Grocery Foodservice


Q2 2022

GS1 Canada is pleased to bring you the Q2 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

CEO and President Wins Prestigious Award

GS1 Canada is proud to announce that GS1 Canada’s CEO and President, Eileen Mac Donald, has been recognized as a 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winner by Canadian Grocer.

Canadian Grocer’s Star Women in Grocery award is the most prestigious honour for female leaders in the Grocery Industry from both the supplier and retailer communities.

Throughout her 20-year tenure at GS1 Canada, Eileen’s strong leadership has forged trusted industry partnerships and a people-first culture at GS1 Canada. This external recognition is validation of what we already know and recognize in our award-winning leader.

Congratulations to Eileen and all 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners!

Visit Canadian Grocer to view the full Star Women in Grocery article.

GLN Non-Reuse Rule Effective July 1, 2022

Companies are strongly encouraged to follow the non-reuse rule for all GLNs to avoid the risk of conflicting data.

Failure to comply with the GLN non-reuse rule could result in inefficiencies and confusion in your supply chain.

As of July 1, 2022, the Global Location Number (GLN) non-reuse rule will come into effect. At that time, any GLN allocated to a party or location can no longer be re-allocated to another party or location in any industry. It is recommended that GLN re-use cease as soon as companies can transition their practices and in advance of this date. If re-use is not currently occurring, it should not be started.

GLN is the GS1 identification key that is used to answer the who and where in business. All types of locations, including supply chain parties, legal entities, functional locations, physical locations and digital locations, can be identified by GLNs. GLNs provide a key to access master data to manage business processes, such as ordering, shipping and receiving. Through GS1’s global community management process in 2021, the GLN Standards were updated. These updates included the development of the GLN non-reuse rule and application of relevant changes in GS1 General Specifications, GLN Allocation Rules Standard and GLN Data Model Solution Standard. The GLN non-reuse rule ensures globally unique identification of parties and locations.


  • If the GLN was never published in an externally accessible manner, it can be reused prior to July 1, 2022.
  • If GLNs were discontinued or withdrawn prior to July 1, 2022, they may be considered for reuse to identify the original party or location. However, this isn’t advised.

For more information on the GLN non-reuse rule, see the links below:

The Vault – eCommerce Has Been Upgraded to eCommerce Content

Based on industry needs and user feedback, we’re proud to share a new streamlined process for managing digital content. An upgrade was made last month with the introduction of eCommerce Content, a storage and distribution tool for ecommerce images and associated data. This tool was developed and will be maintained in-house to allow for faster, more efficient access, management and sharing of ecommerce content.

Within the tool come several new capabilities and changes, designed to increase business efficiencies. Content Capture Application will drive content scraping, powered by artificial intelligence for faster auditing processes and enhanced data quality for quicker access to ecommerce data content. Product certification updates include new user access for the Data Governance Service Optimization Team and a new user interface to edit rejected records. Subscribers will access their ecommerce product content through a new eCommerce Content link in the My Tools section of myGS1. Please note that The Vault – eCommerce is no longer available to subscribers. Existing ecommerce images and data were automatically migrated to the new platform.

Over the last year, GS1 Canada team members have been working hard to ensure the successful development and launch of our eCommerce Services Enhancement. Subscribers will no longer need a separate login but can instead access ecommerce content through myGS1. This change also represents a faster and simpler solution to handle Rejection Requests directly with the syncing of eCommerce Content Application and Product Certification independent of external dependencies. Overall, this improved user interface enables a reduction in time to deliver ecommerce content.

As part of our commitment to supporting our user community, GS1 Canada hosted a live interactive webinar to walk through the new enhancements. Subscribers who were unable to attend can view on-demand support videos in our Help Library.

To learn more about eCommerce Content, included in the ECCnet eCommerce Content solution, visit our FAQ page. If you need additional support to familiarize yourself with eCommerce Content, subscribers will soon have access to a walkthrough available the first time they access the tool.

Spirit Bear Coffee: Respecting Tradition While Embracing Innovation

They say the art of conversation begins with a great cup of coffee, and Paul Biglin would surely agree. Biglin is the Co-Founder and Co-President of Spirit Bear Coffee, based in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Spirit Bear Coffee is Canada’s first National Indigenous coffee company, serving up certified organic and fair-trade coffee. Biglin says, “If you can sit down over a cup of coffee, whether it's at the boardroom table, the kitchen table, or the coffee table . . . People drop their shoulders and become human again.”

