgent chunks and swirls the brand is known for—just the vegan versions.

SCREAMIN BROTHERS DAIRY-FREE FROZEN TREAT This smooth and creamytasting frozen treat is made with coconut milk and is dairy, gluten and allergen free. Key Lime and Mint Chocolate are must-try flavours.

HÄAGEN-DAZS SPIRITS COLLECTION Häagen-Dazs’ new collection combines two favourite occasions: dessert and happy hour. Designed for adult millennials, this 100% dairy ice cream is infused with premium alcohol and has no artifical colours or flavours.


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

Despite these bumps in the road, there are positive signs for the frozen desserts category as a whole. For instance, Jenny Longo, the director of private brands for Longo’s, says sales are up 22% year over year at her family’s Toronto-area chain, fuelled in part by its award-winning private label product, Indulgent Chocolate Mousse Cups. And, interestingly, the challenges facing the Canadian industry could ultimately benefit ice cream enthusiasts by encouraging a flurry of product experimentation. According to Joel Gregoire, Mintel’s senior food and drink analyst, manufacturers are already demonstrating a “high degree” of flavour and format innovation as they attempt to woo consumers. “Canadians are certainly interested in everything from artisanal to premium-flavoured ice creams,” says Gregoire. “‘Adult-izing’ ice cream with more exotic flavours and even alcohol could create additional excitement within the category.” Non-dairy also remains a fast-growing sub-category, with new products including a vegan-certified line—made with almond milk—from Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s brand (flavours include Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Coffee Caramel Fudge, and P.B. & Cookies). Elsewhere, Victoriabased DeeBee’s Organics continues to add to its line of frozen tea lollies with a new coconut-based product line called Coconut Creams, as well as a new Super Fruit Freezies line. But health, it turns out, is pretty low on the list of considerations for Canadians seeking ice cream or other frozen treats. In fact, only 19% of 2,000 people surveyed by Mintel named health as a key factor compared to 47% of respondents who named ingredient quality and low price as key factors, and 40% who cited flavour combinations. “What we’re seeing is flavour exploration,” says Gregoire, noting that Canadians are becoming more intrigued by ethnically inspired flavours such as green tea and mango. In other product innovations, HägenDazs has debuted its new Spirits ice cream, which features alcohol-infused flavours such as Vodka Key Lime Pie, Rum Ginger Cookie and Irish Cream Coffee & Biscotti. These products fall in line with recent Mintel research revealing that more than a quarter (27%) of Canadians

are interested in ice cream with alcohol. The rise of indulgent ice creams has led some manufacturers to introduce smaller portions so consumers can enjoy them without feeling guilty. According to Mintel, 6% of all ice cream launches in North America last year contained the word “mini” in their name, up from 3% in 2015. Last year, Unilever capped its singleserve adult ice cream products at 250 calories, creating a smaller unit size for flagship brands such as Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, while other products were eliminated entirely. Longo says sales of single-serve products are really growing. “The bars are becoming smaller, but more premium,” she notes. In 2016, Nestlé Canada and Unilever Canada controlled a reported 58% of the Canadian ice cream market, with Chapman’s Ice Cream a solid third. Small independents, however, are also jockeying for—and winning—space in Canadian freezers. Wayne Wikkerink, president of Lethbridge, Alta.-based Screamin Brothers, says that sales of its dairy- and allergen-free frozen treats (they’re made with coconut milk), are up by as much as 25 to 30% per year. “If you can get people to taste it, it’s a slamdunk as far as selling it,” says Wikkerink. A company created in 2010 by Wikkerink’s 10-year-old son, Screamin Brothers currently offers 12 ice cream flavours including Key Lime, Orange Pineapple and Mocha. It also recently launched a frozen smoothie product called Rhythm Pops. Elsewhere, regional brands such as Vancouver’s Betterwith—a premium, high fat product made with traceable milk and single-source ingredients—continues to make inroads with customers. Screamin Brothers’ Wikkerink likens the rise of independent manufacturers to the growth of the craft beer industry, which has seen small independents continuing to grab market share from multi-nationals. “The ice cream business almost seems the same,” he says. “The ice cream buyers we’ve dealt with have talked about a 30 to 40% increase in sales, primarily based on high-end, high-quality niche products.” You might say Neopolitan is being pushed slowly aside by increasingly cosmopolitan consumers.


