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Canadian Grocer E-newsletter
June 16, 2004

What's the Buzz?
New Chairman at CCGD, appointments at Saputo Inc., Swiss Herbal Remedies Ltd. . . . .
In the News
Canadian Grand Prix New Product winners revealed, Van Houtte Perks Up Profits, Former Atlas Execs Face Charges, Kraft to Use South Beach Diet Trademark . . .
Wish You Were Here?
CIES World Food Business Summit 2004, Canadian Food Brokers Association, Annual Conference, Institute of Food Technologists' Annual Meeting and Food Expo. . . . Mark your calendar for these and other important industry events
Inside Canadian Grocer
May issue
We Want to Hear from You

Privacy Policy

What's the Buzz?

CCGD Appoints New Chairman
Alain Brisebois, vice-president wholesale operations at Metro Inc., is the new chairman of the board at the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. Brisebois succeeds A&P CEO Eric Claus. Other CCGD executive board members include vice-chairman Randy Melnychenko of H.Y. Louie Co. Limited; secretary-treasurer Bill McEwan, president and CEO of Sobeys Inc.; president Nick Jennery; Alex Campbell, chair of the board of Thrifty Foods; Geoff Wilson, vice-president, industry & investor relations, Loblaw Companies Limited; and Robert Cloutier, president and CEO, A. De La Chevrotiere Ltée. Norman Krivoshen, vice-president, consumer products of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), who recently announced his retirement from FCL, also leaves the CCGD board.

Louie Receives CCGD's Top Award
Brandt Louie, chairman of the board of H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd., has been awarded the CCGD Award of Excellence. The award recognizes an individual who through hard work and dedication has made a substantial contribution to the advancement of the Canadian food distribution industry. In May, Louie was re-elected to the Food Marketing Institute's board of directors.

Promotions at Canada Safeway
Ron Pierce is the new vice-president, sales at Canada Safeway Limited. Pierce, a long-time Safeway employee, joined the company in 1978 as a grocery buyer. Paul Malo has also been promoted and he is the new vice-president, finance and CFO. Malo also joined the company in 1978.

Executive Changes at Saputo
Montreal-based dairy processor Saputo Inc. has appointed Carmine De Somma to head up its international operations as president and COO. A long-time Saputo employee, De Somma has spent the last 16 years in the company, most recently in the role of senior vice-president, international cheese sales and procurement.

New VP at Swiss Herbal Remedies
Lesley Gallinger is the new vice-president of finance, administration/human resources and IT at Richmond Hill-Ont.-based Swiss Herbal Remedies Limited.


In the News

Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards: And the Winners Are . . .
The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors has announced the winners of the 2003-2004 Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards. The annual awards celebrate innovation, quality and exceptional value in new products hitting the Canadian market and this year winners were selected from a record 136 product finalists. Says CCGD President Nick Jennery: "…while not all of them can be Grand Prix winners—it is important that we recognize the important investments in time, energy and resources that every entry represents." British Columbia-based Sun-Rype Products Limited scored big this year, scooping three awards including the coveted All-Canadian New Grocery Product Award; the new Canadian Grand Prix Healthy Innovation New Product Award (created in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's Health Check program); and the Grand Prix for best new beverage for its Fruit & Veggie 100% Juice. Procter & Gamble was also presented with a special Grand Prix for Originality and Innovation for its Mr. Clean Magic Eraser; it also won in the Cleaning Products category. For a complete list of winners click-on the link below.

Canadian Company Grabs Two SIAL d'Or Awards
Its innovative Zero Trans Fat Cookies have earned Voortman Cookies Ltd. two awards at the prestigious SIAL d'Or contest in Paris, France. Burlington, Ont.-based Voortman won for having the best new product in the confectionery, biscuits and bread category. Voortman's Zero Trans Fat Cookies were also awarded a Canada SIAL d'Or for scoring the most points of all Canadian entries. Although Voortman was the only Canadian company to win, other Canadian entries from High Liner Foods, Tayo Foods and Mountain Meadows Food Processing Ltd., came second in their respective categories. The awards are organized every second year by the Paris-based SIAL food and beverage show.

