GS1 Canada is pleased to bring you the Q3 issue of Food for Thought. With every edition, we provide insights, news and trends across the grocery and foodservice industries.
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GS1 Canada is once again being recognized as a leader in the grocery industry. Our CEO and President, Eileen Mac Donald, was recently inducted into the Grocery Business Hall of Fame. This honour follows on the heels of Mac Donald’s recent Star Women in Grocery award. In both cases, she is being lauded for her contributions to and promotion of supply chain standards during her more than 20-year career with GS1 Canada.
The duo of top industry awards shine a spotlight on the work Mac Donald has done in the past and continues to champion daily. In June, kudos came from Canadian Grocer in the form of a Star Women in Grocery Award. This award is given with the express goal of “recognizing outstanding women in the grocery industry”, specifically women who have “demonstrated expertise, innovation and leadership”. A ceremony for the award winners who have changed the food retail landscape is scheduled for September 28 in Toronto.
More recently, a second accolade was bestowed upon Mac Donald. A list of Grocery Business Hall of Fame inductees was celebrated in the July/August issue of Grocery Business. Mac Donald was praised for her contributions to the grocery industry and the communities served by the grocery industry. The class of 2022 includes 34 professionals in four categories, with Mac Donald being recognized as one of four hall of famers in the Industry Stewardship category.
Before joining GS1 Canada, Mac Donald held executive roles in the hard lines industry, with a national loyalty program and as a small business owner. As part of the GS1 Canada team, prior to becoming CEO and President, Mac Donald filled two SVP roles in Marketing and Operations and was COO. She’s proud to be part of a team that was recognized by our board and external stakeholders as essential during the pandemic, calling this designation a career highlight.
The common thread throughout Mac Donald’s career is a people-first approach and strategic stewardship. These values directly align with GS1 Canada’s role as a Trusted Strategic Partner across the industries and sectors the organization supports.
We’re proud of Mac Donald and her accomplishments, and we thank Canadian Grocer and Grocery Business for recognizing the impact she has as one of the highest achievers in Canada’s grocery industry.
The GS1 Canada team has been furthering our support of small businesses across the country. We continue to introduce new initiatives, resources and offerings for small businesses. Here’s a look at what we’ve recently launched:
To learn more about exciting new small business programs, visit our small business web page and be sure to follow us on social media.
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. The deadline is now December 14, 2022. Effective December 15, 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (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.
Other benefits to certifying your updated nutritional content:
The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) has launched the new work group Enhancing Traceability Through Technology. This group is a collaboration between the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), GS1 Canada, GS1 US and the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA). The goal is to help industry prepare for traceability implementation and address the pending requirements for section 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Proposed Rule for Food Traceability. Details about the work group and the Produce Traceability Initiative can be found via the redesigned PTI website, which was recently enhanced to better serve the growing needs of the produce industry.
Steve Roosdahl, PTI Leadership Council co-chair said, “To prepare industry for traceability implementation success, the PTI leadership brought industry together to consider what future implementation might include. That evaluation resulted in the establishment of the Enhancing Traceability Through Technology Working Group that seeks to offer best practices for leveraging the tools and technologies that enable efficient data capture, premise identification and data sharing, which continue to evolve.” Working group participants from over 50 organizations will collaborate to provide produce traceability guidance and assist industry in implementation decisions.
The new working group will focus on three core areas with related responsibilities:
“We are entering a new era for produce traceability,” noted PTI Leadership Council co-chair, Tim York. “As the industry seeks to comply with the new rule it was essential that the PTI consider how best to achieve compliance in the short- and long-term.”
Participants interested in joining the work group should email email@example.com with Produce Traceability Initiative work group in the subject line. For more information on all GS1 Canada work groups, please visit our Community Management web page.
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:
Subscribers to any of the 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.
GS1 Global Standards contribute to more sustainable business models by enabling organizations around the world to identify, capture and share standardized product information. By providing a neutral platform for collaboration, our standards contribute to the deployment and performance of sustainability practices throughout the supply chain, helping to enable circular economy models. Global standards support traceability and the supply chain data that business owners need to back up environmental and ethical claims, track products, and recycle or reduce waste.
Used by over two million companies around the world, GS1 Standards provide a common global language to share sustainability information. With increased visibility enabled by these standards, retailers can more accurately forecast need and in turn, can reduce resources, energy use, costs and ultimately CO2 emissions. Companies using GS1 Global Standards already have the necessary foundation to take advantage of these sustainability opportunities.
You’re standing in the store, holding two jars of spaghetti sauce. One has only a list of ingredients, while the other also has an eco label with information about the impact making this jar of sauce had on the environment. Or perhaps both jars have eco labels, and one is red while the other is green. If the green label means producing that jar of sauce was less detrimental to the environment, would you be more inclined to buy it? Studies have shown this is the case and that in the future, brands may bank on you making that very decision.
For consumers thinking about how their purchases affect the environment, eco labels are a going concern. Still in their infancy, eco labels calculate the environmental cost of what you eat. They’re being piloted in Europe and politicians in the UK and Canada have introduced private members’ bills that would mandate environmental impact labels on food. In this country, Jaime Battiste, an MP from Nova Scotia, tabled a private members’ motion calling for a green grading system. The motion, called the M-35 Environment Grading Label, passed in the House of Commons early last year. The House standing committee on environment and sustainable development is now looking into the ramifications of implementing such a system. Battiste’s vision is to give products grades that consider things like greenhouse gas emissions, waste created, water use and distance travelled.
