The dark side of tipping your server

Tipping promotes age, race and gender bias, and make servers more vulnerable to sexual harassment from customers

The dark side of tipping your serverIn North America, the tipping culture has always been a source of pride, giving customers the last word when human interaction is involved. Good service deserves a good tip, while an unsatisfactory experience results in no reward for the server. In some European and Asian countries, the tip is included in the price at the…

The making of the COVID-19 generation

The lockdowns, and the economic wrath that followed, will leave a definite scar on the lives of many young people

The making of the COVID-19 generationPeople under the age of 30 will pay a dear price for the global pandemic and could even be renamed the COVID-19 generation. After almost five months, most would agree that the older generations – although perhaps medically affected by COVID-19 – have been largely unscathed economically. Baby boomers and older generations have lived long…

Livestock, dairy industries face pandemic fallout

The continued popularity of meat-fee diets may point to the damaging legacy of COVID-19 for some sectors

Livestock, dairy industries face pandemic falloutBefore COVID-19, the craze for vegetable proteins was palpable. All we heard about were sustainability, animal welfare and Beyond Meat. The health of the planet and well-being of animals became increasingly important factors to a growing number of Canadians, and it showed in the numbers. A few months after the great confinement started, some new…

As Canadians flee cities, food sector recalibrates

Grocery retailers must come to terms with serving a shifting population. And restaurants face learning to be more flexible

As Canadians flee cities, food sector recalibratesCanadians seem to want to flee urban centres. The food industry will need to keep a close eye on the trend. The real estate market is overheating in regions outside of major cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. Recent real estate reports suggest sales are up 20 per cent in many rural markets and…

What was gained from grilling grocery CEOs?

Witnesses testifying before parliamentary committees are often used as political puppets to support underlying agendas

What was gained from grilling grocery CEOs?Top Canadian grocers testified before a parliamentary standing committee last week to explain why all COVID-19 incentive programs in their operations were cancelled within hours. Most grocery store and distribution centre employees were paid extra at the beginning of the pandemic, only to see wages go back to pre-COVID levels now. CEOs who testified were…

Canada’s rising food insecurity problem

Food inflation is on the way up, despite lower prices for other consumer goods. And COVID-19 has impacted incomes

Canada’s rising food insecurity problemStatistics Canada has confirmed what most of us knew already: Canada is becoming a hungrier place. According to a survey conducted by the federal agency in May, almost one in seven (14.6 per cent) Canadians indicated they lived in a household where there was food insecurity in the past month. In 2017-18, a similar survey…

Online grocery retailing ramped up by Sobeys

Voilà delivery vans will offer one-hour grocery delivery in the Toronto area, with Montreal service next

Online grocery retailing ramped up by SobeysVoilà is the new benchmark in online food retailing in Canada, at least for now. More than 100 Voilà delivery vans will roam the streets of the Greater Toronto Area to deliver food to customers who have opted to buy their groceries online from Sobeys. At the centre of the fleet is a state-of-the-art distribution…

Dammit Jim! Where’s the waiter?

The use of robots can make the restaurant sector more robust financially and more secure from a public health perspective

Dammit Jim! Where’s the waiter?Canada’s first server-free restaurant has opened its doors in Toronto. Box’d is a fully-automated restaurant designed for life during a global pandemic. It’s an interesting concept but it makes you wonder what role humans can and should play in the food industry. Being aware of the new risks, we need to boldly move forward to…

Don’t be fooled by the COVID-19 cons

Don’t be fooled by the COVID-19 consWhen costs rise, most food companies adjust. Safe, fair and sustainable business practices are always a priority in this sector – almost. Several food science experts believe an increase in food fraud is inevitable due to COVID-19. The Food Authenticity Network advisory board, which includes more than 1,500 food science experts from around the world,…

Grocers move away from ‘hero pay’ model for staff

The economics of pay increases in the retail sector are always weak, especially in food retailing, which has low margins

Grocers move away from ‘hero pay’ model for staff‘Hero pay’ is quietly fading away in grocery stores and food distribution centres. That’s quite the reversal from 10 weeks ago. The American-based Kroger supermarket chain, among others, even asked employees to return the extra money they received. It has since backed off. It appears higher salaries in grocery stores were short-lived. It’s not overly…

Better get used to higher food prices

The food sector has never been recession-proof. But COVID-19 may show us that it’s immune to deflationary pressures

Better get used to higher food pricesDespite a negative inflation rate overall, recent Statistics Canada numbers tell us we’re in for a wild ride at the grocery store. While the general inflation rate sits at -0.2 per cent, the food inflation rate is at 3.4 per cent. In December, Canada’s Food Price Report predicted a food inflation rate of about 4.0…

Food-chain cracks exposed by COVID-19

Don’t blame farmers for euthanizing animals and dumping milk. The entire food industry is to blame – and we get what we deserve

Food-chain cracks exposed by COVID-19Millions of litres of milk are being thrown away, more than two million eggs are eliminated from the food chain, and pigs and chickens are being euthanized. There’s horror in the countryside. Throwing away good food when more than four million Canadians have lost their jobs is morally reprehensible. Farmers would be the first to…

Dairy renaissance could follow COVID-19

Providing comfort and good health, dairy products will be found in the middle of pandemic-driven consumer changes

Dairy renaissance could follow COVID-19Before COVID-19, the Canadian dairy industry was struggling with its image and its focus. For a growing number of consumers, it had become old and boring, and more people were hesitant to trust what was happening in the dairy sector. Farming communities were clearly not ready for the new attitudes and values shared by many…

Pet shops have a better chance of survival than farmers

Farmers were naive to expect much help from a government that’s obsessed with city-slicking ideas

Pet shops have a better chance of survival than farmersThe Canadian Federation of Agriculture really set the bar high with its $2.6-billion aid request last week. When a federal program barely worth $252 million was announced, the disappointment felt throughout the farming community wasn’t surprising. The funds were indeed underwhelming and won’t be enough to get some of those producers to stick around. Many…
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