Grocers finally join the blockchain party and consumers should rejoice

The idea is to better manage food recalls, farm to fork and back, and to tackle the intricate issue of food fraud

Grocers finally join the blockchain party and consumers should rejoiceWalmart, the largest retailer in the world, recently notified its leafy green suppliers that they will need to use blockchain by the end of next year. Walmart is banking on its relationship with IBM to put pressure on the entire sector to comply with what consumers want from the food industry: more transparency. But others…

Meal kits set the table for a new food retailing boom

Instead of takeout, consumers can choose a meal kit that allows them to whip up an appealing dish in minutes

Meal kits set the table for a new food retailing boomMeal kits are sweeping across North America. It’s the perfect trend for consumers who want to be empowered by cooking but still need convenience. For example, Walmart has just partnered with Gobble to deliver meal kits. In the battle over the future of food consumption in the U.S., Walmart wants a fighting chance against the industry’s…

Online grocery stampede changing the food retail landscape

The Amazon-Whole Foods buyout shocked the grocery world and is now leading to death by a thousand cuts for the food industry

Online grocery stampede changing the food retail landscapeOne after the other, grocers are going online. All of them, at some point over the last 12 months, have announced some sort of commitment to an e-commerce strategy. Costco launched its home delivery pilot in Ontario, while Maxi, Loblaws’ discount stores in Quebec, jumped on the virtual bandwagon with their Click and Collect program.…

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…

The plastic bag pollution paradox

At least 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are floating in our oceans but we struggle to find packaging alternatives

The plastic bag pollution paradoxBy Sylvain Charlebois Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Tony Walker Dalhousie University An increasing number of people are voicing concerns about our use of plastics day-to-day. Single-use plastics of any kind – such as grocery bags, cutlery, straws, polystyrene and coffee cups – are significant yet preventable sources of land and marine pollution. In…

Minimum wage hikes serving up uncertainty in food industry

A 32 per cent increase in the minimum wage in 12 months is simply irresponsible

Minimum wage hikes serving up uncertainty in food industryThis is turning into a very challenging year for the Canadian food industry. Recent Statistics Canada numbers indicate that grocers are in trouble. Food inflation is above two per cent for the first time since April 2016. This is typically good news for grocers, increasing their margins. But given major headwinds affecting the industry, grocers…

The genius of Loblaws’ $25 gift card campaign

This PR masterstroke by Loblaws has allowed the company to take control of the narrative and dodge, for now, consumer mistrust

The genius of Loblaws’ $25 gift card campaignLoblaws’ gift of $25 to all Canadians is really just part of a smoke-and-mirrors campaign. In December, Loblaws confessed to running a price-fixing scheme on bread with supplier Weston Bakeries, a sister company. As of Jan. 8, anyone can go online and register for a $25 gift card, to be redeemed at any Loblaw Companies Ltd.-owned stores.…

Loblaw, Weston bake the numbers, burn consumers

As shocking as it was, most of us will eventually forget Loblaw‘s admission of price-fixing. Let’s hope the industry doesn’t

Loblaw, Weston bake the numbers, burn consumersMost Canadians were stunned and dismayed to learn that the country’s leading grocer was caught up in a price-fixing scheme with bread-maker George Weston Ltd., which is owned by the same company. The scheme lasted from 2001 to 2015. As a result, Loblaw Companies Ltd. fired several people and gave $25 gift certificates to millions…

Grocers seek to restock the industry with innovation

Recent Canadian grocery sector layoffs are about redefining business models more than trimming costs

Grocers seek to restock the industry with innovationDownsizing is never easy. And just weeks before the festive season, reducing staff is bad for morale. But industry changes are forcing Canada’s grocers to rethink store structures, including staffing. Metro let 250 people go recently. Loblaws announced 500 layoffs. Then Sobeys said it was cutting 800 employees – about two per cent of parent…

The rise in ready-to-eat: grocers adopt restaurant tactics

The ‘grocerant’ model is going mainstream, driven by consumers who want quality, convenience and reasonable prices

The rise in ready-to-eat: grocers adopt restaurant tacticsLike hip sectors such as the high-tech industry, the food industry is developing a lingo to describe market shifts. The term ‘grocerant,’ a combination of grocer and restaurant, has been around for a few years but is going mainstream now. Grocerant accurately captures an emerging food industry trend. According American market researcher NPD Group, grocerants generated…

Amazon’s appetite for disruption takes a bite out of the food industry

Given its ability to fuse efficient distribution and strategic market insight, the e-commerce giant could well become the leading food retailer in North America

Amazon’s appetite for disruption takes a bite out of the food industryAmazon is intent on becoming the world's most powerful retailer, with the help of food sales. Amazon's US$13-billion takeover of Whole Foods isn’t shocking. It’s been rumoured for months. Now the mammoth Amazon, with its large revenues and small profits, has confirmed those rumours by making the biggest deal in its history. And acquiring troubled…

Multinationals face new pressures in grocery stores

Consumers increasingly want fresh, unprocessed food. The middle of the store now sees less traffic and that’s clearly affecting sales for most grocery products

Multinationals face new pressures in grocery storesSkippy peanut butter and Dad’s chocolate chip cookies are gone from the Canadian marketplace. If you feel sad about seeing these iconic brands go, brace yourselves. It’s just the beginning. Within days, two major U.S.-based food multinationals pulled well-known brands from the Canadian market. Mondelez International discontinued the iconic Dad’s cookies and Hormel Foods pulled Skippy peanut…

Generation X the lost food generation

Generation Xers grew up in an era when food was functional and boring. As a result, many don't cook and have little interest in the culinary culture

Generation X the lost food generationGeneration Xers don’t cook. They never acquired the skills. Most of this group (born between 1965 and 1976) grew up when food was essentially an afterthought. Different generations have different relationships with food and cooking. Recent studies show that baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have time to cook and most do. Millennials (born between 1977…