Food for Thought
Grocery Foodservice


December 2021

GS1 Canada is pleased to bring you the holiday edition of Food for Thought. With every edition, we bring you the latest insights, news and trends across the grocery and foodservice industries.

What's Happening at GS1 Canada

Looking Back on This Year at GS1 Canada

Another busy year has come and gone at GS1 Canada, and what a year it has been! As we look back on the past 12 months, a few moments stand out as particularly memorable.

March 31 marked the 50th anniversary of the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), whose story began on that day in 1971 when industry leaders in grocery came together and agreed to use a universal product code for product identification. That historical meeting paved a long path that has led to stronger, more resilient global supply chains. Today, GS1 barcodes are scanned 6 billion times around the world every single day! GS1 Canada celebrates this historic milestone and looks forward to the next 50 years of innovation, collaboration and leadership.

Eileen Mac Donald

On April 30, we said goodbye to Art Smith, our beloved founder and former CEO who retired from his role, and welcomed Eileen Mac Donald as our new CEO and President. After 6 years as President and 19 years at GS1 Canada, consistently delivering innovation and performance improvements through her ability to build trusted relationships and understand the business reality, Eileen was the Board of Governor’s natural choice to become the next CEO. We are excited to see what the future holds under Eileen’s leadership!

Canada Plastics Pact

In August, GS1 Canada partnered with the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP). The CPP launched earlier this year and unites leaders and experts in the national plastics value chain to collaborate and rethink the way we design, use and reuse plastic packaging in Canada. Through our partnership with the CPP, GS1 Canada affirmed our commitment to sustainability in plastics and plastic packaging throughout the supply chain.

Health Canada recently conducted a consultation on the introduction of a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system for medical devices in Canada. A UDI system is currently used in the United States, Europe, China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan. Health Canada’s leadership brings Canada one step closer to benefiting from a national Unique Device Identification (UDI) system in Canada’s healthcare system. Thank you to everyone who sent letters and submissions to Health Canada in support of GS1 Canada and GS1 global standards!

Promote Your Products Made in Quebec

Local businesses are at the heart of our communities, and since the start of the pandemic, there has been a drastic consumer shift towards buying products made locally. The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) and Aliments du Québec (ADQ) have launched various initiatives to promote the sale of Quebec food products, and have identified how GS1 Canada’s ECCnet Industry Managed Solutions can help support these initiatives.

We invite you to read the attached letter from Quebec industry trading partners and follow the steps outlined within to expedite the movement towards food self-sufficiency and to promote local purchases. Industry is requesting your participation to identify products that are of Quebec origin in GS1 Canada’s ECCnet Registry, Canada’s largest national product registry and is a trusted source of truth for Canadian businesses.

GS1 Canada is proud of our role as trusted industry partner, bringing communities together to help organizations improve their business processes through the use of GS1 global standards and our industry-directed solutions, tools and services.

Ensure your Compliance to New Health Canada Food Labelling Requirements

In 2016, the Government of Canada introduced new food labelling regulations in support of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy to help Canadians make heathier choices. These changes were outlined in the Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations Related to Nutrition Labelling, List of Ingredients and Food Colour Regulations.

The transition period for the 2016 nutrition labelling changes is currently set to end on December 14, 2021. However, given the challenges imposed by COVID-19, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will focus its efforts on education and compliance promotion for the first year, until December 14, 2022. For more information, visit the CFIA guidance webpage.

Over the past four years, GS1 Canada has been aligning our systems with these changes to nutritional content so that mandatory attributes are in place for the new regulatory requirements to help ensure your compliance.

If your product label has changed to meet the new nutritional requirements, you will have to:

  • Re-submit your products for Product Image and Data Capture, if applicable.
  • Log into myGS1 and re-certify products in Product Certification – Nutritional Content and/or update ECCnet Registry, if applicable. For more information, please refer to our FAQs.

This will give your trading partners confidence in the accuracy of your product content and ensures your compliance with the Health Canada requirements.

If you have re-formulated your product, you may require a new GTIN. To find out more, visit

If you require assistance, email For more detailed information about how GS1 Canada is supporting your business through these changes, visit our FAQs.