Frozen desserts

AISLES Goat products

GOT YOUR GOAT? In Canadian grocery stores, goat products are more popular than ever. What’s contributing to the craze?


By Day Helesic

ACCORDING TO THE CHINESE ZODIAC, 2017 is the year of the rooster. But the rising popularity of goat’s milk products means it’s feeling a lot more goat-like. Goat’s milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream, eggnog, ice cream and even goat meat—are more popular than ever. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada confirms that in 2011, there were approximately 225,000 goats on 9,000 farms in Canada, with the number of goats in Canada almost doubling since 1996. In 2015, Ontario Goat said goat’s milk production in the province was estimated at 42 million litres, up 200% since 2005. What’s behind the rising popularity of goat products? For one thing, goat’s milk farming is a great option for young farmers who are interested in breaking into the dairy industry. Goat farming is not supply managed like the cow’s milk dairy industry; farmers can make their

own decisions about production and sales. Goat’s milk products are also faster to market than cow’s milk products; goat’s cheese, for example, can be sold fresh and young. For shoppers, it’s all about nutrition and health benefits: goat’s milk is lower in lactose and easier to digest than cow’s milk (93% of people with a cow’s milk allergy can digest goat’s milk) and it’s also high in protein, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, B6, C, K and E. “There has been an increased curiosity and demand for goat’s milk products, particularly in the last five years or so,” says Roxanne Renwick, cheese specialist at Toronto’s Summerhill Market. “Shoppers have become more sophisticated and adventurous in their food choices.” She also notes the recent move away from cow’s milk to alternatives such as coconut, almond, cashew and pea milks

and, of course, goat and sheep’s milks. To add to that, Canadian producers have upped their game. “Canadian goat’s milk farmers and cheese makers are bringing to market fantastic new products that rival the longstanding traditional European cheeses being imported,” she says. Adding to the buzz is that two major processors of cow’s milk have moved into goat milk production in recent years: Gay Lea Foods Co-operative acquired Hewitt’s Dairy in Hagersville, Ont., in 2014 while Montreal-based Saputo bought Woolwich Dairy, the largest goat cheese manufacturer in Canada, in 2015. Gay Lea officially began to process goat milk in November 2014, and today, the company manages around 40% of the goat milk produced in Ontario through brokering and processing initiatives. “It’s an exciting time in the North American dairy goat industry,” June 2017 Canadian Grocer


AISLES Goat products


CELEBRITY GOAT’S MILK BUTTER Made from 100% Canadian goat’s milk, this creamy butter is ideal for cooking—and it spreads like a dream.

IVANHOE AGED GOAT CHEDDAR Gay Lea’s aged goat cheddar boasts incredible flavour and texture. Look for the Jalapeño and Salsa varieties.

says Larry Hook, vice-president of sales and marketing at Gay Lea Foods. “More consumers are becoming aware of goat milk’s nutritional benefits and versatile flavour profile.” The Gay Lea product that Hook is most excited about is the new goat cheddar cheeses. “The Jalapeño and Salsa varieties are unique, while the aged cheddar we’re now introducing has great texture and flavour.” The company has also developed a goat sour cream that will launch this fall and plans to expand its line of goat milk– based dips, milk and butter products in the near future. Finica Food Specialties, through its Celebrity brand, got on the goat bandwagon years ago. It’s part owner of Mariposa Dairy near Lindsay, Ont., the second largest goat cheese producer in Canada. “Back in 2002 when we launched our Celebrity Cranberry & Cinnamon goat’s cheese, we helped build the demand for goat’s milk cheeses in Canada,” says Paul Blake, president of Finica Food Specialties. Now the Celebrity assortment includes numerous goat cheese varieties, a goat brie and, launched late last year, a goat’s milk butter. Churned from 100% Canadian goat’s milk, the butter is free of emulsifiers and colouring and is suitable for followers of kosher and halal diets. “It’s a niche product right now; we just got started,” says Blake. “We’re hoping that as more consumers try it,