Kraft to Close Quebec Plant
As part of its global restructuring plan, Kraft Canada Inc. will close a plant in LaSalle, Que., near Montreal, in 2005. The closure will affect 235 jobs at the facility, which processes such products as Maxwell House Coffee, Baker's chocolate and Dream Whip whipped topping. The company says production of these products will be transferred to other plants and third-party manufacturers. The move follows the food giant's announcement earlier this year that it plans to close up to 20 plants around the world and slash up to 6,000 jobs.

Jean Coutu Plans Stock Sale
Longueuil, Que.-based Jean Coutu Group Inc. is planning a $500-million stock sale this week, according to a report in The Globe and Mail. The report says that by selling stocks now, the drugstore chain hopes to take advantage of its current high share price and favourable investor reviews. Revenue generated by the sale will help Coutu pay down debts incurred by its April purchase of 1,539 Eckerd drugstores from U.S. retailer J.C. Penney Co. for $2.38 billion. The Eckerd purchase is expected to wrap up in July.

Van Houtte Perks Up Profits
Montreal-based coffee company Van Houtte's profits nearly doubled in the fourth-quarter period ended April 3, 2004, with earnings reaching $6.5 million (up from $3.4 million) a year ago. The company also reported its earnings for the year climbed to $18.6 million, compared to $14.7 million last year, and is projecting that its earnings will swell another 10% to 15% in fiscal 2004-2005. Van Houtte reported that its presence in Western Canada is increasing rapidly and that it has plans to make a bigger dent in the large Ontario market "where the greatest growth potential lies, both in coffee, services and retail."

Saputo's Profits Climb
Canada's largest dairy processor Saputo Inc. saw its profits soar by 22% in the fiscal fourth quarter, reaching $58.1 million for the period ended March 31, 2004. The Montreal-based food company attributed its improved performance, in part, to strong sales in the U.S.—where the average selling price per pound of cheese jumped 27% in the quarter—as well as the acquisition of a dairy in Argentina.

Former Atlas Execs Facing Securities Charges
After a nine-month investigation, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has slapped four former Atlas Cold Storage Income Trust executives with quasi-criminal charges. The OSC alleges Patrick Gouveia, former CEO; Andrew Peters, former CFO; Ronald Perryman, former finance vice-president; and Paul Vickery, former controller and director of business controls, "authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the commission of an offence in relation to the filing of materially misleading annual financial statements." The case will be heard in court in July and it is believed the OSC will seek stiff fines—of up to $5 million—and even jail time for the four former Atlas execs. According to a report in the National Post Patrick Gouveia's lawyer says his client is wrongly accused and that he plans to "vigorously" defend himself. Although Atlas itself hasn't been charged by the OSC, the company still faces a class action lawsuit from investors seeking to recover heavy losses incurred as a result of the accounting scandal.

Loblaw Sets Up Shop in Kensington Market
Already causing a stir for its proposal to turn Toronto hockey shrine Maple Leaf Gardens into a supercentre, Loblaw Companies Limited is preparing to set up shop in the city's historic Kensington Market, worrying the area's small business owners. The area will be the new home of the 5,000-square-foot Zimmerman's Freshmart, part of the Loblaw's chain. Although the Zimmerman family has done business in the market for decades, its new larger-format store is causing controversy in the area known for its small specialty shops. The store is set to open at the end of June.

High Liner Sells Fish Plant
In keeping with its plan to get out of the fishing business and concentrate on its core frozen food business, Lunenburg, N.S.-based High Liner Foods Inc. is handing over ownership of its Arnold's Cove, Nfld. fish processing plant and trawler to local management. The plant, which employees about 375 people, will be sold to Icewater Seafood Inc. for a nominal fee and will be headed up by former High Liner exec Bruce Wareham. High Liner says it expects to the deal to cost it a one-time after tax charge of $1.4 million. The facility will continue to supply High Liner's Lunenburg, N.S. frozen fishing plant.