Spirit Bear Coffee has been a GS1 Canada subscriber since 2009. “We began roasting coffee back in 2006 and developed the Spirit Bear Coffee brand and launched it in 2008,” said Biglin, referencing himself and co-founder Sean Harding. Back then, the brand jumped into grocery but had a hard time getting traction in retail because they weren’t well-known. Instead, they decided to focus on the foodservice industry where people could sample their product and get to know the brand. Before long, they were the official coffee for Whistler Blackcomb and now they’re the brew of choice at more than 13 Canadian universities and over 50 resorts. Spirit Bear Coffee also sells through their own website and other First Nations websites. Harding says, “We’re always trying to expand our marketplace and work with other nations. Our goal is to work with every nation in the world." In the future, the company sees the business transitioning out of UPC codes and into GS1 standards as they re-enter grocery and pursue specialty grocery and other market opportunities.

Biglin’s Advice
for New Businesses:

“Get a trademark! Unless you own your trademark, it’s not your brand.”

The ethos of Spirit Bear Coffee can be expressed through Biglin’s summary of how the company navigated a rocky start: “Once we pulled out of grocery, we took a step back and said okay, as an Indigenous company, what are the things that are important to us?” The company leaned into their Indigenous roots, producing blends that are a tribute to their heritage, including Raven espresso beans that are “full of life and strength”, Eagle medium roast with “soaring flavour” and Frog-Breakfast Blend light roast to “jump start your day”. Spirit Bear Coffee has also embraced the animals that symbolize tradition through social initiatives such as the bear cub program with the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter and a fundraiser for the Ocean Alliance. Says Biglin, “Our customers are telling our story just by buying our coffee. Because they believe in our products and causes.”

As a guest lecturer at UBC Sauder School of Business, Biglin works with a lot of small businesses and Indigenous-owned organizations in a mentorship capacity. He knows that exposure to new marketplaces can propel a brand forward. For GS1 Canada, standards ensure that companies can provide information to trading partners in a consistent, complete and interconnected way. Biglin says that working with GS1 for the issuing and registration of barcodes has allowed Spirit Bear Coffee to be recognized as a commercially viable brand, providing help with standardization and delivery (a former pain point). “I would like to see a system where GS1 Canada connects small businesses with retailers and helps support them working together and just getting those opportunities for an introduction and to connect,” said Biglin.

Helping small businesses succeed is exactly what GS1 Canada aims to do with a host of new initiatives and programs. As Spirit Bear Coffee looks to expand into the US and grow their ecommerce footprint, we’ll be there to support them with the tools and services they need to realize their potential.

Barcodes & Beyond: Trusted Tools and Support for Small Businesses

GS1 Canada understands that small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Over the coming months, we will be introducing several new initiatives, resources and efforts to support small businesses across the country. But right now, we have plenty to offer and plenty to celebrate when it comes to our smaller business subscribers making a big impact.

The process of getting products to market is complex—let us simplify it so you can focus on your business. We support small businesses to get products to market quickly and easily, whether it’s on your own website, through a retailer or via foodservice channels. We offer simple, annual subscriptions that include barcodes and access to industry solutions to capture and share the high-quality images and bilingual product data requested by local and national retailers and distributors (referred to as trading partners). If you want to sell your products in Canada, these global-standards based, industry-driven offers help you meet regulatory and trading requirements to provide the data and images needed to list, order, store, move and sell your products through the supply chain.

No matter where you operate, GS1 standards will work. In a digital world of growing data, GS1 global standards provide a common language for managing and sharing quality data with trading partners. GS1 Canada represents Canadian businesses globally and supports the implementation of GS1 standards like the barcode in business processes such as New Item Listing, eCommerce and Product Recall. GS1 global standards are the foundation of an efficient and transparent supply chain, giving organizations of all sizes access to the same best practice way of streamlining operations, supporting core business processes and exchanging information with one another. Using standards can help you increase efficiency, expand capability and maintain relevancy in an evolving market.


Stay tuned for more small business initiatives. Visit our small business web page and follow us on social media to learn about exciting new small business programs.

Join Our Community of Small Business Advisors

Help develop future GS1 Canada initiatives, offers, resources and programs to help support Canadian small businesses.