they’ll discover how spreadable it is and how great it tastes.” Aside from goat’s milk products, Canadian demand for goat meat is also up. The lean, iron-rich meat is inexpensive, acceptable for Hindus and Muslims to consume and is kosher (if it’s not cooked in its mother’s milk). Its rising popularity is likely due to increased immigration from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, regions where goat meat is traditionally eaten. “Goat is definitely on the rise,” says Laurie Fries, the chair of Alberta Goat Breeders. “Canadians want good quality alternatives to frozen imported goat meat, and more people are looking for healthy and locally sourced product.” She adds that traditional farms are also beginning to incorporate goats into their regular operations. At this time, Canada can’t produce enough goat meat to keep up with the demand, so the meat is also imported from New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Because ethnic shoppers in Canada prefer to get their goat meat fresh at smaller ethnic stores instead of buying frozen product, it’s not easy to find goat meat in a regular grocery store. But eventually, if the demand for goat meat continues to grow, it will only be a matter of time before we see it in mainstream supermarkets. In the meantime, bring on the goat’s milk cheeses, butters and sour creams—goat’s milk products are here to stay. CG



June 2017 Canadian Grocer

Baguette Bagels

Califia lifi Farms F Almond Al d Beverages B and Cold Brew Coffees

A fresh take on gourmet bread

Artisanal plant-based beverages come to Canada

Ace Bakery’s new Baguette Bagel is all baguette in the shape of a bagel! With the creamy texture, airy interior and golden crust of Ace’s classic baguette, this baked good is ideal for grab-and-go snacking. In white and sesame varieties.

Califia Farms has launched its almond and cold brew coffee beverages in more than 400 Canadian supermarkets. These creamy, vegan drinks are clean label heaven: they’re dairy free, GMO free, soy free and gluten free.



AISLES Condiments

Good to the bone There’s lots of buzz around bone broth. It’s time to take stock SOME FOOD FOLKS ARE quick to dismiss bone broth as a fad, contending it’s simply old-school stock that’s undergone a slick marketing makeover. On the other side are devotees who trumpet its restorative qualities. These consumers credit bone broth—which is simmered for long stretches to extract things like collagen and minerals from the bones—for helping alleviate a range of ailments from arthritis to digestive issues, while also making hair shinier and skin brighter. While still a small category, the popularity of bone broth is showing no sign of fading among health-conscious consumers and foodies who find slow food and nose-to-tail cooking appealing. A number of companies are vying for a piece of the action. Here are a couple:

BONED BROTH is described by its makers as a “craveable functional beverage,” and is packed with collagen and protein. The B.C.-based company uses a 200-year-old Slovakian recipe and simmers its bone broth in small batches. Gluten, dairy and GMO free.


BROYA bone broth only uses bones from farms that raise animals in an ethical way so its broths are free of antibiotics and hormones. The Toronto-based company offers both chicken and beef bone broths that have been simmered for 24 hours.

Pour on the flavour HOW SAD IS A BURGER OR A HOT DOG without some ketchup, mustard or barbecue sauce to liven it up? With the summer entertainment season soon in full swing, let’s take a look at the state of condiment sales.

