Welcome to the gluten-free, sushi-less Olympic Games

As with every aspect of the pandemic-postponed Olympics, the virus will cast a long shadow on how people are fed

Welcome to the gluten-free, sushi-less Olympic GamesThe Tokyo Olympic Games are finally upon us. Most of the attention will be given to the athletes, the sports, the empty stands and, of course, COVID-19. But every Olympics brings the gigantic task of feeding an entire village of high-performing humans from all over the world. In Tokyo, that means organizers need to feed…

The farm is merging with food retail spaces

Grocers are bringing the farm to the store so consumers can have both the farming and the retail experience at once

The farm is merging with food retail spacesCanadians have started to notice that grocers have begun to sell plants in miniature greenhouses. We’ve seen gardens on rooftops, vertical farms close to stores and even some selling gardening equipment to gardeners who are shopping for food. The farm is essentially merging with the food retail spaces we roam as consumers. It’s quite interesting.…

The kids are not all right when it comes to what they eat

It’s time for Canada to regulate marketing food to kids. But regulating marketing is no cakewalk

The kids are not all right when it comes to what they eatMost people would agree that protecting children should be our country’s utmost priority. Protecting children from unhealthy food products and fast-food chains has been the subject of many conversations. Ads for sugary food products geared towards children have been contested for years and some countries have opted to ban them, one way or another. The…

Grocers face dramatic changes in wake of pandemic

Nobody really knows how the economy will look as a return to normalcy progresses

Grocers face dramatic changes in wake of pandemicGrocers racked up millions of dollars in profits as they increased revenues during the first year of the pandemic. But numbers this year tell us tougher economic times await them. And the economy is just one part of the story. Nobody really knows how the economy will look this fall and winter as a return…

Bright future for cannabis as perspectives shift

It will be interesting to see how the market evolves and how Canadians will (or won’t) embrace cannabis in a post-pandemic economy

Bright future for cannabis as perspectives shiftIn 2019, the cannabis sector in Canada had its bubble burst. But its comeback appears promising. Players in the field are slowly getting their footing back and settling into a North American market that’s different from its pre-pandemic predecessor. More mergers and acquisitions are pointing to a more mature marketplace. But with cannabis, Canada and…

Food industry must tighten security in face of cyber attacks

What was once purely academic has become a reality

Food industry must tighten security in face of cyber attacksMeat processing giant JBS recently paid out a US$11 million ransom following a cyber attack, according to reports. Most of its meatpacking facilities, including the one in Alberta, remained idle for a few days. Most of us link the concept of cyber attacks with information technology companies, governments and media. But experts have warned the…

Jumping on the regenerative agriculture bandwagon

But what does that mean for consumers and suppliers?

Jumping on the regenerative agriculture bandwagonRegenerative agriculture is making some noise of late – so much so that some companies are making it a priority. Foods, the world’s largest producer of french fries, just committed to limiting its climate footprint, saying all its french fries will come from farms using regenerative agriculture by 2030. For consumers, this is supposed to…

Sugar-coating a sugar tax won’t make it any more palatable

If Newfoundland and Labrador pursues a sugar tax, it’s certainly not to get its people to lead healthier lives. It’s about paying bills

Sugar-coating a sugar tax won’t make it any more palatableIn its recent budget, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced it will introduce a tax of 20 cents per litre on sugary drinks, starting on April 1, 2022. This a first in Canada. So far we know very little about how the tax would work, which products would be affected and how revenues from the…

Food industry code of conduct finally gains traction

Recognizes that manufacturing - including farmers - are the anchor to the entire food supply chain

Food industry code of conduct finally gains tractionA new coalition led by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has presented a roadmap to peace within the food industry. It’s a positive step forward for the food production industry and consumers. For years, grocers have unilaterally imposed fees on their suppliers, with questionable excuses. While grocers maintained a hard line to protect margins,…

Are self-checkouts winning the machine-versus-human battle?

