Export Savvy E-News – March 11, 2024

Volume 21 – Issue 2

CFEA & Partner News

Member Highlight

Turkey Hill Sugarbush, Ltd. is a leader in the maple syrup industry supplying high quality pure maple syrup and maple syrup related products since 1976.

Available CFEA Events

July 30-August 3, 2024 Wofex, Manila, Philippines

September 2-5, 2024 Fine Food Australia, Melbourne

Coming soon:

September 11-12, 2024 Plant Based World Expo, New York

November 19-21, 2024 Fi Europe, Frankfurt, Germany

Partner/Other Events

March 21, 2024 1pm ET Webinar: Mastering Incoterms 2020 to succeed internationally (EDC)

On Demand Online Course: Preparing for International Trade Shows (FITT)

June 11-14, 2024 Seoul Food & Hotel (SFH) 2024, South Korea (AAFC)

June 13, 14, 24 & 25, 2024 The Art of Leadership Women, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary


Q1 2024 Macroeconomic snapshot: Comparing Canadian and U.S. economic performance (FCC)

To view all available postings, please visit Market Reports and Regulations landing pages.

News Posts

Egypt: New halal certification requirements / Egypte – nouvelles exigences de certification halal

FDA Announces Qualified Health Claim for Yogurt and Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

India’s temporary removal of import restrictions on peas / L’Inde supprime temporairement les restrictions à l’importation de pois

Indonesia Acknowledges Two Canadian Halal Certification Bodies / L’Indonésie reconnaît deux établissements de certification halal canadiens

To view all available postings, please visit the News landing page.

Retail News

Walmart Prepares to Introduce Food Courts

USA, March 1 – As grocery stores continue to gain momentum with foodservice offerings, Walmart’s pilot concept with Jet.com co-founder Marc Lore for mini concepts of Lore’s Wonder food halls fit the bill with “fast-fine” options that include offerings from eight different restaurants from Mediterranean food from Yasas by Michael Symon to sweet goods from Magnolia Bakery and Milk Bar. Full story at Deli Market News.

Major grocers invest in discount stores as customers keep budgets tight

CANADA, March 3 – Canada’s biggest grocers are investing money and space in discount stores such as No Frills, Food Basics and FreshCo as shoppers look for ways to save on food amid the higher cost of living. Full story at Global News.

Farm Boy preps new Oshawa store

CANADA, March 4 – Ontario-based grocer Farm Boy will open its 48th store in the province this month. The Oshawa supermarket, set to welcome customers on March 14, is the retailer’s 19th in the Greater Toronto Area. Full story at Canadian Grocer.

Thrive Market grows sales with sustainable operations

USA, March 4 – Membership-based online grocer Thrive Market aims to make organic food accessible to consumers by curating products to help customers make decisions and using sustainable operating methods to entice the conscious consumer. With more than $500 million in sales in 2023, the company continued building on its sustainable operations and received TRUE Certification for Zero Waste and the Climate Neutral Certified designation. Full story at US Chamber of Commerce.

As consumers search for value, Farm Boy delivers with its stable of private-label products

CANADA, March 4 – Private-label brands are having a moment. Increasingly, consumers are turning to store brands as food prices remain high and the cost of living increases. One of the front-runners in this space is Farm Boy. The Empire-owned banner offers more than 2,000 private-label products spanning various categories including snacks, bakery, frozen, deli and condiments, and has built a loyal fan following in the process. Full story at Canadian Grocer.

Whole Foods unveils small-format store for urban markets

USA, March 4 – Whole Foods Market is introducing a new small-format store designed to provide customers in urban neighborhoods a fast, convenient shopping experience—and a place to grab a quick meal. Each unit will feature a cafe as well as a selection of grab-and-go foods. Full story at Restaurant Business.