Join Now

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 are designed to make improvements to the nutrition facts table and list of ingredients on food labels so Canadians can make healthier, more informed choices. 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. Effective December 15, 2022, CFIA will be verifying compliance with the new requirements and using enforcement discretion in cases where non-compliant companies have detailed plans showing how they intend to meet the new requirements and timelines for doing so. For more information, visit the CFIA guidance web page.

This initiative requires Canadian organizations to make food labelling changes to their products’ Nutritional Facts Tables and ingredient listings. Full details are outlined in the Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations Related to Nutrition Labelling, List of Ingredients and Food Colour Regulations. These labelling changes require updated packaging. If you haven’t done so already, once you’ve updated your product labels to meet the new requirements, make sure you resubmit your products for image and data capture. Then, certify your nutritional content to ensure your trading partners have uninterrupted access to your updated, compliant nutritional information.

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. Here are some of the benefits of certifying updated nutritional content:

  • Enables brand owners and manufacturers to efficiently provide the highest level of data excellence to trading partners from a primary source of truth, instilling confidence through consistent access to standardized, bilingual, 100% accurate and complete nutritional content that meets regulatory requirements.
  • Enables brand owners to highlight nutritional aspects of their products that may not be included in standard Nutrition Facts Tables, allowing trading partners to easily identify products that meet changing consumer needs. These include certification claims (halal, kosher, etc.), allergens and dietary information (gluten-free, etc.). Trading partners can make informed decisions on product selection for health and wellness programs to meet the evolving health and lifestyle needs of Canadians.
  • The rigour of the certification process delivers nutritional content that can be relied on to fuel nutrition-related business processes while protecting brand integrity, safeguarding against reputational harm and protecting the health and well-being of Canadian consumers.

If necessary, you can book time now to have your updated product packaging captured. For further assistance, email

What's Happening at GS1 Global

The Important Role of Standards in Traceability

People may ask: Why should my organization use the GS1 system when it has a good internal traceability system already in place? The answer is that good traceability covers the entire supply chain. It starts with internal traceability and expands outward as a product moves from its origin to the end sale. Traceability tracks upstream to downstream, keeps trading partners informed and is interoperable. GS1 global standards are a common language that make complete traceability possible.

Regardless of where you factor in along the supply chain, you’re part of traceability. GS1 traceability standards is the global unique identification and data capture of trade items, assets, logistic units, parties and locations. From suppliers of raw materials and packaging to manufacturers and on to distribution and the consumer, every touch point for a product can be traced through standards. The interoperability of GS1 traceability standards allows organizations to act as one digitally connected supply chain, providing you with the information you need about all participants in the supply chain, their parties and their roles. In addition, traceability standards can track critical data exchanges at points along the supply chain, aligning information between trading partners and providing a record should a product’s journey ever need to be reviewed.

Consumers and patients are asking more questions about the products they purchase and use. This important information can be provided through traceability, building trust with the end user. Other benefits include:

  • Aids in the targeted and effective recall of dangerous products from the market.
  • Helps inform consumers and patients on key product attributes such as allergenic food ingredients.
  • Identifies counterfeit products before entering the market and gives customers increased ability to verify authenticity.
  • Improves consumer and patient safety and protects brand integrity.
  • Reduces shrinkage and waste.
  • Provides visibility into transit status, including life-saving medicine meant for patients.

Visit our website for more information and specifics on traceability for various foods and products.

GS1 Planned Leadership Succession

This month, GS1 will undergo a planned leadership succession at the global office in Brussels. Current GS1 President and CEO, Miguel A. Lopera, will be replaced by Renaud de Barbuat. Officially, Lopera will step down June 30 and de Barbuat will assume the role July 1.

During nearly 20 years with GS1, Lopera has been an accomplished leader. He joined the organization from Procter & Gamble in 2003, working to merge EAN International and UCC for the global launch and rollout of GS1. Other achievements include the creation of new standards for RFID and data sharing, the establishment of GDSN as a global service to exchange product data, and the launch of GS1 Global Healthcare. More recently, Lopera led the GS1 digital transformation with the GS1 Global Registries, and the Global migration to 2D initiative.

