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AVOCADOS The festive fruit that’s perfect year-round Miguel Barcenas, Strategic Consultant for Avocados From Mexico, shares his thoughts on why the avocado is the perfect go-to fruit for both nutrition and fun.
Are Canadians still eating plenty of avocados? Absolutely! Think of all your favourite gatherings (i.e., New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo, Canada Day) and no doubt avocados are a part of the celebration, adding a healthy dose of memorable Avomoments. In the past five years, avocados have become a go-to fruit for people in their 20s and 30s in particular. In fact, Canadians enjoyed more than 100 thousand tonnes of avocados last year and Avocados From Mexico made up nearly 95% of the Canadian market share.
How has the pandemic affected things? The popularity of avocados is inextricably linked to a healthier lifestyle. During the lockdown when people began to cook their meals mostly at home, they were looking for more nutritional choices and Avocados From Mexico fit the bill. Avocados are being used in everything from salads, burritos, smoothies and brownies to the ever-trending avocado toast. When the pandemic hit, we adapted our marketing tactics away from live events and in-store tastings to online, with more e-commerce programs so consumers could purchase avocados from the comfort of home. In addition, our social media strategy on Facebook and Instagram has played a crucial role in engaging our Avolovers. Avocados are trendy worldwide with more than 1.5 million posts on Instagram tagging #avocadotoast and 11.6 million #avocado.
What’s in the works for Avocados From Mexico? We will keep working to inspire and educate consumers, highlighting not just the health benefits but also the versatility of this superfruit through
multiple touchpoints. For a third year, Avocados From Mexico is back with its “Anytime Is Avotime” campaign. In the fall of 2021, we took Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square by storm with an onsite activation leveraging on the iconic brand jingle “Avocados From Mexico.” We’re also displaying colourful bins—some featuring a hockey vibe—in hundreds of stores across Canada, running promotions with major retailers and renewing a collaboration with Cornershop by Uber. As for 2022, we will be off to a strong start - be on the lookout for your TV screens! - thanks to the Super Bowl in February, Nutrition Month in March, followed by Cinco de Mayo in May.
What can grocers do in-store to meet shopper expectations? It is important to educate consumers on everything avo-related, from how to choose an avocado to tips on slowing or speeding up the ripening process. The avocado is an easy sell: it’s delicious, versatile and healthy. It’s also an excellent substitute for many ingredients in vegan recipes. Our avocados are easily identifiable by their sticker which guarantees their origin and quality. Avocados From Mexico, and more precisely those from the Michoacán region, are synonymous with freshness, quality and authenticity. THE FRESH REPORT 2022
BANANAS Bananas: looking towards a brighter future Banana news of late has warned of looming price increases due to pandemic-inspired supply chain issues. Meanwhile the sustainability of the world’s most commonly exported banana remains in jeopardy due to the Tropical Race 4 (or Panama) disease, the fungal strain that has been steadily destroying Cavendish banana crops around the globe for decades. Yet even with these challenges, the future of the world’s most popular fruit remains positive. Banana love the world over is spurring a host of innovative initiatives to save this sweet fruit from extinction, including breeding new varieties more resistant to disease and developing new uses for banana waste. Last year, French retail giant Carrefour introduced two new banana varieties, the Caribbean organic Pointe d’Or and a banana produced without insecticides using “agro-ecological” methods and blockchain technology. In India, farmers are popularizing banana flour as a versatile way to make use of banana waste. Industry stakeholders are also working towards improving sustainability in current banana farming methods. Certifications, like Fair-trade and Rainforest Alliance—which help farmers produce better crops, increase productivity, and reduce costs—also provide companies and grocery shoppers with a steady and secure supply of certified products. Additionally, sourcing certified products is helping businesses and suppliers meet consumer expectations. In May 2021, Longo’s became the first grocery retailer in North America to offer only Fairtrade bananas
in all its stores and since then, grocers like Nature’s Emporium have followed suit. In the meantime, the demand for organic bananas continues to grow globally, particularly in Canada and the US. According to the latest data from global technology research firm Techavio, the global organic market will grow at a compound annual rate of 9% between 2021 and 2025, with North American consumption contributing to 60% of that. As organic options become more and more mainstream among grocery retailers, social responsibility is turning out to be a key product differentiator. The World Banana Forum has partnered with IDH, the sustainable trade initiative, to start an online portal to promote more sustainable agricultural practices in the organic banana sector, and increase access to small producers in the value chain.