Asia’s e-commerce battlefield is expanding fast

VARIOUS, March 6 –Companies like South Korea’s Coupang are challenging Amazon rival Temu with rapidly growing scale, ambitious logistics investments, and more. Coupang’s annual revenue has risen every year since 2018 from under $5 billion to almost $30 billion. Learn more at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

ALDI to pour $9B into major expansion of 800 new stores

USA, March 7 – ALDI has announced plans to open 800 new stores across the US over the next five years — a figure that includes both the conversion of some Winn-Dixie and Harvey Supermarkets stores acquired from Southeastern Grocers, as well as regular store openings. The plans represent an overall $9 billion investment and will include 330 new stores in the Northeast and Midwest as well as stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. Full story at Progressive Grocer.

Foodservice News

Restaurants add small-format designs to their portfolios

USA, March 1 – Operators such as Jack in the Box, Portillo’s and Wienerschnitzel are adding small-footprint locations with drive-through lanes and limited indoor seating to minimize real estate and staffing costs, according to company executives. The designs also maximize the food preparation area with fewer steps needed and multi-use equipment. Full story at Nation’s Restaurant News (free registration).

Food halls: A fad still figuring it out

USA, March 1 – Nancy and Lisa debate the up and downsides of these multi-outlet concepts that are a leading cause of Choice Paralysis. Full story at Restaurant Business.

Inspire Brands hits international growth milestone

GLOBAL, March 4 – Inspire Brands, which owns Dunkin’, Baskin-Robbins, Jimmy John’s and other brands, is looking to continue its global expansion and has already opened its 10,000th international location, a Dunkin’ in Lelystad in The Netherlands. Meanwhile, plans call for expanding Jimmy John’s into Central America and Canada. Full story at Nation’s Restaurant News (free registration).

McAlister’s Deli hits $1B revenue by reducing “veto vote”

USA, March 4 – McAlister’s Deli is the first GoTo Foods brand to reach $1 billion in revenue, according to 2023 fourth-quarter results, after growing to 550 locations over 35 years. The brand leans heavily into catering for brand awareness, uses data to recommend upgrades to orders and has 11 different revenue streams, such as online ordering, to reduce the “veto vote”. Full story at Nation’s Restaurant News (free registration).

Flynn Group goes deep and wide with restaurant franchises

AUSTRALIA, March 4 – Flynn Group, the world’s largest restaurant franchisor, is going international with a foray into Australia after successfully operating Applebee’s, Panera, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Planet Fitness and Pizza Hut restaurants. “And for us being in six different brands, we have a wide view of the whole industry,” said CEO Greg Flynn. “And we try to be very constructive around that — helping consider each of our brand’s problems with the benefit of the experience we have from our other brands.” Full story at QSR.

Inspire Brands complements rather than competes

USA, March 5 – Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown said the company looks at its brands — which include Dunkin’, Buffalo Wild Wings and Jimmy John’s — more like the hotel model rather than the restaurant model when they share innovations. “We see about 75% of Americans every year in one of our restaurants, given the breadth of our brands,” Brown said. “There are differences based on income level, but that’s the beautiful thing about [having] a broad, diverse brand with multiple price points.” Full story at CNBC.

Potbelly accelerates growth of franchised units

USA, March 5 – Potbelly is working with four franchisees to open 18 more locations as part of its goal to have 85% of stores franchised, up from the current 17%. Chicago-based Potbelly operates 425 units with a long-term goal of 2,000 units. Full story at Restaurant Business.

First Watch hits $1B in annual sales

USA, March 5 – First Watch Restaurant Group reached $1 billion in sales for fiscal 2023, doubling its sales from 2019, with 524 restaurants that serve breakfast and brunch. The Florida-based chain completed the rollout of its pay-at-the-table technology, which uses a QR code on receipts, and saw 125,000 customers use the feature just last week, said CEO Chris Tomasso. Full story at Nation’s Restaurant News (free registration).

Chicago burger chain has plans after buying competitor

USA, March 6 – Epic Burgers is expanding from six stores in the Chicago area to 11 with the acquisition of Meatheads Burgers, a direct competitor in the same market. The Meatheads name will go away, so “we can spend more money, have one voice instead of representing two brands, and we can let Chicago know that we’re serving quality food,” said Epic Burgers CEO David Grossman. Full story at Forbes.