For more information about the Health Canada food labelling changes, click here.

Improve Your Online Offerings with Enhanced Assets

To support the explosive growth of digital commerce, you can optimize your investment in digital marketing assets with our Enhanced Assets tool, available through The Vault. Enhanced Assets supports online sales by providing access to digital assets to influence customer buying decisions with the information they have come to expect on digital commerce platforms.

The Biggest Product Enhancements of 2021

GS1 Canada is continually improving our industry-directed solutions, tools and services to better serve our subscribers. Here are some of our biggest and best improvements and enhancements of 2021:

  • Strengthened cybersecurity: With migration of ECCnet to Microsoft Azure from July 2021 onwards, all GS1 Canada cloud-based solutions will inherit state-of-the-art Microsoft Azure security processes, making the ECCnet infrastructure resilient to attack, safeguarding user access to the environment, and helping keep customer data secure.
  • Reduced ecommerce certification window from 30 to 15 days: Accelerated the flow of ecommerce data.
  • Launched Enhanced Assets: Enabled loading/sharing of secondary or “enhanced” digital assets for grocery and foodservice subscribers.
  • Streamlined subscription signup process: Updates include activation in less than a minute, upfront pricing and simple and fast onboarding.

Congratulations to all Star Women in Grocery Award Winners

GS1 Canada was a proud industry partner for the 2021 Star Women in Grocery Award Ceremony. Congratulations to all 2021 winners! As a strategy industry partner, we are committed to supporting the success of women in the grocery industry – and across all industries and sectors.

See the list of winners here.

Through GS1 Canada’s Women in Leadership program, we are also committed to supporting the success of women across our own organization.

What's Happening at GS1 Global

Global Highlights from 2021

GS1 Global had a lot of successes to celebrate this year. Let’s look at some of the highlights from 2021:

In February, Google endorsed the use of GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to help enable three essential factors for accurate and trusted product data: unique global identifiers, the ability to verify the identity of each product and a product identification system with global reach. Google relies on product data to precisely identify products that are available for shoppers and highlights the need for GS1 GTINs to provide data that is 100% accurate and complete. Read the related Google article here.

From March 1 to 4, GS1 Global successfully executed its first ever virtual Global Forum. The GS1 Global Forum is the global annual event to align the strategy for GS1 member organizations, inspire and strengthen the GS1 staff around the world. The virtual event enabled greater participation and higher attendance numbers, with 2,711 participants from 111 GS1 Member Organizations attending. In case you missed it, visit the post-event website for more details and videos from the event.

More recently, in August, GS1 was appointed to the Industry Advisory Board of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to support the Digital Standards Initiative (DSI), the global program working to establish a harmonized, digitalized trade environment. As Industry Advisory Board member, GS1 is part of a group of global and regional bodies working on different aspects of global commerce and business communication. Learn more here.

The GS1 Global Data Model (GDM) eLearning course has recently won a Brandon Hall Group Silver Award in the category of Best Advance in Creating an Extended Enterprise Learning Program. GDM simplifies and harmonizes the exchange of product data to benefit brand owners, retailers and consumers. Take the award-winning course here.

Earlier this year, the GS1 Innovation Board published the second edition of their Trend Research report, titled Trend Research 2020-2021: Navigating the next normal. The report analyses the top business trends and enabling technologies in the context of the disruptions of 2020 and offers recommendations to industry and GS1 on how to navigate the new reality. The technologies discussed within include verifiable credentials and decentralized identifiers (DIDs), IoT sensors and biometrics, artificial intelligence (A.I) and autonomous logistics. Read the report here.

TrueSource™ Dashboard

Good Business Requires Great Data

TrueSource™ Dashboard is a value-added data excellence tool that provides visibility to the status of your product image and data content across all industry solutions in one place.

TrueSource™ Dashboard enables you to:

  • Quickly identify and address gaps in your product image and data content. Manage your product catalogue to 100% completion.
  • Use the Deleted/Discontinued report to help you maintain an up-to-date Marketing and Planogram repository.
  • View the status of your GTIN Discrepancy Report to help address and resolve any pending discrepancies with your trading partners.

