Tim Hortons: the killing another of Canadian icon

Parent company RBI’s international expansion plans may well be behind the heartless Tim Hortons policies in Canada

Tim Hortons: the killing another of Canadian iconDestroying Canadian business icons seems to be a trend. In 2017, it was Sears. While employees were losing their pensions because of poor management, lawyers and consultants were receiving millions as the business was shutting down. Several Canadian retail icons have crumbled due to weak managerial strategies, from Eaton’s to Sears. Most closures, though, have…

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.…

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?

Government generally has little or no understanding of franchising, how food distribution forces play out or even simply how small businesses operate

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?Dramatically increasing minimum wages in the food industry is irresponsible and even reckless. On Jan. 1, Ontario’s minimum wage increased by 22 per cent, to $14 an hour. It will go to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. That’s almost a 32 per cent increase in 12 months. Other provinces, such as Alberta and B.C., will follow…

Taxing meat is an unpalatable proposition

Arguing that meat is the new tobacco is sensationalist nonsense, since tobacco is not essential to life and food is. Let the market evolve

Taxing meat is an unpalatable propositionImposing a sin tax on foods that are deemed environmentally detrimental seems to be gaining support. But little can be accomplished by taxing meat. For some, eating meat is considered a sin and therefore meat products should be taxed, like alcohol and tobacco. A new report published recently by a group called Farm Animal Investment Risk…

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…

How blockchain can revolutionize the foodchain

Blockchain would enhance agri-food transparency, productivity, competitiveness and sustainability

How blockchain can revolutionize the foodchainThe cryptocurrency revolution has introduced some interesting technology, notably the blockchain concept, which holds great potential for the agri-food sector. Blockchain is a way of storing and sharing information across a network of users in an open virtual space. The technology allows users to look at all transactions simultaneously and in real-time. In the food industry,…

Repair regional relations in Canada before it’s too late

If we want Canada to add up to more than the sum of its parts, we need to get our regional house in order

Repair regional relations in Canada before it’s too lateCanada is a big and diverse place. People, power, economic opportunities, public policy priorities, language and cultural nuances are not evenly spread from sea to sea to sea. It’s always been a struggle to make sure the various regions are working together, treated fairly and adequately represented at the national level. Lately, however, serious efforts…

The silent health crisis

Canadians have realized little health benefit from the billions spent on health information systems

The silent health crisisBy David Zitner and Dominic Covvey Atlantic Institute for Market Studies Airplane crashes are big – and bad – news. That helps drive the industry to improve airplanes and instrumentation, pilot training and air traffic control practices. Public awareness, then, provide part of the impetus for change. The debacle over the federal government payroll information…

New Brunswick’s tax strategy drains the economy

The Laffer curve shows us that taxing the rich too much simply drives down economic activity, and pushes the tax burden to mid- and low-income earners

New Brunswick’s tax strategy drains the economySometimes governments increase tax rates but actually end up with less tax revenue. New Brunswick is a good example of this paradox. The province’s income tax rates have been erratic over the last decade, particularly for the top tier of earners. The top rate of provincial income tax decreased from 17.95 per cent in 2008…

Let private enterprise retail cannabis in Nova Scotia

A private retail model offers more entrepreneurship overall, particularly in rural areas, and better distribution

Let private enterprise retail cannabis in Nova ScotiaAllowing private cannabis retailers in Nova Scotia would be most consistent with the One Nova Scotia Report and good for entrepreneurs. Yet the online survey the Nova Scotia government organized to ‘consult’ the public about cannabis distribution betrayed a preference for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. (NSLC) to monopolize retail. New Brunswick and Ontario will…

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…

Amazon and the slow death of the traditional grocery store

The Amazon effect has Loblaws and others reimagining their businesses. Consumers will have greater choice and convenience – from their homes

Amazon and the slow death of the traditional grocery storeThe bricks-and-mortar food retailing model is losing its lustre in Canada. The signs are everywhere. Loblaws is the latest grocer to commit to home delivery. Starting in December, the leading food retailer in Canada has an ambitious plan to deliver food for a fee from coast to coast. The company has spent millions to make…

Newfoundland needs a legislative budget officer

While no single solution will resolve the province’s fiscal crisis, an LBO would ensure that elected officials are informed in their deliberations

Newfoundland needs a legislative budget officerOur 40 members of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly are constitutionally required to deliberate and vote on billions of dollars’ worth of spending contained in budgets, supplementary estimates and program proposals annually. And yet outside of those select few MHAs who bear the title of finance minister or premier, our elected representatives lack…

Give us our daily bread: why a food cartel probe is necessary

The Competition Bureau’s investigation into bread pricing is likely intended to tell Canadian grocers to stop squeezing food processors

Give us our daily bread: why a food cartel probe is necessaryIs a bread cartel alive and well in Canada? The Competition Bureau is investigating major grocery chains in search of evidence of retail bread price fixing. Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Walmart and other companies have acknowledged the probe. Why is bread is being targeted by the bureau? Demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that grocers are colluding…

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…