Trend Watch

How brands should engage money-conscious consumers

USA, March 1 – Today’s consumers are pessimistic, short on cash, worried about inflation and the cost of everyday goods and even more concerned about the future, making marketers’ battle for attention and sales more competitive, said Dipanjan Chatterjee, Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst. Chatterjee urges brands to focus on kitchen-table economics, consider ways to bring real value to consumers and develop experiential products and services that excite their target markets. Full story at Adweek.

Shoppers turn to frozen food for both quality and value

USA, March 4 – Volume sales of frozen foods increased 5% in 2023 compared with 2019 driven by global flavors, breakfast offerings, smaller portion sizes and children’s products, according to research from ConAgra Brands. The research also found consumers are especially buying Asian-inspired products and spicy flavors, convenience foods like breakfast sandwiches and snacking options as they seek to find quality products at budget-friendly prices. Full story at Food Business News (free registration).

From conscious wellbeing to betterment brands: Diageo outlines 5 top trends shaping consumer behavior

GLOBAL, March 6 – Diageo has turned to social media platforms, other web sources and its own consumer insight teams to track down the top trends shaping consumer behavior. What do these trends tell us – and what are the key takeaways for brands who want to future-proof themselves? Learn the answer at BeverageDaily(free registration). You can also view the full report at this link.

GenZ are ditching physical wallets

USA, March 7 – A survey cited in the article asked 2,501 American consumers about digital payments and found that 79% of GenZ respondents use digital wallets, compared to a mere 26% of baby boomers and seniors who do. Full story at ZD Net.

Salty snack supply set to grow and diversify in 2024

EUROPE, March 7 – Affordable, better-for-you and flavourful salty snacks lead producers’ formulation considerations in 2024, while creating resilient crops and exploring the metaverse landscape drive the wider value chain. Learn more at FoodNavigator (free registration).

Consumers increase their appetite for nonchocolate candy

USA, March 8 – The entire confectionery category was up 7% in dollar dales for the year ending Feb. 25 with nonchocolate candy sales increasing 10% and chocolate sales up 4%, according to data from Circana. Still, annual chocolate sales as a whole are nearing $20 billion, and all chocolate segments except sugar-free and gift box achieved dollar growth during the year. Full story at Candy & Snack Today.

2024 flavor trends are healthful, fantastical

NETHERLANDS, March 7 – Innova Market Insights has released its 2024 flavor trend predictions, highlighting floral, fantasy and nostalgic palates. Florals like chamomile and honeysuckle are increasingly being associated with health and wellness while Generation Z has pushed forward unusual flavors like “rainbow,” “cosmic” and “dream,” which experienced 23% growth between 2020 and 2023. Full story at Food Business News (free registration).

Health Watch

Is obesity a more significant health risk than hunger?

GLOBAL, March 4 – The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled among adults and quadrupled among children and adolescents since 1990. Additionally, the data indicate that 43% of adults were overweight in 2022. The report suggests that obesity is now viewed as a more significant global health risk than hunger, signalling a paradigm shift in our collective concern towards overweight and obese populations. Full story at Canadian Grocer.

Nutrition and dry eye syndrome: Dietary interventions could play a role in managing condition

SOUTH KOREA, March 4 – The intake of specific dietary nutrients has been linked with a reduced risk of dry eye syndrome (DES) among Korean women aged 40 and above, according to a new study. It was found that the intake of dietary fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, water, calcium, phosphate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E pointed to a decreased risk of DES. Learn more at NutraIngredients(registration required).

Pets bring people big mental health boost

USA, March 4 – The vast majority (84%) of Americans with pets say their animal companion brings a positive mental health impact to their lives, a new poll shows. Learn more at MedicalExpress.