A banana boost Did you know bananas are healthier than apples, offering twice as many carbohydrates and five times the iron and vitamin A? Bananas are also packed with potassium and vitamin C, and contain high levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which regulate mood—and relax both body and mind.
THE FRESH REPORT 2022
From summer salads to winter soups, celery is a versatile and healthy option for consumers year round. Nichole Towell, senior director of marketing and packaging procurement at Duda Farm Fresh Foods (whose products are sold under the Dandy® brand), discusses key category trends and eating occasions for celery, as well as how growers can give sales a boost.
What’s the growing season for celery been like this year and how is the category performing overall? Canada’s celery growing season was excellent this year with some fresh stalk availability that carried over into late fall. The growing season in the U.S. has also been a great season with no relative issues. As the weather begins to shift to colder temperature, we expect to see demand increase for celery as the key ingredient for comfort dishes and soups. We anticipate the market to tighten during these times of higher demand.
Tell us about your product lineup and how you’re keeping celery in the spotlight. We offer a variety of fresh and fresh cut celery options to meet the needs of both retailers and consumers. Whether they are looking for a pre-portioned snack or something a bit larger to feed the whole family for a week, Dandy has it covered. Products include full celery stalks, celery hearts, and fresh-cut celery sticks in a variety of pack sizes ranging 1.6 ounces to 2.5-pound bags.
What continues to drive consumer demand for celery, and what are the eating occasions that make celery a year-round staple? Celery is such a versatile vegetable and can be used in many recipes as well as enjoyed on its own. Our marketing efforts engage with consumers by sharing recipes on social media as well as communication via email and frequent promotions to help drive demand year-round. The most popular celery eating occasions include the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving and Christmas (the holiday season), but Easter and the back-to-school
season are also important. During the warmer weather months, there is an emphasis on using celery in lighter dishes such as added crunch to a salad. During the colder months, celery is often used as a soup base.
How can grocery retailers boost sales of celery and drive repeat purchases? We all know price drives consumer sales, but there are a number of other ways to boost purchases. We encourage retailers to utilize bright and engaging displays that offer recipe inspiration, produce application or coupon discounts in the store. Cross merchandising is another great way to boost celery sales in store! Placing fresh dips in the produce section (especially near celery) offer additional ideas for consumers to combine and enjoy the product. Cross promotion with in-store coupons on the items that are merchandised together are also key to completing that path to purchase. THE FRESH REPORT 2022
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FRESH FROZEN Fresh and frozen are not something you typically hear when talking about juices, particularly cold-pressed juices. These are usually found in the grab-and-go section, while the freezer is reserved for traditional juice concentrates that need to be reconstituted before consuming. La Presserie changed that by offering premium-quality, unpasteurized cold-pressed juices and smoothies that can be sold directly from the freezer or in grab-and-go areas. Rich Rotzang, general manager of La Presserie, discusses trends in the category, its appeal to consumers and retailers, and what’s new from the company.
How is the fresh-frozen juice category performing in Canada, and what are some key trends? La Presserie is the only Canadian cold-pressed juice brand that we know of offering this type of product so we really are leading the category. Our coldpressed smoothie line has seen particular interest from consumers looking for an easy alternative to the frozen fruits and pucks they’re used to buying to make smoothies at home. The biggest trend we’re seeing is the move towards plant-based nutrition. Our products check all the boxes for health-conscious consumers: they’re vegan and plant-based, made with 100-percent raw fruits and vegetables, and have no added sugars, colours or preservatives. We expect this trend to continue, with consumers becoming even more educated on the benefits of raw plant-based diets.
convenience of thawing the product when they’re ready to enjoy it, without worrying about it expiring. For retailers, La Presserie juices create almost no shrink. Our frozen juices have at least a year shelf life from the date of production, and a minimum of two weeks when thawed. Retailers selling our refrigerated products can put out a few at a time and replenish when needed.
What are some recent product innovations from La Presserie? We’ve recently launched our frozen varieties of multipacks offering an assortment of kids’ juices, smoothies or vegetable-based blends that are perfect for lunches or snacking. Another addition is our line of plant-based, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable-based dressings, which have very little oil, and are never cooked, so they retain all their nutritional benefits. We also have a line of creamy dressings that are 100-per-cent vegan—this includes Caesar, Ranch and Dill.
