Canada’s food security depends on significant policy shifts

Food manufacturing lacks investment, suffers from thin margins, faces additional grocers’ fees and must deal with aging facilities

Canada’s food security depends on significant policy shiftsBy Sylvain Charlebois and Amy Hill Dalhousie University Canadian food and beverage manufacturing plays a key role in supporting farmers and the rest of the food supply chain. The second largest manufacturing sector, food and beverage, contributed $26.5 billion to Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. Just 10 manufacturing sectors –  including food manufacturing…

Edmonton startup in race to develop lab-grown meat

Industry poised for rapid growth

Edmonton startup in race to develop lab-grown meatA fast-growing Edmonton startup company that’s a new player in the cellular agriculture sector recently received US$2.2 million from three U.S. venture capital firms and a number of private investors. Future Fields, which was incorporated in 2018, was founded by two University of Alberta graduates and a former U of A employee. All but two…

Do Canada’s grocers need a code of conduct?

While food prices continue to climb in Canada, grocers’ fees, in addition to low margins, haven’t helped manufacturers benefit

Do Canada’s grocers need a code of conduct?Many Canadians are oblivious to the fact that, in the food industry, suppliers need to pay grocers to conduct business. Fees were justified by merchandising costs and shelf space – things anyone would expect. But in recent years, things changed. Companies like Loblaws, Walmart and Metro used infrastructure and capital projects to justify new fees.…

Independent grocers are a dying breed

Most Canadians wouldn’t know that a lot of the innovation we’ve seen in food retailing in Canada has come from independents

Independent grocers are a dying breedMost of us wouldn’t know if we were in an independently owned and operated grocery store unless a notice is posted somewhere as you enter the store or you ask someone. Canada regularly loses an independent grocer these days. Last week, we learned that Empire (Sobeys) would purchase one of Canada’s top premium independent grocers,…

Canadian food autonomy takes a big step forward

McCain Foods ups the ante in TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture

Canadian food autonomy takes a big step forwardWe learned recently that McCain Foods has upped the ante in TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture and its wholly-owned subsidiary GoodLeaf Farms, Canada’s largest commercial vertical farming operation. McCain has invested $65 million in GoodLeaf, making it the single largest shareholder in the venture. The idea is to create a national network of sustainable vertical farms that…

Restaurants face a great reset, thanks to COVID-19

Canada’s food service industry has suffered. But the pandemic may be exactly what it has been waiting for to make things better

Restaurants face a great reset, thanks to COVID-19It was certainly a year to be forgotten for the food service industry. Statistics Canada numbers told us this week that food service sales dropped a whopping 32 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2020. The food retail/service ratio, a key metric to assess how important food service…

Farm practices may have altered the quality of our butter

The increased use of energy supplements is leading to harder butter that doesn’t soften at room temperature

Farm practices may have altered the quality of our butterFor months, thousands of Canadians have taken to social media saying that they’ve noticed that butter sold in Canada is harder and doesn’t get softer at room temperature. Not all butter is harder but most is. Some people blame winter and the colder weather. The truth is more troubling than that. Disturbing reports now point…

Canadians still love meat, regardless of COVID-19

Recalls and plant shutdowns due to COVID-19 couldn’t keep Canadians away from the meat counter. But prices did reach the sticker-shock point

Canadians still love meat, regardless of COVID-19The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone on Earth one way or another, which is why the moment we are in is so unique. The way we consume food has also changed: how and where we buy it, and where we consume it have seen tremendous changes over the last 11 months. Proteins play a significant…

Chinese propaganda politicizing COVID-19’s origin story

China is effectively playing the victim card

Chinese propaganda politicizing COVID-19’s origin storyIf there’s one thing we’ve learned throughout this pandemic, it’s how the science related to the virus can be constantly politicized. And to change COVID-19’s origin story, that’s exactly what China is doing. Many are talking about vaccine nationalism, with concerns that some nations are racing to access as many vaccines as possible. It’s disappointing,…

Why a convenience store giant wants to be a grocer

Couche-Tard has a reputation of generating value by polishing hidden gems in companies like Carrefour

Why a convenience store giant wants to be a grocerWe heard this week that Alimentation Couche-Tard is looking at acquiring European-based Carrefour, the seventh largest food retailer in the world. Buying a grocery chain would be a significant departure from what Couche-Tard is known for. A non-binding, friendly offer of $25 billion was sent to Carrefour. Couche-Tard is all about the convenience store economy.…

Betting on the booming plant protein food market

Many consumers are revisiting their relationship with animal proteins, both at the meat counter and in the dairy products section

Betting on the booming plant protein food marketThink plant protein is just a passing fad? Think again. You likely noticed that the plant-based counter at your favourite grocery store is growing. There’s good reason: people are buying. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos surrounding containment and vaccination rules, consumers are quietly enjoying products made from plant proteins and milk alternatives. According…

Trudeau’s carbon tax short-sighted in so many ways

No thought as to how it could put many Canadian families in a state of food insecurity by 2030

Trudeau’s carbon tax short-sighted in so many waysCOVID-19 has had an impact on Canada’s food industry but, over time, resilience will prevail. However, the federal government’s pre-holiday announcement that it will increase the carbon tax to $170 per tonne by 2030 will have a long-term impact on consumers. Climate change is a real and significant problem. We need to act quickly, and…

The slippery ethics of paying grocery executives bonuses

COVID-19 has made us realize that many people whose jobs are too important to be interrupted are the ones earning the least money

The slippery ethics of paying grocery executives bonusesAlmost everyone agrees that grocery store workers should earn better wages, especially during a pandemic. In Canada, their hourly rate hovers around $15 an hour. New hires get about $13 an hour, while the highest paid earn almost $50,000 annually, or about $25 an hour. In a high-volume, low-margin world, salaries are what they are.…

The new pandemic-induced pet food economy

The pet economy represents tremendous growth potential for the food service industry. Pets are already influencing the market

The new pandemic-induced pet food economyAccording to a recent report by Narrative Research, 18 per cent of Canadians say they got a new pet since the start of the pandemic. That means more than 6.8 million pets were adopted since March. That can be added to the more than 16 million cats and dogs Canadians had in 2019, prior to…
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