Food for Thought


May 2020

GS1 Canada is pleased to bring you the May edition of the Food for Thought newsletter. With every edition, we bring you the latest insights, news and trends.

What’s Happening at GS1 Canada

Be Ready for Business by Certifying Your Products

These unprecedented times have brought to light the importance of sharing certified product data with trading partners along the supply chain.

Retailers count on the product information shared by brand owners to make their product selections for both their online and in-store programs. GS1 Canada’s Product Certification can help support this process by giving retailers access to accurate and up-to-date brand owner certified product data that they can add to their listing. Data from Product Certification also gives retailers access to new types of products to meet consumers’ evolving needs in today’s market.

Product Certification - Take a Tour - As a standardized data excellence tool, Product Certification enables you to certify Nutritional, eCommerce and Pharmaceutical content in one centralized location, for one annual certification fee.

To ensure that you continue to provide your trading partners with the product information they need to effectively feature your products and run their business, we encourage you to login and make sure your product catalogue is up-to-date.

What’s Happening at GS1 Global

Explore the GS1 Traceability Case Study Library


Most businesses are eager to improve efficiency and visibility in their supply chain in order to meet market demands and regulatory requirements around safety and transparency. GS1’s traceability standards are foundational for having a robust system. They provide a common language to identify products, capture images and share data - which allows systems to become interoperable across trading partners.

The GS1 Global Traceability Standard defines a minimum set of traceability requirements within business processes to achieve full chain traceability, independent of any technology. This standard enables an end-to-end traceability system, linking the flow of information to physical products. In the event of a food outbreak, the sharing of traceability information between trading partners in the supply chain is critical to ensure a targeted and effective recall.

The Education Workstream team at the GS1 Global Office is pleased to present the new powerful educational material - the Traceability Case Study Library (available in English only), with over 40 case studies from 20 Member Organizations! The library covers all industry sectors including retail, foodservice and grocery.

We invite you to explore these real implementation stories and learn how businesses are using GS1 standards for traceability and supply chain.

Your Questions Answered

Business Tips

Q: I am a brand owner and my products are available in multiple stores and eCommerce websites. My customers are looking for transparent and detailed information about the products they purchase. My trading partners have talked to me about GS1 Canada’s Product Certification tool, but I don’t know how this tool can help my business.

A: Product Certification is a standardized data excellence tool that consolidates eCommerce, nutritional and pharmaceutical content certification processes within a single tool.

Product Certification delivers:

  • Increased data excellence, ensuring content can be certified across all applicable ECCnet Industry Managed Solutions.
  • One-to-many sharing - helps save time and ensures your brand is consistently represented to all trading partners on the system.
  • Support to the changing regulatory requirements and consumer demand for product attributes.
  • The ability to provide supplemental product information for eCommerce and nutritional content including additional details about allergens, certification claims, features and benefits, as well as consumer friendly product descriptions.

Small Business Spotlight

Canadian Survey on Business Conditions

The Canadian economy changed dramatically in March as a result of COVID-19 and it’s important to better understand the impact of the pandemic on businesses, employers, employees, communities and our economy. Statistics Canada, together with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, launched the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, representing answers from more than 12,600 businesses about on COVID-19 is affecting their business.

The survey shows that over half of businesses surveyed have experienced a decline of 20% or more in revenue. Survey results also indicated that workers faced reduced hours, layoffs and an increase in remote work.

“The survey is Canada’s first comprehensive view into how our businesses are adapting, managing, or, sadly, failing as the COVID-19 shutdown continues. Insights from more than 13,000 businesses bring into focus the time pressures businesses face to avoid closing their doors permanently. At the same time, the survey also shows how quickly some businesses are adapting to social distancing and preparing for the re-opening of the economy.” said Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber.

Businesses are altering their production methods, adjusting their products or services, and coming up with innovative ways of interacting with customers. Nearly two-thirds (62.3%) of businesses reported they would be ready to return to normal operations once social distancing measures are removed.

“Many businesses are proving resilient in adapting to the crisis by altering products, services and production methods. The data shows a large increase in e-commerce, as well as many firms testing working at home practices”, added Stratton.

The CBSC examined issues like the COVID-19’s impact on businesses, how businesses have adapted to the ongoing situation, challenges they continue to face and those they expect as the recovery begins.

The survey compiled 13,037 responses and was in market between April 4, 2020 and April 24, 2020. You can access the data from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions. A summary of the results is also available in the Chamber’s news release.

New Data Recipients at GS1 Canada

New Data Recipients on TrueSource™ Dashboard

Designed to facilitate transparency between data providers and data recipients, TrueSource™ Dashboard is a data excellence tool that provides visibility to the status of product content across multiple business processes. Through easy-to-read charts and graphs, TrueSource™ Dashboard provides a standardized industry view of common metrics that creates transparency between trading partners and facilitates efficient meeting preparation, open and productive dialogue, swift issue resolution and collaborative business planning.

We’re excited to share that Sobeys Inc. has started leveraging TrueSource™ Dashboard for Voila to ensure vendor support for content availability – including data, images (planogram and marketing), as well as Certified Nutritional and eCommerce content.