What is the appeal of fresh-frozen juice for consumers and retailers?
How can grocery retailers boost sales of fresh-frozen juices?
Most cold-pressed juices are inherently healthy at the outset. They typically start by being pressed with slow hydraulic pressure which keeps the flavours, nutrients and enzymes intact. However, once pressed, these juices are frequently pasteurized using heat or high pressure to increase their shelf-life, which destroys some of their original goodness. We freeze our juices immediately after they’re bottled, locking in all the nutritional benefits, and giving consumers the
With samples, trial and both consumer and store employee education. We offer in-depth training for staff members on the benefits of cold-pressed juice, and the fresh-frozen format. To support product sampling La Presserie manufactures sample-size versions of all our juices and smoothies that are singleserve and COVID-safe. We also provide retailers with point-of-sale materials including door clings, shelf talkers and tags.
THE FRESH REPORT 2022
AWARD WINNING WORLD RENOWNED
THE SCIENCE OF SWEET We’ve cracked the code, run the numbers. The result is a new level of sweetness for every recipe and snacking occasion.
HEALTHY SNACKS Cloud 9® Tomatoes Offer a Sweet Opportunity for Canadian Families Pure Flavor® is making sure that parents never have to sacrifice nutrition when choosing sweet snacks for their family. The brand’s award-winning Cloud 9® BiteSized Fruity Tomatoes are a unique veggie snack that bursts with juicy sweetness and satisfies every kid’s sweet tooth. Since launching in early 2021, these premium, sweet, greenhouse grown snacking tomatoes have shown the power of fresh produce to help people across North America Live Deliciously®. They are redefining the category by offering families a convenient, healthy option that’s available year-round with consistent quality they deserve.
Cloud 9® Tomatoes have received awards and have gained the attention of consumers across North America. What sets them apart from the crowd? From the moment you try your first Cloud 9® Tomato, you know this is not like any other tomato – or any other fresh snack for that matter. Consumers of all ages are immediately drawn in by the unique, fruity sweetness in every bite, and after that first bite, they can’t stop snacking! What makes this a premium experience is the nuance behind that intense fruity sweetness. With every bite, the flavor develops, and you begin to appreciate the full experience: a tiny taste of heaven®. That vibrant, deep flavor has been attracting consumers to the produce aisle for snacks but has also earned the recognition of professional chefs for its versatility as a premium cooking ingredient.
What accolades have Cloud 9® Tomatoes earned? The flavor of these super sweet greenhouse grown snacking tomatoes is worldrenowned. They were a 2021 winner of the prestigious International Taste Institute’s Superior Taste Award, the result of blind sensory testing conducted by 200 jury members
comprised of head-Sommeliers and Chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants. Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes were also awarded the ChefsBest® Excellence Award after a rigorous judging process and Sensory Attribute Quality Analysis™ by a panel of executive chefs. Randi Coulthard, Acting CEO of ChefsBest®, said, “When evaluated along with other products in the category, Pure Flavor® Cloud 9® Tomatoes surpassed the standards required for the ChefsBest® Excellence Award.”
How does Pure Flavor® grow an exceptional snacking tomato like Cloud 9®? Everything comes down to the precise growing conditions, the selection criteria, and the dedication of our growers to meet the highest standard. In state-ofthe-art, hightech greenhouses, growers can carefully fine-tune the growing conditions from a smart phone, including air temperature, lighting, humidity, irrigation, plant nutrition, and more. When a plant is ready to be picked, trained teams’ hand-select each tomato according to a precise selection criteria that ensures only the best bear the Cloud 9® name. These teams are looking for a vibrant burgundy color and a signature teardrop shape – signs that the fruit has reached the perfect sweetness to meet the Cloud 9® Standard. Visit www.pure-flavor.com/cloud9
THE FRESH REPORT 2022
– CHOOSE QUALITY, TRUST PROFESSIONALS! Quality control at every stage of production
Respect of the welfare of animals
Care for the environment
Meat from Europe
Full traceability ‘from farm to fork’
Faithfulness to tradition
The content of this promotional campaign reﬂects only the views of its author and is subject to its sole responsibility. The European Commission is not responsible for any possible use of the information contained in the campaign.