Canadian/U.S. Food Industries Call for U.S. to Implement Beef Safety Rule
To ensure consumer safety and prevent further disruption in Canada-U.S. trade, food groups on both sides of the border are imploring the U.S. government to finalize and implement its beef safety rule. In a recent statement, the Food and Consumer Products Manufacturers of Canada (FCPMC) and the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) said the Canadian government has already adopted measures that would allow the sale of low-risk beef and beef containing products to resume and that the U.S. government has proposed adopting similar measures. The groups say these steps, in addition to long-standing risk-reduction measures by both governments have prompted BSE experts to conclude that beef from the two countries is safe.

More Food Basics Planned in U.S. reports that Montvale, N.J.-based Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company plans to convert up to 80 of its 400 supermarkets in the United States to its discount Food Basics banner. The report cited A&P senior vice-president and CFO Mitchell Goldstein as saying the company has already been using the Food Basics value format in Canada—where about half of its stores operate under this banner—and at 25 U.S. locations. The conversions would take place over the next several years.

Kraft to Use South Beach Diet Trademark
With cookie and cereal sales dropping, Kraft Foods Inc. is hoping to use the popularity of the low-carb South Beach Diet to help bolster its sagging sales. The Northfield, Ill.-based food giant has reached a multi-year agreement with Dr. Arthur Agatston, creator of the diet and best-selling book, to use the South Beach Diet trademark on some of its foods. The South Beach Diet is touted as a modified carb diet that advocates high-fibre, lean protein and healthy fats, while shunning high-carb foods such as bread, rice, pastas and fruit. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kimberly-Clark Gets Approval for Spinoff
U.S. tissue and wood products giant Kimberly-Clark Corp. has won approval from its board to spin off its specialty paper and Canadian pulp operations. The spinoff, which the company expects to wrap up by year-end, would create a publicly traded company generating about US$650 million in annual sales—less than 3% of Kimberly-Clark's total business. The company says the move would reduce its role in producing its own raw materials, allowing it to focus on consumer products to improve its position in its more profitable core health and hygiene businesses.

Wal-Mart Aims to Improve Worker Conditions
Hit with a barrage of criticism, and lawsuits, for its alleged unfair treatment of employees, Wal-Mart is taking steps to improve its relationship with workers. At its annual general meeting recently in Bentonville, Ark., the retail giant told shareholders and employees it plans to ensure its "diversity goals" are met; if not, top execs will see their bonuses slashed. Wal-Mart has been accused of not paying employees overtime and for gender bias in its hiring practices. CEO Lee Scott said the company is serious about addressing the issue and has created a Compliance Office to ensure its rules and procedures are followed and that improvements are made in how employees are treated.

Ocean Spray Growers Reject PepsiCo Offer
The option to pursue a joint venture with PepsiCo was nixed by the fruit grower-owners of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., who voted, instead, to remain an independent co-operative. Fifty-two percent of the growers said no to the proposed deal, which could have seen Ocean Spray selling control of its branded business to the soft drink giant. Ocean Spray says the decision "will bring to an end a lengthy process undertaken by the board more than a year ago to explore a full range of strategic options . . . all in the interest of bolstering the Co-operative and the profitability of its grower owners." With more than 900 fruit growers in the United States and Canada, Massachusetts-based Ocean Spray is the world's largest cranberry producer.

Consumers Believe Packaged Fruits and Veggies are Safer, Survey
Although consumers think loose fruits and vegetables are fresher and of superior quality, they also believe pre-packaged produce is a safer and more sanitary choice, according to a new report from the U.S.-based Produce Marketing Association (PMA). The report, Produce Packaging: Preferences and Buying Behavior, reveals that 72% of shoppers surveyed said loose produce delivers consistently better quality and taste, while 51% described packaged produce as being more sanitary, and 41% described it as being safer as it isn't "handled" as much in-store. The study also found that consumers preferred smaller, flexible packages to larger, more rigid containers and that package design was key in influencing produce purchase decisions.