Condiment sales in Canada

Latest 52 Weeks, ending April 1, 2017

52 weeks to April 1, 2017

$ Sales (000’s)

$ Vol % Chg

Units (000’s)

Units Vol % Chg















5 4























































































































































1. Some like it hot. Chili sauce has climbed 7% in dollar sales and 4% in units.

2. A mustard malaise? In the latest 52 weeks, the condiment is flat with 0% unit lift and -1% in dollar sales.

3. Whether pitted or unpitted, it’s good times for the olive category. Sales are up in all olive segments.

4. Canadians are chowing down on chow chow. The pickled relish is up 15% in dollar sales and 9% in units.


June 2017 Canadian Grocer



RAW DEAL Ontario continues to wage war over raw milk. It’s high time to revisit this divisive issue THE TRIAL OF FOUR FARMERS charged with obstruction related to a raw milk dispute continues in Walkerton, Ont., this month. The charges stem from a well-publicized raid on Glencolton Farms in October 2015, when the farmers blocked police officers from seizing equipment under a warrant for alleged illegal distribution of raw milk products. The warrant, a result of an application by the Government of Ontario and three public health units, was intended to put a stop to raw milk distribution. Here’s the problem: on one side, raw milk advocates say they have the right to consume what they think is best, and argue raw milk is more beneficial to health than pasteurized milk. On the other side are federal and provincial laws that say it is illegal to sell


June 2017 Canadian Grocer

or distribute raw milk products because of the health risks posed from potentially harmful bacteria. The issue is that the laws in Canada were drafted years ago when cows were milked by hand, making it easier to spread germs. There wasn’t the same concern (or knowledge) on farms regarding sanitation as there is today. Raw milk advocates argue that the laws need to change. Look beyond our borders and you’ll see that more than a dozen U.S. states allow the sale of raw milk. It’s also commonplace in many European countries; sometimes raw milk is even available in vending machines. The 150 families who own Glencolton Farms under the Our Farms, Our Foods co-operative argue they are complying with

LOOK BEYOND OUR BORDERS AND YOU’LL SEE THAT MORE THAN A DOZEN U.S. STATES ALLOW THE SALE OF RAW MILK George Condon is Canadian Grocer’s consulting editor. He’s based in Toronto. condug@sympatico.ca

the current law, which allows farmers and their families to consume the raw milk they produce. It’s clear that government and health departments do not agree. Glencolton Farms has been raided in the past and there is some evidence the farm was also under video surveillance. At the centre of the controversy is Michael Schmidt, one of the farmers charged who lives on the farm. He’s been a raw milk advocate for more than 20 years. Schmidt has had to give up sizeable acreage to fight his ongoing court battles. During the first part of the trial earlier this year, one of the investigating officers had to retract an assertion that the charged farmers were “Freemen of the Land,” an extremist group, which led to their names being sent to a national database and border agencies, putting the men under additional personal stress. It also led to unnecessarily heightened security at the trial. “This is overkill,” said Beverly Viljakainen in a release, one of the witnesses called by the defence. “We are peaceful farm owners. The arresting officers put us in the category of domestic terrorists just because we want to continue drinking fresh milk from our cows. When will this absurdity stop?” Perhaps the operative word here is “absurdity.” As a former con sumer of raw milk, I must admit I side with the farmers. Government and local health units favour a draconian solution and spend unnecessary funds to enforce outdated laws that say raw milk should not be available to the public. If we aren’t going to remove the law from our books, then let’s at least use common sense and not enforce it. Canada has dozens of antiquated laws that are no longer enforced. Time to revisit raw milk. CG


George Condon






OCTOBER 3-4, 2017


Every business wants a bigger footprint. The Ford Transit Connect is big in all the right ways. It parks and drives like a midsize SUV, thanks to electric power-assisted steering, yet boasts space to grow. Bottom line? Transit Connect has the configurations, available technologies and options to fit any business like a custom-made work glove.

Meet the Transit Connect • Transit Connect Van with up to 148 cu ft of cargo space • Standard dual sliding doors for easy loading • Maximum payload 1,630 lbs* • Towing capacity 2,000 lbs**

MAKE US THE TEAM BEHIND YOUR TEAM. FORD.CA/BUILTFORBUSINESS *When properly equipped. Maximum payload with Transit Connect Van. Cargo and load capacities limited by weight and weight distribution. **When properly equipped. ©2017 Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved.

Profile for ensembleiq

Canadian Grocer - June 2017  

Canadian Grocer - June 2017