Despite the steady flow of meat alternatives hitting the market, the average consumer isn’t giving up on animal proteins. In fact, NielsenIQ reports that the overall meat category in Canada has experienced a 12% increase in sales over the past year. The market research firm mainly attributes the growth in sales of beef, chicken and pork to the corresponding surge in home cooking amid the pandemic. While 82% of Canadians list meat as their primary source of protein, according to NielsenIQ, consumers are also looking for healthier, more ethical and affordable meat options. With many Canadians facing financial challenges as a result of COVID, consumers are seeking a bigger bang-for-their-buck resulting in increased sales of lower-priced cuts of meat. At the same time, widespread restaurant closures have motivated consumers to experiment with cooking different types of cuts at home, for example, whole cuts, particularly in the beef category hits a sweet spot of offering good value while lending itself well to more adventurous cooking and eating.
While 82% of Canadians list meat as their primary source of protein, according to NielsenIQ, consumers are also looking for healthier, more ethical and affordable meat options. While interest in recreating restaurant experiences at home continues to drive up meat sales, consumer consciousness about the ethics and sustainability of meat consumption continues to be important. According to research from NielsenIQ, 84% of Canadian consumers are concerned about animal welfare, while 59% prefer all-natural products. Canadians increasingly want to know where and how their meat is sourced. For example: Is it verified organic? How is it being raised? Is it 100% grass-fed?
Consumers are continually educating themselves and learning why certain farmers are implementing practices to be more sustainable. A 2020 report from Mintel suggests that eating healthier is a key reason Canadians who are eating less or no meat at all are choosing to do so. Some meat manufacturers are aiming to address this consumer concern with better-for-you meat product launches with less fat, no preservatives or artificial flavours or sweeteners. Whether it’s new cuts, new flavours or, better-foryou options, in-store signage, as well as print flyers and online pages highlighting these messages, can be helpful in driving sales. Grocers can capitalize on consumer demand for new cooking techniques by featuring online recipes with links to the required cuts. It remains to be seen if the recent boost in meat sales will persist as the country moves into a postCOVID era. Nielsen’s research suggests 78% of Canadians plan to continue consuming the same amount of meat they eat now. In addition, it doesn’t appear that plant-based proteins will dethrone meat any time soon, with Mintel predicting consumers will show continued interest in the meat cooking techniques they’ve picked up during the pandemic. Consumers have had the time to experiment and add cuts to their repertoire. Now that they have the skills, they will likely continue to use them, even as restaurants return to normal.
THE FRESH REPORT 2022
Good food for you!
MUSHROOMS Consumers are enjoying mushrooms more often, thanks to their beneficial nutritional profile and their adaptability in any meal. Erinn Stockman, Director of Sales for Windmill Farms, talks about performance and demand in the category, and explains what makes mushrooms so appealing for consumers and retailers.
What are you seeing in regard to demand for mushrooms, and what are some of the category trends? The Canadian mushroom market grew at a CAGR of 3.6 per cent between 2016 and 2019 to a market size of $590 million, and forecasts indicate the market will grow to $800 million by 2025, representing a six-percent CAGR moving forward. As a result, the demand for mushrooms continues to outpace supply in our marketplace. To help meet this demand, Windmill Farms is expanding our Manchester Farm in Port Perry, Ont. with the construction of 18 growing rooms and a new centralized pack house and distribution centre. The $35-million investment will contribute an additional 10 million pounds of fresh mushrooms to Windmill Farms’ annual production.
What is the appeal of mushrooms for consumers and retailers? The key demand drivers for the Canadian mushroom industry, including specialty mushrooms such as cremini and portobello varieties, are population growth, exports, and healthy and organic eating trends. Consumers are focused on healthy and functional foods and plant-based diets, and mushrooms are a superfood. Known for boosting the immune system, mushrooms contain riboflavin, niacin, copper and selenium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. They are also tremendously versatile, with a multitude of uses in soups, stews and sauces, as a side dish or entrée. Consumers are also blending mushrooms with protein and other ingredients to create innovative dishes and promote healthy eating habits.
What should consumers know about sustainability and safety in the mushroom category? We’re continuing to research compostable/ biodegradable packaging with the objective of eliminating single-use plastic containers, and we are looking at alternatives to the current PVC overwrap. At Windmill Farms we employ leadingedge cultivation technology in our growing systems, resulting in the consistent production of high-quality fresh mushrooms with a superior shelf life. Our quality assurance commitment to food safety protects our consumers and private-label partners. Our QA team has been expanded further this year and continues to outperform, scoring 98 per cent in a recent SQF audit and representing the top one percentile in scoring on a global basis.
