Coronavirus exposes China’s failure as a socio-economic player

With more economic clout comes more responsibility. And China is failing

Coronavirus exposes China’s failure as a socio-economic playerWhen SARS hit in 2003, China was nowhere near the economic powerhouse it is today. Now, if something happens to China, the entire world is affected and the food sector is not immune. The coronavirus outbreak is proving that. Even though the outbreak is starting to slow, the economic damage will easily surpass that of…

Consumer trust in agriculture is waning

Organized, well-funded groups condemning farming practices on social media are winning the consumer trust battle

Consumer trust in agriculture is waningThe public uses social media every day to express concerns about farming practices. And it’s getting worse. Farmers are criticized for a variety of reasons – for example their environmental stewardship and their ethical behaviour in how they treat livestock. In survey after survey, Canadians generally say they trust farmers, regardless of headlines, social media…

Gene edited foods could be our next risk communication fiasco

Gene-edited crops can help produce safe and affordable food and energy. But proponents need to make a legitimate case to consumers

Gene edited foods could be our next risk communication fiascoWill Canadian consumers want to eat gene-edited food? There's a lot of excitement in agriculture about the introduction of gene-edited food products into the Canadian food system over the next few years. But there’s also a great deal of apprehension. Gene editing is about tweaking a plant’s genome by turning off certain genetic traits. By…

Can Starbucks save the planet?

Starbucks is going dairy free, among other measures, to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2030. It’s a bold move and accountability will be key

Can Starbucks save the planet?Starbucks’ plan to reduce its carbon emissions is undoubtedly ambitious. It wants to halve its food waste, water use and gas emissions by 2030. Their commitment to becoming a better environmental steward has wide-ranging implications across the food industry. Other chains have made similar announcements. McDonald’s aims to cut emissions by 36 per cent from…

Feds’ Buy Canadian food campaign could be a disaster

The feds want to spend $25 million to get you to buy Canadian. This is a great idea that could easily turn into a marketing disaster

Feds’ Buy Canadian food campaign could be a disasterAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada is going into marketing. It wants you to buy Canadian. The federal government intends to spend $25 million over five years starting this summer to promote Canadian food products and instill pride in what our country can bring to our tables. This is a great idea. But promoting Canadian products may…

Tim Hortons’ identity crisis

A poorly-chosen menu and questionable marketing led to a leadership shakeup. Innovation through trial speeds up change. But successive failures cast doubt

Tim Hortons’ identity crisisTim Hortons has had what is likely one of the strangest years in its history. Most of the iconic chain’s decisions in recent months have been inexplicable. Canadians have been left scratching their heads. Take the Beyond Meat burger as an example. Tim Hortons took this well-promoted plant-based item off its menu in September 2019,…

Plant health a decidedly human issue

Climate change knows no borders and neither should science. And when it comes to plant science, Canada is a force to be reckoned with

Plant health a decidedly human issueEvery year, the United Nations promotes something that it believes warrants attention and it has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health. Celebrating plant health and bringing more awareness to the issue is well worth pursuing. Plants represent about 80 per cent of everything we eat. And animals raised on farms, of course, eat…

The obese may be environmentalists next shaming target

Public shaming may reach a new low by looking at how much we eat

The obese may be environmentalists next shaming targetMove over flight shaming: environmentalists may be getting ready to target a new group of individuals. Overeaters. Yes, overeating could potentially become the next shaming social media target. For months now, many have taken to social media to spread their concerns about choices made when travelling. The plane has been a special target of environmentalists,…

The art – and science – of rescuing food

Half of Canadians intend to reduce food waste as much as possible in 2020. The industry is offering solutions, as are other organizations

The art – and science – of rescuing foodCanada generates more food waste per capita than any other country in the world. Every year, close to 60 per cent of food produced in Canada is wasted. That’s more than 35 million metric tonnes of food is lost and wasted annually in Canada. Considering the energy and resources required to produce this food, the…

The dollar store invasion gains momentum

Dollar stores in Canada sold well over $2 billion worth of food last year. And given how aggressive dollar stores are, that could double quickly

The dollar store invasion gains momentumA visit to any dollar store is something to remember: the bright lights, aisles filled with things you may or may not need, and the distinctive smell. If we had to create a smell that mixes plastic with China, the smell in a dollar store would be it. It’s not overly appetizing but a greater…

Keep calm and eat your fries

Potatoes are 20% more expensive in grocery stores than they were last year, and they could get even more expensive in 2020. Our craving for this food staple is likely to blame

Keep calm and eat your friesMost of us love fries and chips. Other than ketogenic, most diets don’t discriminate against the mighty potato. It’s even in the new Canada’s Food Guide. Most dishes using potatoes are loved by Canadians, especially in winter, when colder weather encourages us to seek heartier meals. But North America is experiencing potato shortages and processors…

The rise of the night owl: a convenience store giant

Alimentation Couche-Tard has become one of the largest convenience store chains in the world by converting gas dollars and foot traffic into more food sales

The rise of the night owl: a convenience store giantTaking over the world, one convenience store at a time, was Couche-Tard’s plan from day one. There are two types of convenience stores: Mom-and-pop stores, often operated by local people or newcomers seeking a better life in their adopted country. Stores that are part of enormous multinational conglomerates, which streamline operations by supporting thousands of…

Lab-grown coffee – agriculture’s rising revolution

We are at the dawn of a dramatic change in agricultural that’s drawing acute attention to the true cost of bringing food to our plates

Lab-grown coffee – agriculture’s rising revolutionBean-less coffee could hit the market as early as next year. Our summer was marked by key announcements from major food chains that have decided to switch to plant-based alternatives. Meat – particularly beef – was the target of companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, who claimed their plant-based products were more ecologically sound.…

Drinking the plant-based diet kool-aid

Canada’s Food Guide plant-based diet is, for the most part, elitist. Many of us can't indulge because of a lack of access, affordability or convenience

Drinking the plant-based diet kool-aidWhen the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published a 51-page report recently laying out a plan for a sustainable “planetary diet” that transforms how we eat and live, it made a big splash. The group of 37 experts, all members of the EAT-Lancet Commission, were keen to recognize the urgent need to change our diets…

Health Canada’s suggested new food labelling has limitations

Would help consumers know what's in their food but there are some gaps in the system

Health Canada’s suggested new food labelling has limitationsWhen it comes to food, the current federal government is big on consultations. Health Canada recently launched online public discussions and consumer-oriented research to find the best front-of-package labelling formula. Four models have been presented – Health Canada appears to want to keep its options open (although all the logos look the same). Saturated fats, sugar…