Table set for grocery industry bloodbath

Traditional grocers are struggling to adapt to falling sales and weak food inflation as consumers become obsessed with convenience

Table set for grocery industry bloodbathDespite posting decent financial results this year, sales at major Canadian food retailers are tumbling faster than Niagara Falls. Coupled with a weak food inflation rate, the trends for the industry are deeply troubling. Recent Statistics Canada figures suggest the market shift many industry observers were dreading is indeed happening. Top grocers such as Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro are seeing…

The rise of the conscious (and often reluctant) carnivore

The meat industry must adapt as a growing number of consumers look for protein from a variety of sources

The rise of the conscious (and often reluctant) carnivoreCanadians are enjoying summer picnics and barbecues, and meat often plays a central role in the menu. But eating meat is becoming increasingly controversial, as is selling it. In foie gras-friendly France, a number of anti-meat incidents have been reported. In recent weeks, several butcher shops and slaughterhouses were sprayed with fake blood. Other protesters…

Federal carbon tax seems destined to fail

P.E.I. has added itself to the list of carbon tax opponents, following Premier Doug Ford of Ontario. And the list is growing

Federal carbon tax seems destined to failIf there ever was a federal carbon tax consensus in Canada, it's now dissolving. Rumours of its death have been floating for some time, but the recent Prince Edward Island announcement rejecting it has the feel of an unofficial invitation to its wake. Did the smallest provincial jurisdiction in the country kill Prime Minister Justin…

Tim Hortons rolling up the rim to win over China

The decision to export the Canadian corporate icon is a very aggressive global extension strategy that could pay off

Tim Hortons rolling up the rim to win over ChinaTim Hortons is going where the growth is: China. The Canadian institution announced it will expand its portfolio of 4,700 restaurants by signing a joint venture partnership with a Chinese-based equity firm. Tim Hortons has locations in the United States, the Arab Emirates, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. And it intends to open 1,500…

The trouble with edible marijuana products

Edibles scare Health Canada and the food industry, since they’re discrete, convenient and potentially dangerous

The trouble with edible marijuana productsOn Oct. 17, smoking cannabis will become legal in Canada. Cannabis edibles, on the other hand, will be legal in a little less than a year. Once cannabis-infused food products are available, things will get complicated in Canada’s food industry. But with the right regulations, this is a profit opportunity that doesn’t come by every…

Soup’s on: major upheaval awaits the food industry

Kraft Heinz may not get its hands on Campbell Soup, but the industry still faces major consolidation and widespread change

Soup’s on: major upheaval awaits the food industryCampbell Soup Co. stocks soared after news suggesting the company could be bought by Kraft Heinz Co., one of 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s pet projects in the food sector. Even though the deal is highly unlikely, the rumours point to a much larger story in food processing. Since 2013, the acquire-and-cut modus operandi has…

Tests help improve student achievement

P.E.I. introduced standardized testing and student achievement substantially improved. Other provinces should take note

Tests help improve student achievementThe latest test results from the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) reveal that Prince Edward Island students scored among the highest in the country. It’s impressive, but even more so when we remember that a decade ago P.E.I. scored at the bottom of Canadian provinces. One shouldn’t read too much into the results of one assessment,…

Buy Canadian economics carry a steep cost

While Canadians may embrace buying Canadian food products in retaliation for the trade dispute with the U.S., it won't come cheap

Buy Canadian economics carry a steep costCanadians are encouraging one another to go “Trump-free” – that is, to shop for groceries without buying a single American product. Even restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon by serving “Trump-free” dishes. These are interesting reactions in the face of Washington’s somewhat contradictory foreign trade policies. In a nutshell, here’s what happened following the G7…

Canada’s push for unfettered trade should begin at home

Supply management is protectionism by another name. And domestic protectionism shouldn’t be ignored as we seek freer trade

Canada’s push for unfettered trade should begin at homeA significant amount of ink is being dedicated on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border to the trade conflict that President Donald Trump precipitated at the end of the G7 meetings in Charlevoix, Que. Trump wants a better trade footing for the United States, pointing out that tariffs of around 270 per cent are slapped…

Dairy industry finally showing signs of common sense

Supply management 2.0 is finally here. To survive, farmers who see the writing on the wall will need to develop new skill sets

Dairy industry finally showing signs of common senseIt was not the G7 most expected. Not even close. But should we be surprised? As U.S. President Donald Trump lashes out on Twitter against Canadian dairies, Canada is beginning to realize that there may be no North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 2.0 after all. Washington is apparently aiming for two separate deals. But over…

In this trade war, mustard and ketchup are weapons

Ottawa seems to want to send a clear message to Washington, while offering Canada’s food industry an opportunity to grow

In this trade war, mustard and ketchup are weaponsWe are now officially at war with the United States – in a trade war, that is. In response to U.S.-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, Canada intends to do the same on other goods. So like any trade war, it could escalate. Canada will unlawfully implement counter measures that will take effect on July…

Shrinkflation: to control costs, food companies shrinking packaging

When costs rise, a food company has three options: raise the price, make smaller packages or change the ingredients

Shrinkflation: to control costs, food companies shrinking packagingRough estimates suggest that anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent of packaged food products in Canada have shrunk over the last five years. Consumers find this irritating, but given the economics of the food industry, the industry can hardly be blamed. Most consumers worry about the cost of food. We constantly look for bargains…

The economy is doing well, so why can’t Canadian grocers hike prices?

Grocers need to find a way to make inflation work for them and that means competing in the online market

The economy is doing well, so why can’t Canadian grocers hike prices?Retail food prices aren’t moving much. They’re barely higher than last year, up a modest 0.5 per cent. And according to Statistics Canada, prices dropped by 0.7 per cent over the winter months. U.S. grocers are dealing with the same issue. Since Canada's economy has some momentum, you would expect food retail prices to inch…

Nova Scotia increases health system complexity at the cost of actual care

Strangely, the health authority seems to believe that increasing the administrative burden on clinicians won’t decrease care

Nova Scotia increases health system complexity at the cost of actual careThe latest missive from the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) – sent to some doctors but not to the community at large – acknowledges the responsibility of the health authority for the sad state of primary care. In an April Department of Family Practice Update we see a development that imposes a costly and inefficient…

Comeau ruling defies economic – and common – sense

A Supreme Court ruling that there’s no ‘constitutional guarantee of free trade’ will stifle both competition and lower prices for consumers

Comeau ruling defies economic – and common – senseThe Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that provinces have the right to erect interprovincial tariff barriers. That’s bad news for Canadian consumers and the health of the national economy. It is, however, a relief for provinces that for years have allowed fiscal priorities to supersede consumer choice and common economic sense. In 2012, Gerard…