How can grocery retailers encourage mushroom sales? We offer national brand and private-label packaging, merchandising and technical support for all of our customers in retail, wholesale and independent businesses. A major tip for our retail partners is promotion. As mushroom popularity grows, promotion is an excellent opportunity for retailers to spark consumer interest and build tonnage. When COVID restrictions allow we will continue to participate in in-store demonstrations, with a chef preparing simple dishes using our mushrooms as the main ingredient, for a more hands-on learning experience for the consumer. THE FRESH REPORT 2022
TEAM UP with
California Prunes This winter, California Prunes is teaming up with
10 professional Canadian athletes to share the health and nutrition benefits of prunes, inspiring Canadians to incorporate them into their diet as a healthy snack or ingredient.
of Canadians reported they would prefer to PURCHASE PRUNES FROM CALIFORNIA /USA than anywhere else*
Emma Lunder, Biathlete
California Prunes can help contribute to…
If you are interested in purchasing California Prunes or obtaining product information and prices, visit CaliforniaPrunes.ca/trade for a list of California Prune handlers. CaliforniaPrunes.ca | @CAprunesCAN *Based on an independent survey conducted by Rose Research in June 2021 among 1,502 English- and French-speaking male and female Canadians, aged 16 to 75, who are the primary grocery shopper and have ever purchased any dried fruit. Photo credit: Doug Stephen
California Prunes pack taste and nutrition Esther Ritson-Elliott, Director of International Marketing and Communication at California Prunes, shares her thoughts on why California Prunes should be on every grocer’s radar in 20222.
What’s new in the world of prunes? This is a time of big growth for California Prunes in Canada, as we have seen a 15% increase in market share from 2020 to 2021.* In the last two months of reported data alone, exports of California Prunes to Canada are up 15% in volume compared to the same period the year before!** We’ve just launched our “Team Up with California Prunes” campaign, which features incredible Canadian winter athletes and para-athletes, many of whom will be competing on the world stage in 2022. Our campaign is all about motivating Canadians in their own health/athletic journey, no matter their age, ability, or skill level. The importance of bone health, including the ways that California Prunes can proactively protect our bones, is especially relevant for the cold months of winter! Through their own voices and platforms, our athlete ambassadors will share California Prunes’ health and nutritional benefits.
What are the benefits of prunes? California Prunes are a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, which together support overall health and immunity. Research shows that nutrients found in prunes work together with calcium and vitamin D to improve bone mineral density, enhance bone formation and protect against bone breakdown for both men and women. In fact, more men are becoming regular purchasers of prunes, partly because of their health benefits.*** New research also suggests eating 5-6 prunes daily can improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including raising antioxidant capacity, improving
cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation in healthy, postmenopausal women.
What are some ways to add more prunes to your diet? • Add chopped prunes to salads for texture, sweetness and nutrients • Simmer prunes in sauces to complement proteins, like chicken and pork • Puree prunes to replace butter in baked goods, cutting calories and eliminating most fat • Puree prunes for a healthy boost to baby food • Blend them into your favourite smoothie for added nutrients, fibre and flavour • Add chopped prunes to desserts and baked goods Of course, California Prunes are the perfect snack all on their own.
How can grocers meet consumers expectations? When asked what factors were important when choosing prunes, taste ranked number one at 90%, followed by quality (89%) and health benefits (84%).*** Now more than ever, consumers also care about where their food comes from, and the California origin is an important value proposition. Consumers love that California Prunes are larger with the perfect balance of moisture, sweetness and texture. Given that California Prunes denote quality and premium taste, grocers can make them more visible. Display them in the produce department in addition to the snacking aisle. Leveraging the California designation and ensuring California Prunes are placed in the right areas of the grocery store can help satisfy consumer expectations and drive increased sales. Visit californiaprunes.ca for more information and recipe ideas.
* Trade Data Monitor Aug-Sept 2020 and 2021 ** U.S. Census Bureau Trade Data, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Aug-Sept 2020/21 *** Research conducted online in June 2021 by Rose Research among 1,502 English- and French-speaking male and female Canadians, aged 16 to 75, who are the primary grocery shopper and have ever purchased any dried fruit.