Proceed with caution: The meteoric rise of 0% alcohol drinks

AUSTRALIA, March 4 – New research from Flinders University has revealed that parents are feeling conflicted, confused and concerned when it comes to zero-alcohol beer, wine and spirts and adolescents. Research has found that parents feel like they don’t have enough information to make an informed decision, and are conflicted on whether alcohol-free alternatives are suitable, healthy or possibly harmful for teenagers. Full story at MedicalExpress.

Extra virgin olive oil lowers bad cholesterol, inflammatory marker in people with central obesity

MALAYSIA, March 5 – Consuming meals prepared using extra virgin olive oil for 12 weeks has showed benefits for cardiometabolic health in individuals with central obesity, such as a reduction in bad cholesterol and the inflammatory marker hs-CRP. Learn more at NutraIngredients (registration required).

Researchers explore links between gut microbes and effective colon cancer care

USA, March 5 – Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and a Kansas State University graduate student is doing research to identify and improve effective colon cancer care. Learn more at MedicalExpress.

Study finds consuming refined carbs might be linked to perceived facial attractiveness

FRANCE, March 6 – Statistical analysis showed that consuming a high-glycemic breakfast was associated with lower subsequent facial attractiveness ratings for both men and women. Chronic consumption of refined carbohydrates during breakfast and snacks was also associated with lower attractiveness ratings, although consumption of high-energy foods at these times was associated with higher attractiveness ratings. Full story at MedicalExpress.

“Ultra-processed” foods are not something to fear

USA, March 7 – Criticisms of so-called “ultra-processed” foods are largely missing the reason why food is processed in the first place: offering shelf-stable nutritional value at an affordable price, writes Megan Kastner, policy manager for product policy at the Consumer Brands Association. The misconception that fewer ingredients means healthier food is scientifically incorrect and disregards the population with food sensitivities, Kastner adds. Full story at Food Processing.

Food Safety Watch

Research shows relationship between certain properties and foodborne pathogens in leafy greens

USA, March 1 – New research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has revealed new factors that impact E. coli contamination in leafy greens. Temperature and leaf surface properties such as roughness and natural wax coatings can impede susceptibility. Full story at The Packer.

Food safety investments: South Korea looks to boost local HACCP advancement

SOUTH KOREA, March 4 – The South Korean government has plans to significantly boost the level of food safety assurance in the local food system by investing into facility and technological improvements for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) advancement. Learn more at FoodNavigator (registration required).

Seafood scrutiny: South Korea to step up shellfish and egg inspections to prevent food poisoning outbreaks

SOUTH KOREA, March 5 – South Korea is to increase inspections and analysis of shellfish and egg products in order to cut down the risks of food poisoning outbreaks, most notably of norovirus and salmonella. Full story at FoodNavigator (free registration).

New York State is latest to threaten removal of harmful food additives

USA, March 6 – The movement to ban certain additives in food or beverages that started last year in California and spread this year first to Illinois has now reached as far as the Empire State. Two New York State lawmakers introduced related bills to protect consumers from dangerous known and unknown additives used in foods and beverages. Learn more at Food Safety News.

Sweetener ‘controversy’ fuels consumer confusion: How should industry respond?

UK, March 6 – Growing ‘controversy’ and ‘confusion’ around alternative sweeteners is impacting consumer trust. What should manufacturers’ next steps be? Learn the answer at FoodNavigator (free registration).

Labelling News

Optimise red meat labels to drive sales: AHDB

UK, February 29 – Food businesses can drive red meat sales with optimised labels that provide inspiration, health messaging and reassurance on its impact to the environment and farming, according to new research from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Full story at FoodManufacture (free registration).

Italian Government could alter ban on ‘meaty’ descriptors for plant-based food if it harms business

ITALY, March 1 – The Italian agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida has confirmed that the government is in discussions with plant-based meat companies about the impending ban on the use of ‘meaty’ product descriptors. Full story at FoodManufacture (free registration).

