Grocery Foodservice


Q1 2022

GS1 Canada is pleased to bring you the Q1 issue of Food for Thought. With every edition, we provide the latest insights, news and trends across the grocery and foodservice industries.

What's Happening at GS1 Canada

Health Canada Food Labelling Requirements Set to Change in 2022

In 2016, the Government of Canada introduced new food labelling regulations in support of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy. These changes were outlined in the Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations and relate to nutrition labelling, list of ingredients and food colour requirements. The initial deadline to comply was extended from late last year due to the challenges imposed by COVID-19. Rather than enforce an earlier deadline, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) decided to focus its efforts on education and compliance promotion. The deadline is now December 14, 2022. For more information, visit the CFIA guidance web page.

Since 2016, 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. This can help you meet Health Canada requirements and give trading partners confidence in the accuracy of your product content. If you have reformulated your product, click here to see if you require a new GTIN. If your product label has changed to meet the new nutritional requirements, you will need to:

  • Resubmit your products for product image and data capture, if applicable.
  • Log into myGS1 and recertify products in Product Certification – Nutritional Content and/or update ECCnet Registry, if applicable.

For assistance, email Detailed information on how GS1 Canada is supporting your business through these changes can be found as part of our FAQs.

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

Showcase Products Made in Quebec

Local businesses are at the heart of our communities. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a drastic consumer shift toward 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 food products made or prepared in Quebec. Part of that promotion is the identification of how GS1 Canada’s ECCnet Industry Managed Solutions can help support these initiatives.

This letter from Quebec industry trading partners outlines how you can highlight products that are processed and packaged in Quebec. Simply follow the steps outlined to let trading partners know about your products, facilitating 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 a trusted source of truth for Canadian businesses.

GS1 Canada takes pride in our role as a trusted strategic partner, helping trading partners support their community and improve business processes by using GS1 global standards and our industry-directed solutions, tools and services.

What's Happening at GS1 Global

2D is the Wave of the Future

The retail industry is embarking on one of the biggest changes in retail point-of-sale (POS) since the introduction of the original linear barcode: the adoption of 2D barcodes. This journey will dramatically enhance the experience of consumers, brands, retailers and the entire supply chain. The 2D transition will positively impact the consumer and retail experience through greater product information transparency, traceability and authentication. The result is an evolution in standards to meet growing consumer needs and satisfy supply chain requirements.

A 2D barcode can hold more data in a smaller footprint than the linear (1D) barcodes currently used. The desire to engage consumers and improve packaging has driven the global community to ask for the advanced capabilities of 2D barcodes. Additional information, such as batch and lot number, expiration date, serial number or sell-by date, can be included. This extra information can be used to support critical use cases in retail, inventory management, traceability, safety, sustainability and more.

The companies of the GS1 Global Board have agreed on an ambitious 2027 goal for the adoption of 2D barcodes. More specifically, the aim is to transition from 1D to 2D by starting with retail POS scanners that can read and process both legacy and new barcodes by the end of 2027. It’s important to note that linear 1D barcodes (e.g., UPC-A, GS1 DataBar) will continue to coexist with 2D barcodes (e.g., GS1 DataMatrix, QR Code) after this date and for as long as necessary. GS1 Member Organizations support industry around the world to introduce these robust barcodes and symbols for business solutions that work today, while also serving the needs of tomorrow.

Stay tuned for further updates on 2D from GS1 Canada.

For more information on this exciting change, check out these links:

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 gives you the ability 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.

Your Questions Answered

Question: How can I keep consumers with dietary and health concerns informed about my product details?

Consumers today are more focused than ever on comprehensive, consistent and transparent product information. Whether they have allergy concerns or are trying to support a healthier lifestyle, access to specific nutritional information gives them the opportunity to make informed choices. ECCnet Nutritional Content goes beyond the label, providing global standard images and certified product information to trading partners. This high-quality data can then be shared with consumers, providing information that protects the health and wellness of Canadians. Learn more about the benefits of ECCnet Nutritional Content by watching this video.

Industry News

Addressing the Need for Food Transparency and Traceability

Some of the food attributes consumers are asking about

Natural category

  • No artificial ingredients
  • No preservatives
  • All-natural
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Clean label

Ethical category

  • Locally produced/sourced
  • Antibiotic/hormone-free
  • Cage-free
  • Fair trade-sourced

Enhanced category

  • Protein-rich
  • Omega-3 fatty acids/“good” fat
  • Antioxidant-rich

“Less of …” category

  • Low-salt
  • Low-calorie
  • Low-fat/fat substitutes/fat-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Low-carbohydrate

Alternative dietary lifestyle category

  • Plant-based
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Paleo

Source: L.E.K. Consulting / Executive Insights, Volume XX, Issue 51

Consumers are increasingly aware of what they’re eating. As a result, they are demanding more detailed information about the food they buy. Armed with nutritional information, Canadians know exactly what they’re consuming and can make choices aligned with their personal priorities and health concerns. Food that’s verified organic, ethically sourced or gluten-free can translate to purchases made by discerning shoppers.

The latest instalment of L.E.K. Consulting’s biennial consumer food and beverage study surveyed almost 1,600 participants to find out what matters most when it comes to food information. Here are some of the study highlights:

  • 93% of respondents said they feel compelled to eat healthy at least some of the time.
  • Foods free of added chemicals top the list of desirable attributes.
  • 60% to 70% of respondents indicate they would pay a premium for food products in the natural, ethical, enhanced or “less of” categories.

Shoppers are scouring products for the important information they need to make buying decisions. However, claims such as “all natural” no longer cut the mustard. Consumers want specifics. They want to know who produced the food and where it was processed, among other details. This kind of transparency answers questions pertaining to health concerns and can also help inform choices for those who are considering sustainability factors, such as a brand’s carbon footprint.