Successor de Barbuat has been with GS1 since 2019 and is currently serving as Chief Operating Officer. He has also worked for the organization as Chief Information Officer of Carrefour and has served as a GS1 Board member and GS1 Board Vice-Chair. The incoming CEO has been a strong supporter and key advocate for GS1 standards, tirelessly promoting the positive impact of the association’s work.

In a press release, Executive Vice-President and Chief Global Supply Chain Officer of Johnson & Johnson and Chair of GS1 Management Board Kathryn Wengel praised both men. “Miguel led the two-decade evolution to a truly global thriving GS1 community, mentoring countless leaders and always ensuring the highest standards and expectations of our community,” said Wengel. She added that Lopera will continue to contribute to GS1 as a Strategic Advisor. Wengel previewed de Barbuat’s new role by saying, “As a digital-first leader, Renaud is well positioned to ensure GS1 is a key leader in the digital world.” Wengel welcomed de Barbuat to the new position and thanked Lopera for his boundless energy and commitment.

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 web page.

New Data Recipients at GS1 Canada

Dubé Loiselle Inc.
Hasty Markets Corp

Your Questions Answered

Q: As a small business, I’m wondering if GS1 Canada has a subscription option to fit my needs?

Absolutely! We have quick, easy and affordable subscription levels for small businesses starting at just $25. The fee includes a barcode and access to tools and resources to support your business growth. We have various offerings based on the number of barcodes you need.

For more information, visit our Small Business web page.

Industry News

GS1 Canada Representatives at SIAL 2022

This spring, GS1 Canada was a proud industry partner for SIAL 2022. The food innovation trade show is the largest in North America and featured more than 1,200 national and international exhibitors from 50 countries. This included over 25,000 buyers from Canada, the United States and 60 other countries. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the trade show was held in-person at Palais Des Congrès, Montreal.

GS1 Canada capitalized on its long-standing partnership with SIAL by sending representatives to meet with new and existing subscribers. Directors of Community Engagement, Pierre Lessard and Melanie Barlow, were in attendance. The pair co-hosted a conference called Think BIG, highlighting what subscribers need to consider when launching products in Canada. Lessard was also part of the Expert Hub, sharing his experience and insights on the importance of correctly barcoding packaging. Together, Lessard and Barlow represented GS1 Canada’s involvement in the grocery and foodservice industries with the goal of helping Canadian trading partners.

SIAL 2023 is scheduled to take place in Toronto next May.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

You’ve probably heard of whitewashing in the business world, but what about greenwashing? The term was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in a 1986 essay, and it happens when a business makes false claims about products that are environmentally friendly or practices that promote sustainability. At a time when consumers and businesses are interested in engaging with green retailers, people may be seeking out eco-conscious choices. In an effort to cash in on this trend and attract business, greenwashing can range from an exaggeration of environmental actions to outright lies. The result is a loss of trust and consumer confidence.

Greenwashing is an attempt to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally sound products. According to GreenPrint’s 2021 Business of Sustainability Index, 64% of Gen X consumers would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand. The index reports that millennial consumers are even more committed to sustainability with 75% saying they would favour such brands. A product advertising naturally derived ingredients, recyclable packaging or a commitment to environmental initiatives can have a significant impact on purchasing decisions.

The key to avoiding greenwashing, also known as green sheen, is to be transparent with trading partners and customers. Global standards provide a common language to share product information and ECCnet Industry Managed Solutions can help shoppers find and verify the sustainable products they want. For example, ECCnet Nutritional Content provides detailed and transparent product information to meet health, dietary and lifestyle needs. GS1 Canada’s SmartLabel™ Support, available to subscribers with certified Nutritional Content at no additional cost, can highlight environmental, lifestyle and sustainability factors. This is the kind of information today’s consumers want to know, providing them with the opportunity to make informed choices.

Earning consumer trust starts with product transparency. In grocery and foodservice, industry solutions make sharing certified product data and additional, enhanced product information with trading partners possible. When that sought-after information is passed down to consumers, there’s no concern about greenwashing or any other deception. Instead, there is clear communication that leads to happy, satisfied customers.

What do Lunchflation and Shelflation Have to Do with Inflation?

Rising inflation rates have spurred a number of other “flations” that are hitting Canadians square in the wallet. You may have noticed that your takeout lunch is costing more these days. Or that the selection of fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery store isn’t as robust as it once was. The pandemic, supply chain issues, war and natural disasters have all made sourcing and transporting food more difficult and access more precarious. The result is showing up in grocery stores and restaurants, as well as on our plates.

