Comeau ruling defies economic – and common – sense

A Supreme Court ruling that there’s no ‘constitutional guarantee of free trade’ will stifle both competition and lower prices for consumers

Comeau ruling defies economic – and common – senseThe Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that provinces have the right to erect interprovincial tariff barriers. That’s bad news for Canadian consumers and the health of the national economy. It is, however, a relief for provinces that for years have allowed fiscal priorities to supersede consumer choice and common economic sense. In 2012, Gerard…

The decline … and fall … of Tim Hortons

How an iconic brand lost its Canadian identity and why its corporate masters probably don't care

The decline … and fall … of Tim HortonsThe bad news keeps piling up for Tim Hortons. Leger and National Public Relations recently released their annual report ranking Canada’s most admired companies. Google and Shoppers Drug Mart topped the rankings of most respected companies, regardless of where the company resides. Google has been No. 1 for six years. Kellogg’s, in eighth place, is…

The plastic bag pollution paradox

At least 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are floating in our oceans but we struggle to find packaging alternatives

The plastic bag pollution paradoxBy Sylvain Charlebois Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Tony Walker Dalhousie University An increasing number of people are voicing concerns about our use of plastics day-to-day. Single-use plastics of any kind – such as grocery bags, cutlery, straws, polystyrene and coffee cups – are significant yet preventable sources of land and marine pollution. In…

Jiminy Crickets! The truth about bugs as food

Loblaw selling cricket flour under its precious President’s Choice label is a big deal. But in a lot of ways, it makes a great deal of sense

Jiminy Crickets! The truth about bugs as foodSelling cricket flour is a sign that the protein wars in Canada have reached a new level. Loblaw, the largest food distribution company in the country, is now selling cricket flour. The product isn’t new – speciality stores have been selling it for a few years. But Loblaw is the first major retailer to sell…

A meatless Canada? No, but we’re becoming more discerning

A recent poll by Dalhousie University suggests that our food choices are becoming more varied

A meatless Canada? No, but we’re becoming more discerningCanadians love meat but other sources of protein are emerging as potent alternatives. Demand is up for vegetable proteins like pulses, as well as for fish and seafood. Loblaw has even started selling cricket flour and is trying to make insect consumption mainstream. That’s led some people to believe that vegetarian and vegan segments of the…

Trade wars, food fights and a budget that ignores it all

Duties may look like attractive, simple mechanisms to protect domestic interests. But they’re a very expensive way to retain jobs

Trade wars, food fights and a budget that ignores it allThe ugly face of protectionism is slowly making its way across the globe. With trade wars looming on several fronts, including in the agri-food sector, Canada's federal government seems resolved to lose. Bill Morneau is obviously an influential figure in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, but he’s no finance minister – despite his title. Given…

Minimum wage hikes serving up uncertainty in food industry

A 32 per cent increase in the minimum wage in 12 months is simply irresponsible

Minimum wage hikes serving up uncertainty in food industryThis is turning into a very challenging year for the Canadian food industry. Recent Statistics Canada numbers indicate that grocers are in trouble. Food inflation is above two per cent for the first time since April 2016. This is typically good news for grocers, increasing their margins. But given major headwinds affecting the industry, grocers…

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…

Price fixing scandal breaking bad for grocers

The growing bakery goods price fixing investigation puts the onus on manufacturers and retailers to reach out to consumers in meaningful ways

Price fixing scandal breaking bad for grocersCanada’s Competition Bureau is alleging that almost every major food player was in on the bread cartel. This is extraordinarily disturbing and Canadians have every right to wonder if other grocery staples are affected by this type of collusion. The bread-price-fixing scheme, which allegedly lasted for 14 years, included major wholesalers such as Canada Bread…

Setting the table for a homegrown value-added food sector

As foreign food processors pull out of Canada, taking jobs with them, it’s essential to the economy that we fill the gap

Setting the table for a homegrown value-added food sectorThe bloodbath in foreign-owned, large-scale food manufacturing in Canada continues. Canadian value-added food producers need to fill the gap. In the past few days, we’ve learned that two foreign-owned plants, employing almost 600 highly-paid workers altogether, are closing: Dr. Oetker in Grand Falls, N.B., and Campbell Soup Co. in Toronto. Canada may have lost 30,000…

TPP2 death knell for supply management, and that’s a good thing

The new Trans-Pacific deal will boost agri-food industries. But it’s a nail in the coffin for Canada's protectionist supply-management sectors

TPP2 death knell for supply management, and that’s a good thingCanada is making its trade intentions crystal clear and that's good news for most agri-food industries, although our supply-management sectors face big challenges. Even as the North American Free Trade Agreement talks continue, we've learned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t dead after all, although the trade deal among Pacific Rim countries has a new name:…

Tim Hortons: the killing another of Canadian icon

Parent company RBI’s international expansion plans may well be behind the heartless Tim Hortons policies in Canada

Tim Hortons: the killing another of Canadian iconDestroying Canadian business icons seems to be a trend. In 2017, it was Sears. While employees were losing their pensions because of poor management, lawyers and consultants were receiving millions as the business was shutting down. Several Canadian retail icons have crumbled due to weak managerial strategies, from Eaton’s to Sears. Most closures, though, have…

The genius of Loblaws’ $25 gift card campaign

This PR masterstroke by Loblaws has allowed the company to take control of the narrative and dodge, for now, consumer mistrust

The genius of Loblaws’ $25 gift card campaignLoblaws’ gift of $25 to all Canadians is really just part of a smoke-and-mirrors campaign. In December, Loblaws confessed to running a price-fixing scheme on bread with supplier Weston Bakeries, a sister company. As of Jan. 8, anyone can go online and register for a $25 gift card, to be redeemed at any Loblaw Companies Ltd.-owned stores.…

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?

Government generally has little or no understanding of franchising, how food distribution forces play out or even simply how small businesses operate

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?Dramatically increasing minimum wages in the food industry is irresponsible and even reckless. On Jan. 1, Ontario’s minimum wage increased by 22 per cent, to $14 an hour. It will go to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. That’s almost a 32 per cent increase in 12 months. Other provinces, such as Alberta and B.C., will follow…

Taxing meat is an unpalatable proposition

Arguing that meat is the new tobacco is sensationalist nonsense, since tobacco is not essential to life and food is. Let the market evolve

Taxing meat is an unpalatable propositionImposing a sin tax on foods that are deemed environmentally detrimental seems to be gaining support. But little can be accomplished by taxing meat. For some, eating meat is considered a sin and therefore meat products should be taxed, like alcohol and tobacco. A new report published recently by a group called Farm Animal Investment Risk…
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