Inside Canadian Grocer

May 2004

Check out Canadian Grocer's May edition for:

  • Bill McEwan—an exclusive interview with Sobeys' chief exec
  • The Skinny on Low Carb—tips on how this emerging category can help fatten your bottom line
  • The Shape of Things to Come—supermarket design guru Don Watt peers into the future
  • The Innovators—money saving ideas from four grocers across the country
  • The Tech Edge—a 12-page special section on what's new in supermarket equipment
  • On the Road—what's new in minivans and sorting through option lists
  • Your Cabinet—you need the skill of a maestro to make sure your department heads sing from the same hymnbook
  • ShareGoods—a look at one way the consumer packaged goods industry and the Canadian Association of Food Banks is helping Canadians in need
  • Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards finalists—Presenting the 136 finalists of 2003-2004

Plus our regular columns and departments—International News, Coast to Coast, Buzz and more.

Subscribe to Canadian Grocer magazine



Wish You Were Here?

June 15-16: World Food Market Place 2004, Porte de Versailles, Paris, France. Visit

June 16-17: National Dollar Store Expo, Las Vegas Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nev. Contact Kristina Mullen at 1-800-859-9247 or e-mail

June 16-18: CIES World Food Business Summit 2004, Rome, Italy. Visit

June 19-22: National Association of Chain Drug Stores 2004 Marketplace Conference, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, Calif. Tel. 703-549-3001.

June 21-22: Annual Coffee Association Annual Conference, Inn on the Park Hotel, Toronto. Tel. 416-510-8032 or visit

June 22: Canadian Nutrition Labelling Seminar, Toronto Botanical Gardens, Garden Hall Auditorium, Toronto, Ont. E-mail

June 23: IGD Global Retailing Conference, QEII Conference Centre, London, U.K. Visit

June 25: CCGD/CPMC's Executive Breakfast featuring Eric Claus, Pres. and CEO, The Great Atlantic and Pacific Co. of Canada Ltd. Doubletree International Plaza Hotel, Toronto, Ont. Visit or e-mail

June 27-29: Canadian Food Brokers Association, Annual Conference 2004, Le Grand Lodge, Mont-Tremblant, Que. Tel. 905-477-4644, or e-mail

June 27-29: NASFT Summer Fancy Food &Confection Show, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York. Tel. 212-482-6440, or visit

July 12-23: The 2004 Cornell Food Executive Program, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Tel. 607-255-5024 or visit

July 13-16: Institute of Food Technologists' Annual Meeting and Food Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. Visit

July 15: Mondo Broker's 1st Annual New Product Showcase, Toronto Board of Trade, Toronto, Ont. Tel. Michael Ricciardi at 416-418-3124.

July 17-18: Low Carb Products Expo, Tropicana Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. Tel. 1-800-859-9247 or 702-893-9090.

August 8-12: Canadian Gift & Tableware Association Fall Gift Show, Toronto International Centre and Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, Ont. Visit

August 8-12: International Association for Food Protection, 91st Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Ariz. Tel. 1-800-369-6337 or visit

August 15-18: International Baking Industry Expo 2004, Las Vegas, Nev. Visit

September 9-12: SANA's 16th International Exhibition of Natural Products, Bologna, Italy. E-mail or visit

September10-12: 20th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair, York Quay Centre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Ont. Tel. 416-544-8891 or visit

September 14-15: Anuga Chilled Food 2004, congress trade fair, Cologne, Germany. Visit

September 15-16: 13th Annual Canadian Tea Industry Fall Conference, Pillar & Post Inn and Conference Centre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Visit or e-mail

September 15-16: ServSafe for the Food Industry, Food Service and Retail, Guelph Food Technology Centre, Guelph, Ont. Visit


We Want to Hear from You

Do you have something to say about an article we wrote? Do you have an opinion about an important industry issue? We want to know! Please send us your comments, questions, gripes and suggestions. We may publish your letter to the editor in an upcoming issue.

Contact Canadian Grocer:
Shellee Fitzgerald, Staff Writer:

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