The pandemic is changing our unease when using self-checkout counters

Are self-checkouts winning the machine-versus-human battle?Only a few years ago, self-checkouts were seen as job killers by many Canadians. Grocers just didn’t know what to think of self-checkouts. And consumers had a love-hate relationship with them. Some saw them as job killers, replacing humans who desperately needed employment. Others quietly used them, either preferring a speedy exit or simply avoiding…

Reviving food service sector key to economic recovery

Living in fear is terrible and restaurants offer a great escape when Canadians can go out again, while taking proper precautions

Reviving food service sector key to economic recoveryAs we inch toward a more normalized economy, the focus will be on how we can make people feel more comfortable about going out and about again. Our economy needs it and our food service sector desperately needs it – but it’s not going to be easy. In a survey conducted in mid-May by the…

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…

Weaponizing science to justify protein choices a dangerous game

Suggesting humanity got it wrong by eating meat is unsupported by scientific evidence

Weaponizing science to justify protein choices a dangerous gameProtein wars have taken a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. Most of the attention was obviously given to the virus, variants, vaccines and how to keep safe. That makes sense. But since we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, proteins appear to be back in the spotlight. Just…

Surprise! Food prices are on their way up

Prices will go up by as much as five per cent this year, or almost $700 more for groceries for the year for an average Canadian family

Surprise! Food prices are on their way upWhat was purely an academic supposition a few months ago is now actually happening. Along with higher interest rates, inflation is likely to become one of this year’s biggest business stories. And food prices won’t be immune. Many agricultural commodity prices have skyrocketed over last year. Corn is up 84 per cent, soybeans are up…

Food sector gets budget help but there are gaps

Food sector gets budget help but there are gapsSpend, spend, spend – that’s the strategy. And green is the colour of choice. The environment is front, left and centre in the latest federal budget. Everybody is getting something to get more environmentally focused – well, almost everybody. While taxpayers won’t get a break any time soon, the federal government’s footprint in our economy…

Canadians facing rising food security challenges

Because of rising housing prices

Canadians facing rising food security challengesThe two necessities in life are food and shelter. It looks like both are getting much more expensive. For a few years, the cost of food has been the most important food affordability barrier. Not anymore. The cost of housing is now seen by Canadians as the most significant barrier. A recent poll conducted by…

Why a global approach to corporate taxation makes sense

Global taxation schemes always stall because fiscal policies are seen as ways for governments to influence their economies

Why a global approach to corporate taxation makes senseNobody wants to hear about higher taxes. It’s an unpopular and counterintuitive notion to those who believe taxation is a call of death for economies looking for growth. But the world is different now, which is why United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s call for a minimum corporate tax to stop the so-called race to…

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…

Buttergate compromises the farmer-consumer contract

Deep-rooted problems within dairy industry finally being exposed

Buttergate compromises the farmer-consumer contractThe Dairy Farmers of Canada should be commended for asking members to stop using palmitic acids in feed while launching a national investigation into the matter. For likely the very first time in its history, arguably the most powerful lobby group in the country opted to listen to Canadians. It’s not easy to admit publicly…

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,…

Will Canada finally get interprovincial alcohol trade?

A private member’s bill in Ottawa is offering Canadians a renewed chance to ‘free the beer’

Will Canada finally get interprovincial alcohol trade?Interprovincial alcohol distribution in Canada has always been a nightmare. For our wineries, breweries and spirit makers, selling alcohol to Americans is easier than selling to consumers outside their own province. Many Canadian alcoholic products like wines, beers and spirits have won international prestigious awards but can’t be sold to most Canadians. It’s simply ridiculous.…

As Canadians flee cities, rural living gets its mojo back

Pandemic has accelerated the flow of people fleeing cities, especially among young people

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many Canadians to move from cities to the suburbs and even the countryside. According to Statistics Canada, the phenomenon led to a record loss of population in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in 2020. Vacancy rates are skyrocketing in many urban centres across the country. The same phenomenon…

Eat your fruits and veggies for the sake of your immunity

One of the major pieces to building a strong immunity system is eating more fruits and vegetables

Eat your fruits and veggies for the sake of your immunityAccording to the United Nations, 2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Many couldn’t care less about a proclamation from a global agency that has been criticized over the years as being inner-looking and out of touch. Some of this criticism is certainly warranted but depending on the topic, these campaigns can bring…

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.…
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