THE FRESH REPORT 2022
California Raisins. A natural choice.
NATURALLY SWEET, SUN-DRIED, AND A SOURCE OF FIBRE AND POTASSIUM
15% SALES OF SNACKING FRUITS, NUTS AND SEEDS ARE UP OVER THE LAST YEAR.1
California Raisins are a nutritious option for hungry snackers. Portable, and convenient, these little gems are a pantry asset!
97% OF CANADIANS RECOGNIZE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CALIFORNIA RAISINS. 2
Give more customers more reasons to buy. Raisins are a whole fruit, consider cross-promoting them in the produce department. California Raisins are also great in salads, smoothies and trail mixes.
59% OF CANADIANS KNOW CALIFORNIA RAISINS ARE THE BEST QUALITY IN THE WORLD.2
California Raisin farmers and packers take no chances when it comes to food safety standards. This includes stringent inspections, testing and grading in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure a top-quality product.
For more reasons to love California Raisins, visit: @raisins.ca CaliforniaRaisins.ca *Canadian Grocer – Healthy hits the spot **Raisin Administrative Committee – Canada Evaluation, Rose Research LLC
California Raisins: The double duty pantry staple raising the snack and ingredient game Tim Kenny, Vice-President of Marketing at the Raisin Administrative Committee, oversees promotion of California Raisins and has more than 20 years of experience developing natural and nutritious food brands at leading international companies. He shares his insights on why raisins are becoming more and more appealing as a snack and kitchen staple.
How has COVID-19 impacted the market and raisin trends among consumers? COVID-19 impacted the entire supply chain. It prompted changes in how all produce—including raisins— is harvested and processed to protect workers. California Raisin growers and packers were swift to adapt, never wavering in their ongoing commitment to produce the world’s best raisins. The pandemic also spurred many changes in consumer eating habits, increasing snacking, baking and cooking at home, along with a desire to eat more natural, healthy foods. Raisin consumption in Canada has increased due to these trends. Consumers also have a growing interest in avoiding added and artificial sugars, which is spurring interest in natural sweet ingredients, including raisins. Recent changes in Canadian labeling laws now group “sugar-based” ingredients together in the nutrition facts label enabling consumers to better identify all sources of added sugars. California Raisins, like other whole fruit ingredients with no added sugar, do not get included in this grouping as they contain added nutrients, such as fibre and potassium. Most Canadians don’t consume enough potassium, which is important in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
How are consumers using raisins, and are there specific demographics eating more?
Many Canadian consumers of all ages are consuming more raisins for a variety of reasons. Older Canadians
are baking more as they spend time at home and rediscover family favourites, like cinnamon raisin bread, oatmeal raisin cookies, carrot cake and butter tarts (with raisins of course). Younger Canadians are also snacking more on raisins, as this convenient and portable snack provides a quick boost of natural energy with no added sugar.
What can grocers do to promote/educate consumers about raisin benefits? California Raisins are a great product to feature in your nutrition communications, whether on grocer websites or in weekly flyer ads. To further enhance visibility and increase sales, grocers should consider secondary displays to help shoppers rediscover the naturally sweet goodness of California Raisins. They can display California Raisins: • In the produce section for consumers looking for other whole fruit options, especially when other fresh fruit is less plentiful • In the baking aisle during holiday baking season with a recipe for butter tarts or rum raisin pudding • With nuts in the summer months under a “Make Your Own Trail Mix” theme • Next to oatmeal with recipes for oatmeal raisin cookies and/or overnight oats to spur sales of both products. For more information about California Raisins, along with tasty recipes, please visit californiaraisins.ca THE FRESH REPORT 2022
SALAD KITS Salad kits remain a consumer favourite for their health, convenience and versatility, especially as producers launch kits with flavourful and nutritious combinations. Amanda Knauff, director of Sales for Taylor Farms Canada, the leading chopped salad brand in Canada, discusses trends in the salad kit category, its continued appeal with consumers, and a delicious new product innovation from the company.