Sobeys Inc. is a Canadian company with more than 111 years of experience in the food retail business. As one of only two national grocery retailers in Canada, Sobeys Inc. serve the food shopping needs of Canadians with approximately 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods and Lawtons Drugs, as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations. Sobeys Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited, headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

Have you used TrueSource™ Dashboard yet?

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.

Employee Spotlight

Golden Gong Winner

Every year, GS1 Canada awards the Golden Gong to an employee who demonstrates commitment to the organization’s mission and values and who goes above and beyond to make a significant impact on our business.

Key examples of this include: process improvements, super-serving subscribers and making a significant contribution to a team or project.

Congrats to our most recent Golden Gong Winner, Maryam Nassiri, the supervisor of our Data Quality Assurance department. A dedicated GS1 Canada employee for almost four years, Maryam takes pride in the level of support she offers to her team and colleagues, as well as her passion for super-serving subscribers.

Before working at GS1 Canada, Maryam worked as a Transaction Processing Officer at RBC Insurance.

Maryam faces new challenges head-on with positivity and confidence. Since being at GS1 Canada, she has learned that being successful in your job, would not be possible without people and attributes her success to teamwork.

Outside of work, Maryam is a movie buff, listing films such as The Sound of Music, The Untouchables or Catch Me If You Can as favourites. As a life-long foodie, Maryam loves savouring foods from different cultures.

Watch the video to get to know more about Maryam.

Industry News

The Smart Shelf: Your Pathway to Winning in Retail

Smart Shelf

Out of sight, out of mind. Did you know that consumers notice less than 40% of the products in a specific category? As Ankush Patodi, Planogram Hub Lead at Nielsen Global Markets, explained in the new Nielsen report - The Smart Shelf: Your Pathway to Winning in Retail, “product placement on the shelf has a direct impact on sales of that product. Said differently, poor placement will translate into poor sales”.

Sixty percent of shoppers make a purchasing decision while standing in front of a store shelf. Planograms help both retailers and manufacturers convert their individual knowledge sets about shoppers into a practical and profitable shelf layout. A planogram will generate a “SMART” shelf only if it has the right balance of art and science.

What is a SMART shelf?

  • Shopper friendly
  • Maximizes sales and profits
  • Avoids out-of-stocks
  • Reduces operational inefficiencies
  • Triggers experimentation

The Smart Shelf whitepaper will help you better understand the Smart Shelf and what you need to do to build your planogram. Click here to download the report.

New McKinsey Report: Improving Consumer Experience with a Product Data Standard

McKinsey Report

A growing number of today’s consumers prefer online channels for the convenience, however, the inability to physically evaluate a product is often a barrier for completing an online purchase and being satisfied with the product. According to a 2017 study, 64 percent of people who made an online purchase returned the item due to a mismatch in product information. This brings to light the increasingly important role that reliable, complete and consistent product data plays in enabling a seamless omnichannel experience.

Many senior leaders across consumer-facing industries are recognizing the benefits of standardizing the foundational data required to identify a product, such as brand name, weight, dimensions and ingredients, to ensure consumers see the same information across channels, partners, and geographies.

The resent McKinsey & Company report - Want to improve consumer experience? Collaborate to build a product data standard, discusses the benefits of adopting a standard data model, such as GS1 Standards. The report also explains how businesses can leverage GS1 Global Standards to increase transparency for customers, improve operational efficiencies, as well as saving costs on managing and exchanging foundational data.

Upcoming Events

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 padenmic and newest measures implemented, many industry events have been cancelled, rescheduled or postponed. We will continue to bring you updates on improtant industry events.

Cold Chain Global Forum Canada Summit
June 16 – 17, 2020
Digital event

September 10 – 13, 2020
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

RCC STORE Conference
New Date: September 14 – 15, 2020
Toronto, ON, Canada

SIAL Canada
New Date: September 29 – October 1, 2020
Montreal, QC, Canada

GS1 Canada’s Coming Enhancements

As part of our commitment to improve our subscriber experience and deliver to industry needs, we are continually enhancing and improving our tools and solutions.

Recent Enhancements

Simplified Login Process for Recall, Incident Reporting and ECCnet Locations
In response to subscriber feedback for a simple and unified login experience, we have streamlined the login process for Recall, Incident Reporting, and ECCnet Locations by making them accessible through the My Tools section on your myGS1 homepage, eliminating the need to manage separate logins and passwords. This will help ensure that our subscribers enjoy a seamless experience when accessing and using the GS1 Canada tools and services they need.

Upcoming Enhancements

ECCnet Registry will undergo data integrity enhancements to support data completeness and data accuracy in alignment with Canadian industry requirements across such industries as Pharmacy, Grocery and Foodservice. As a result of these enhancements, new attributes will be added and a few previously optional attributes will become mandatory. Updates to ProSYNC and Item Centre will ensure alignment to these changes.

Enhancements also include:

  • Continued global standards alignment with the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), enabling data synchronization with global trading partners.
  • Minor user interface enhancements.

In alignment with ECCnet updates, Product Certification for Nutritional Content and Pharmaceutical Content will be enhanced to include more descriptive attributes to enable the sharing of more detailed product information with trading partners.

To learn more, visit the Coming Enhancements webpage or email us at

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 for more information.

Got Questions?

Got Questions?

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

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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