Data compiled by mobile payment company Square shows that people in the US are paying more for lunch. This “lunchflation” means sandwiches, hamburgers, soups, salads and wraps are more expensive than they were in March 2020. A lot more expensive, in fact: a 15% to 26% increase has been seen on these items. Here in Canada, those living in larger cities are seeing the biggest lunch bill increase, bringing up the average for the entire country. Based on the report, your best bet to save when dining out at noon is tacos. Bucking the trend, tacos are actually cheaper than they were pre-pandemic.

Another place consumers are noticing changes in price and availability is in the produce section at the grocery store. “Shelflation” happens when supply chain issues result in compromised fresh fruit and vegetables on store shelves. These perishable products are already on a tight timeline and delays in harvesting and transportation mean fewer products with an even shorter lifespan. An Agri-Food Analytics Lab report from March surveyed 1,501 Canadians from across the country and found that shelflation was connected to nearly $550 million in food waste over the previous six months. Produce was most often thrown away, followed by dairy, bakery and meat products. According to this study, the Atlantic region is hardest hit by shelflation. In Ontario, a March study showed that as prices on fresh fruit and veg go up, consumption goes down.

Farm to Plate 2022: Industry and Government Working Together

After two years of virtual advocacy events, the annual Farm to Plate conference was held in person on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 10. The event was hosted by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and sponsored by ten companies, including a range of grocery industry contributors. According to a press release sent out three days after the event, conference participants met with parliamentarians and officials from all four major political parties to discuss critical issues impacting the fresh produce industry.

Twenty-seven produce industry representatives from across the country travelled to Ottawa to discuss four key ideas. These areas of discussion included, “creating financial protection mechanisms for produce growers and sellers, prioritizing access to food, supporting supply chain resiliency and competitiveness, and working towards creating a sustainable fresh produce sector” the press release stated. Along with the industry representatives, the event also featured 28 parliamentarians and political officials. According to the May 13 press release, some of those present included Kody Blois, Member of Parliament and the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food; the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; and the Honourable Senator Rob Black, CPMA 2021 Produce Champion and Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

After their talks on Parliament Hill, over 200 industry members, political staffers and political members were hosted by the CPMA and Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) at the Fairmont Château Laurier to further discuss topics related to the fresh produce industry and to catch up after two years of being unable to celebrate their advocacy on behalf of their industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, the pandemic, and the significant disturbances it caused throughout the supply chain, was a hot topic this year. At a time when the postal service was overloaded with parcels and the borders were closed, there were delays to the produce industry that nobody was prepared to handle. The CPMA brought this to the attention of all in attendance, saying that there needed to be solutions and mechanisms created to look out for growers and shippers alike in unexpected and crisis situations. Doing this would allow for the streamlined shipment of produce, which is both a perishable item and essential to the daily diets of Canadians. Through the shipping delays that the industry faced, a lot of produce growers and producers were put in a financially vulnerable position, as there is a significant upfront investment with returns not being seen until after the product is sold and compensation realized further down the supply chain.

Another key discussion area that has been gaining traction over the years is sustainability. With the agricultural sector playing a key role in tackling climate change, adopting sustainable practices across the industry is important to the future viability and growth of the industry. The CPMA calls for the Federal Government to give greater recognition to Bill C-234, a piece of legislature that allows farmers the capital to make investments on their properties that will better support sustainability and energy efficiencies. As well, the group is petitioning for the development of a long-term strategy for water management for all Canadians and for the commitment of financial and physical resources to support food waste reduction through programs like the Surplus Food Rescue Program.

Jan VanderHout, the president of FVGC, said that “Farm to Plate demonstrates the importance of industry and government working together. We are encouraged by our discussions and the ideas shared at the event”.

Upcoming Events

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

Canadian SME Business EXPO 2022
The Biggest Gathering of Canadian Small & Medium Enterprises
An exclusive virtual event for small business owners. Click here to register.
June 29 to 30, 2022

Groceryshop 2022
Your GPS For Grocery’s Massive Transformation
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas: September 19 to 22, 2022

CHFA Connect
Live shows are back!
Toronto: September 15 to 18, 2022

Product Enhancements

As part of our commitment to improving our subscriber experience and delivering on 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.

Any Questions?

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


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