How is the salad kit category performing in Canada, and what trends are you seeing? Salad kits are the largest segment within the valueadded salad category, with 5% dollar growth in the last 12 weeks compared to 3% for the overall category. Chopped salad kits are driving this growth within the salad kit segment, with a 19% increase in the last 12 weeks. The salad kit category continues to expand as consumer demand increases for high-flavour, innovative varieties such as Taylor Farms’ Watermelon Crunch and Guacamole Crunch. Our Dill Pickle Kit is our top preference for consumers.
Why are salad kits so popular with consumers? Canadians are strapped for time and don’t always have the energy to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals. They’re on the hunt for simple, convenient ways to enjoy restaurant-inspired meals in minutes, with quality products that are clean label and full of plant-powered nutrition. Free from any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, Taylor Farms’ Chopped Salad Kits are the foundation and inspiration for a variety of meals because they provide a quick and easy way to enjoy a nutritious, quality meal. Consumers are also seeking products that deliver appetizing flavour profiles and international cuisine such as Mexican, Korean and Thai. Taylor Farms allows consumers to create a new flavour adventure each night with a variety of salad kits, including Thai Chili Mango and Buffalo Ranch. And because of their versatility, consumers can customize their salad kit in so many ways. Add smoked salmon to your Everything Chopped Kit or wrap your Caesar Chopped Kit with a tortilla!
Are there any recent product innovations from Taylor Farms? Taylor Farms prides itself in its unique innovation, sourcing of quality ingredients, and carefully curated blends of vegetables. We recently launched a one-ofa-kind Watermelon Crunch Chopped Kit using a light vinaigrette made with real watermelon, combined with almonds, toasted watermelon seeds and feta cheese. Canadian summer months are beautiful, and we wanted to create an edible celebration of that beauty through a quintessential flavour that inspires people to enjoy the season.
How can grocery retailers encourage sales of salad kits? Grocery retailers play an important role in boosting sales for salad kits. An increase in flyer exposure throughout the store and in advertisements, coupled with promotion on social media, can help drive consumer awareness towards products they may not have considered in the past. In addition, grocery retailers can cross-promote with Taylor Farms’ Fresh Department to promote quick, nutritious and delicious meal solutions. We also collaborate with social media influencers who target our key demographics to create impactful, positive campaigns introducing consumers to their new favourite salad kits. THE FRESH REPORT 2022
TOMATOES Consumer demand for healthy foods continues to climb, and the popularity of tomatoes is growing along with it. To meet demand, Red Sun Farms is boosting its stake in greenhouse tomatoes (along with peppers and cucumbers) with big investments in its operations. Harold Paivarinta, Sr. Director of Sales at Red Sun Farms, discusses the grower’s expansion plans along with key category trends and product innovations.
What are the key trends in the category? The health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables are always important factors for consumers as they look at ways to improve their wellness through healthy eating. Responding to consumer demand, we are making significant investments in our facilities, which will bring Red Sun Farms to 788 acres in 2022. This includes 223 acres (52 lit) in Ontario, 537 acres in Mexico, and 28 acres (10 lit) in the US. Another big trend is sustainability. Red Sun Farms has focused our sustainability initiatives in a couple of key ways. We will begin planning for the second season of our winter pepper crop with our oneof-a-kind LED technology that will supply Ontario peppers year-round. This unique technology recreates and modulates the full spectrum of the sun's natural light, essentially enabling the farm to de-seasonalize productions. Our farms have also been utilizing sustainable practices in water recycling, yield optimization, and minimizing food waste. We’ve also worked closely with our packaging suppliers to develop new and sustainable options. This has resulted in the commercialization of recyclable flow wraps, increased recycle content in clamshells, fibre punnets, compostable PLUs, and labels with washable adhesives.
What are some recent product innovations? Our product innovation delivers a whole new eating experience through flavour and quality. In the Sweets Family, Sweetpops is quickly redefining our snacking
tomato standards. This variety is all about delivering an explosion of flavour, in a snack-size tomato. As a sweeter-than-sweet snacking tomato, Sweetpops has already established a dedicated consumer following that has connected with the brand and redefined the expectation of sweetness in tomatoes. The packaging was designed with the millennial generation in mind. It creates a connection and makes the exploration of this tomato an experience.
How does Red Sun Farms encourage consumption? We deliver the highest quality and best flavour to ensure an unforgettable eating experience through our variety selection process. The Red Sun Farms team is always creating new recipes designed to showcase our tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. These inspirational recipes are delicious and will get the creative juices flowing. THE FRESH REPORT 2022