So far, eco labelling is voluntary. But some businesses are paying attention to consumers who are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of their food choices. In November 2020, Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to add packaging labels declaring products carbon zero as part of a larger initiative to become the first major food producer to be carbon neutral. And Unilever has a climate plan to label all products with carbon-emissions information.
How is an eco label derived and what makes a product score high or low? There are currently no standards for the labels, so any number of environmental impacts can be assessed. Some of the products and services that are measured include toxicity, air quality, energy and water use, recyclability, and the use of natural resources. Within each category, the product is rated in respect to the size of its carbon footprint. The resulting eco label can take on many forms: a grade (A through F), a colour (green, yellow, red) or a certification. However, without a common set of criteria or means of assessment, an eco label may exist in a vacuum. Not to mention that without mass adoption, consumers can’t compare one product to another with the goal of choosing the one that rates best.
In the coming years, product owners may look to include eco labels as part of sustainability programs, due to consumer pressure or because of government mandates. One potential hurdle is the requirement to gather the product information needed to create a label. GS1 Standards may prove a useful tool in such an endeavour with the ability to track and trace products from raw materials all they way to the retailer. Just like with calorie counts provided by restaurants or nutrition labelling on products, the aim is to provide consumers with the information that leads to informed choices. Whether eco labels are used or ignored is up to the customer.
A new school year is upon us, and parents know how difficult it can be to pack a lunch that’s nutritionally balanced and doesn’t come home uneaten. Arming yourself with a few good ideas and kid-approved food can make this this task less daunting. We take a look at what’s trending in the cafeteria and how you can satisfy young eaters’ appetites to fuel their activities.
A US-based report has identified some foodservice trends that are popular with the kindergarten through grade 12 set. One thing school administrations have to consider is working around supply chain issues to provide popular meals in the midst of delays and shortages. Have a look at the most in-demand flavours and the fastest-growing fruits on the menu over the last four years:
This study also identified some of the innovative ways school districts are spicing up their lunchtime offerings. In Texas, students can sample a spoonful of any item they’ve never tried before to make sure it passes the taste test before committing. At the same school, a taco sauce competition had students invested in Taco Tuesday. In Minneapolis, staff are getting creative by adding fresh herbs and spices to common items such as chicken strips. These efforts serve to engage students and give them something to look forward to at lunch.
Back to school is a time of year that impacts students and parents alike. A Deloitte online survey asked 1,200 parents with school-aged children where and how they’ll be spending money this fall. One place parents said they plan to spend money is on sustainable products. The survey showed that parents who make sustainability a priority will spend 22% more than the average on their kids at this time of year. In fact, reducetarianism was identified as one of Whole Food Markets’ top food trends of 2022. It’s not surprising that people are striving to eat fewer animal products and passing that idea onto their kids. Even Grubhub ranked the meatless Impossible cheeseburger their top dish of 2021.
If you’re struggling with what to pack for your child’s lunch, you can consult guides like this or this for some current ideas. Browse through children-submitted recipes, nutrition facts, food combinations and more to inform back-to-school meal plans. Involving kids in lunch options works well for picky eaters and should get any kid excited about lunches for the new school year. Don’t forget that a fun lunch box — bento boxes are popular right now — can add to the anticipation at mealtime. One final note: don’t forget to ask your school about any food restrictions put in place to protect kids with allergies.
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the entire world did business—from closing international borders to capacity limits, the world is a different place. Thankfully, with case counts on the decline in Canada, life is returning to its new version of normal, and this includes a flavourful grocery store shopping experience: free samples.
Field Agent Canada conducted a study of 3,412 Canadians that found 90% of the those asked would be willing to interact with staff and try a sample of whatever hot food item was being offered. This is up almost 10% from when Canadians were surveyed during a respite from the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2021. As well, 95% of respondents said they would be willing to try a sample of a packaged food item, an increase of 4% over the August 2021 survey.
In a Canadian Grocer article published in July, Jeff Doucette, the general manager of Field Agent Canada said, “There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between what we see happening at store level and what consumers are actually willing to do. It feels like there’s a bit of a lost opportunity right now, where consumers would be willing to try new products, but they’re not really being offered.”
With the health and safety of employees, as well as customers, being top of mind, many chains are looking at a slow and steady approach to bringing sampling back into stores across the country. The Canadian Grocer article went on to explain that new sampling procedures for many retailers will likely follow Loblaw’s approach, which includes plexiglass barriers, enhanced cleaning procedures and using compostable single use supplies for handing out the samples.
The caveat for consumers’ willingness to try? How “sterile” the product is. Most consumers would rather sample a homecare, personal care or packaged food item. Doucette said, “Demo companies will have to think through how they’re going to make sure people feel safe, and not just go back to the way they’ve been doing it.”
Stay informed and involved with events from the grocery and foodservice industries.
Natural Products Expo East
September 28 to October 1, 2022
In-person at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Virtual Extension runs September 5 to October 14, 2022.
Annual Aliments du Québec (ADQ) Day
Coming together to shine! (Se rassembler pour mieux rayonner)
October 4, 2022
In-person at Mouton Village in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, QC and also available online.
Participants will have the opportunity to attend inspiring conferences and key networking opportunities. This is a French language event.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Small Business Week
October 16 to 22, 2022
Held annually, this week-long event is a celebration of entrepreneurship that the BDC has organized for over 43 years.
United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) Canada Innovation Showcase West
October 18 to 19, 2022
Vancouver Convention Centre – East Building
This event will focus on engaging, informative discussions while showcasing food innovations to the Canadian retail market.
Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC)
October 25 to 26, 2022
Toronto Congress Centre
Connect with peers at Canadian grocery’s largest meeting, exhibition and conference event.
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