Healthy eating has become mainstream and there is an expectation that health and wellness attributes of food items will be provided. This is where global standards play a vital role. Standards can provide industry-directed, agreed-upon data that caters to consumer needs and satisfies trading partner requirements. ECCnet Foodservice Content provides high-quality food product images, while ECCnet Nutritional Content goes beyond the label with certified content. Together, these industry solutions can be used by data providers and data recipients to provide the traceability and transparency consumers are seeking.

To read more details from the study, click here.

Pandemic Impact—Doing More with Less

A recent article in RestoBiz is shining a light on how Canada’s foodservice industry may change in 2022. Although the industry news website is reporting an expected 21% increase in sales this year over 2021, restaurants remain cautious. Operators have learned some lessons on how to work effectively in an unpredictable marketplace to make the most out of the food and resources available. Here are a few of the predicted adjustments:

  • Trimming the fat. Cost cutting may mean fewer staff, operating out of smaller spaces (including ghost kitchens) and shorter menus.
  • Increased flexibility. Supply chain woes have affected everybody during the pandemic, including restaurants. Culinary teams will look at what’s available and how they can put a new twist on typical ingredients to make a unique and delicious dish.
  • Buttering us up. Butter is a versatile ingredient that’s readily available. Also, it’s delicious! Look for it as a flavoured offering, browned or even in your cocktail. Comfort food never tasted so good.

For the full article with even more predictions, click here.

How Will Inflation Affect the Grocery and Foodservice Industries?

A 2021 year-end report released by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University is giving some insight into how inflation could impact the foodservice and grocery industries. According to Canada’s Food Price Report, overall food prices are expected to increase 5% to 7%. Dairy, bakery and vegetables are the three categories projected to see the biggest price jumps.

How will consumers react to higher prices? Survey respondents are making plans to be more cautious and more discerning about their purchases. They’ll use coupons and buy bulk or discontinued foods. They’re also thinking about perusing flyers for the best deals and visiting new grocery stores in search of discounts.

Waste reduction is a 2022 goal for many. More than half of the people surveyed talked about reducing food waste to save money. This effort starts with awareness and extends to usage. Whether that means embracing menu planning or reworking leftovers, inflation could make us stop and think about how and what we’re eating.

You can read the full Agri-Food Analytics Lab report here.

Grocerants are the Best of Both Worlds

“Grocerant” may not be a word you’re familiar with, but we bet you’ve enjoyed one. The term is a portmanteau of “grocery” and “restaurant” with the features of both. Think about your regular grocery store. Does it have prepared meal options or a dine-in area? Have you eaten sushi in a communal seating zone or taken a full chicken dinner home to your family without picking up all the individual ingredients? Then you’re someone who has enjoyed ready-to-eat foods that capitalize on convenience.

The concept of a grocerant has been around since the 1990s, but it’s become a grocery store mainstay more recently. Smaller grocery stores and convenience stores may have grab-and-go options such as soups and sandwiches. Larger chain stores, such as Loblaws, Whole Foods and Costco, offer everything from food counters to full-on cafés.

A SIAL conference in 2018 predicted that in 2030, ready-to-eat will be the dominant force in Canadian grocery stores.

What draws hungry diners to a grocerant? This option is perfect for people who are short on time and want something easy. Choosing an in-store meal doesn’t mean sacrificing taste because many grocerants have restaurant-quality fresh food with menus designed by chefs. Some grocerants have even become destinations—Torontonians may recall the hype around the opening of Italian marketplace Eataly’s first Canadian store in Toronto in late 2019.

One thing is clear: when you combine the convenience of ready-made meals with a grocery store, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

GS1 Canada is a Proud Industry Partner at SIAL Canada 2022

Continuing its strong multi-year association, GS1 Canada is proud to be an Industry Partner for SIAL Canada 2022. With a vision to help the Canadian trading partners involved in the grocery and foodservice industries grow their business, GS1 Canada has partnered with SIAL in various capacities over the last few years. Past SIAL partnerships include presenting The Evolution of Nutritional Labels – Building Trust and Transparency and Think Big - How to Connect with Canadian Trading Partners.

International buyer meetings
Professional visitors
Canadian & international exhibitors

With more than 1,200 national and international exhibitors from 50 countries hosting over 25,000 buyers from Canada, the United States and 60 other countries, SIAL is the only event of its scale in Canada in the grocery and foodservice industry space.

This year, SIAL will be in person from April 20 to 22, 2022 at Palais Des Congrès, Montreal, and registration is open now. As an Industry Partner with SIAL Canada 2022, we are looking forward to another inspiring and innovative trade show for food businesses. Don’t forget to follow us on our social platforms for further updates about the event.

Upcoming Events

Stay informed and involved with webinars and events from the grocery and foodservice industries.

SIAL 2022
The largest food innovation trade show in North America.
Palais des congrès, Montreal
April 20 to 22, 2022
CHFA Connect
Live shows are back!
Vancouver: April 21 to 24, 2022
Toronto: September 15 to 18, 2022

CPMA Annual Trade Show
Palais des congrès, Montreal
April 5 to 7, 2022

Retail Council of Canada

Retail Conditions Report Webinar – Outlook Edition
Hour-long session on March 2, 2022.
Start time: 10 am PT, 12 pm CT, 1 pm ET
Retail Matters Webinar Series – Rethinking Roadblocks in your Supply Chain Strategy
Hour-long session on February 24, 2022.
Start time: 10 am PT, 12 pm CT, 1 pm ET

RCC Store 22
Toronto Congress Centre – North Building
May 31 and June 1, 2022

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?

We’re here to answer questions about your GS1 Canada account, barcodes, product images and more!


We Want to Hear from You

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