Get Started Today

Subscribers to any of GS1 Canada’s ECCnet Industry Managed Solutions (IMS) have access to TrueSource™ Dashboard as part of their subscription. You can access TrueSource™ Dashboard under the My Tools section of your myGS1 home page.

To learn more and view the full list of data recipients currently using this tool, visit the TrueSource™ Dashboard webpage.

New Data Recipients on TrueSource™ Dashboard

The North West Company

The North West Company is a leading retailer to underserved rural communities and urban neighbourhood markets in the following regions: Northern Canada, Western Canada, rural Alaska, the South Pacific islands and the Caribbean. Their stores offer a broad range of products and services with an emphasis on food. Their value offer is to be the best local shopping choice for everyday household and local lifestyle needs.

UNFI Canada

UNFI was founded by true pioneers in 1976. Since then, they’ve been making bold moves to impact the food industry through scale, service, and sustainability. Ongoing discovery is part of their DNA, and they’ll always be building better and pursuing what's next from a people, product and process standpoint to transform the future of food for all.

Ike Enterprises Inc.

Ike Enterprises, the parent company of Left Coast Naturals, is an organic and natural food manufacturer and distributor based in Burnaby, British Columbia. Ike Enterprises distributes over 30 brands, 200 bulk foods, and three of their own brands - Hippie Snacks, Left Coast Bulk Foods and Left Coast Organics - to grocery, specialty and natural food stores across Western Canada.

Your Questions Answered

Question: How Can I Validate That My Barcodes Will Work at Point-of-Sale?

GS1 Canada subscribers in good standing can submit products, print proofs or labels to be tested using our Barcode Scan Verification service.

  1. Access the Content Capture Service Request tool and click “Create Content Capture Service Request”. You can get access to Content Capture Service Request by registering for The Vault or The Vault – eCommerce.
  2. Follow the onscreen instructions to create a new Barcode Scan Verification request.
  3. Use the calendar under “Scheduled Week” to choose the week you want to send in your print proofs, labels or products. The first day of the chosen week is Monday and is highlighted in blue.
  4. Print your Shipping Manifest by clicking the “Manifest” button
  5. Send the printed Shipping Manifest, along with your products, print proof or labels to be tested, to our Montreal studio. The shipping address is:

    GS1 Canada
    9200 boul. du Golf
    Montreal, QC
    H1J 3A1 Canada

Industry News

Top 10 Trends for 2022: Whole Foods Market

Experts from Whole Foods Market have revealed their top ten most anticipated food trends for 2022. The trends range from sustainable farming practices to exciting ingredients from around the world to new takes on familiar favourites.

Here are some of the trends to expect in the coming year:

  • Ultra-urban farming: producers are finding new, boundary-pushing ways to grow hyper-local crops and maximize efficiency.
  • Buzz-less spirits: a new lineup of drinks that provide the taste and sophistication of cocktails without the buzz.
  • Grains that give back: grains grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health.
  • Functional fizz: sparkling drinks that not only taste great but also offer ingredients that balance out the sweetness.

Read more here.

Upcoming Events

Check out these upcoming virtual grocery and foodservice industry webinars and events.

Night to Nurture Gala
January 29, 2022
Virtual and in-person

RC Show
February 27, 2022

ECCnet Industry Managed Solutions: Product Enhancements

As part of our commitment to improving our subscriber experience and delivering to industry needs, we are continually enhancing our industry-directed solutions, services and tools.

Visit our Coming Enhancements page regularly for more detailed information on past and upcoming product updates.

Join a Work Group

Feedback and input from our users, including the ongoing review of attributes and solution requirements, are key elements in ensuring solutions continue to deliver value to subscribers and meet industry needs.

Every GS1 Canada subscriber has an opportunity to represent industry interests through active participation in a community workgroup.

Visit here for more information.

Got Questions?

Your questions on your GS1 Canada account, barcodes, product images and more answered!

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We Want to Hear from You

Tell us what you think about the Food for Thought newsletter, our solutions and anything GS1 Canada related.

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