USDA scrutinizes negative antibiotic claims, may require more testing for veracity

USA, March 6 – Companies that make negative antibiotic claims may soon be required to regularly conduct and submit to USDA test results documenting the claims’ veracity if an ongoing study conducted by the agency confirms antibiotics routinely in animals destined for the antibiotic-free market, warns the leader of USDA’s Office of Food Safety. Full story at FoodNavigator (free registration).

FSA highlights the difference between ‘vegan’ and ‘free-from’ terms

UK, March 7 – The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a campaign to explain the difference between free-from and vegan labeling. Vegan labels are used to support a dietary choice and do not intentionally contain products of animal origin. However, vegan food could still be prepared alongside eggs, milk, fish, crustaceans, or mollusks. Full story at Food Safety News.

Plain and safe: New Zealand launches new industry food allergen labelling guidebook and checklists

NEW ZEALAND, March 7 – The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched a new food allergen labelling guidebook targeted at food and beverage manufacturers, importers and retailers to ease companies into newly-enforced regulatory requirements. Full story at BakeryandSnacks (free registration).

Trade and Regulatory News

New Legislation to Combat Shrinkflation?

USA, March 1 – Federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to regulate “shrinkflation,” a practice some legislators say includes decreasing product size while maintaining similar prices. Learn more at Progressive Grocer.

Canada sanctions more Russians over Navalny death

CANADA/RUSSIA, March 3 – Canada’s foreign affairs minister has announced another round of sanctions against the Russian government, which she says are in response to last month’s death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Russia’s “continued gross and systematic violations of human rights.” Full story a CTV News.

Food law expert on developing a strong IP: “Investment needs to start early”

UK, March 4 – Food law expert Dr Mark Tallon, of the UK-based food law firm Legal Foods and the Food Law Academy believes a key skill missing for professionals in the food industry is a strong understanding of the threats and opportunities surrounding intellectual property (IP). Learn more at NutraIngredients (registration required).

Federal help welcomed, but BC wine industry says replant money urgently needed

CANADA, March 5 – Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture made a funding announcement of $177 million for the Wine Sector Support program which will help Canadian wineries improve their competitiveness and adapt to the challenges they face. This funding is welcomed by the industry but immediate replant money would be immensely welcomed. So says Miles Prodan, president and CEO of Wine Growers BC. Full story at Global News.

Thailand eliminates tariffs and reduces excise taxes for wine

THAILAND, March 5 – From February 23, 2024, Thailand eliminated tariffs on wine imports under the Harmonized System (HS) codes 2204 and 2205. Previously, wine imported from countries without a free trade agreement with Thailand (e.g., the United States) was subject to a 54 percent tariff (if less than 23% alcohol by volume (ABV)) or a 60 percent tariff if ABV content was above 23%. Learn more at USDA.

Alcohol duty frozen until 2025

UK, March 6 – Alcohol duty in the UK will be frozen until February 2025, the UK government announced in the Budget released today (March 6). Learn more at BeverageDaily (free registration).

Misleading marketing: Taiwan sets harsher punishments for food firms violating advertising rules

TAIWAN, March 6 – Mainstream food and beverage firms flouting Taiwan advertising rules and regulations will now be subject to harsher punishments, with repeat offenders warned their businesses could be closed down. Full story at FoodNavigator (free registration).

FAO Food Price Index eases again in February, mostly driven by lower world cereal prices

GLOBAL, March 8 – World food prices fell in February for the seventh consecutive month as lower prices for all major cereals offset the rising price of sugar and meat. The FAO Food Price Index stood at 117.3 points in February 2024, down 0.9 points from its revised January level. Learn more at FAO.

China’s produce market projected to reach $2.4 trillion by 2032

CHINA, March 7 – Rapid population growth and consumer demand for variety are driving consistent gains in China’s already flourishing fruit and vegetable market. Analysis by AstuteAnalytica projects a 6.64% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) forhe sector over the next decade. That would increase the value of China’s produce trade from $1.3 trillion in 2023 to $2.4 trillion by 2032. Full story at FreshFruitPortal.com.

Other Interesting Articles

Social media “has never been more important”

GLOBAL, February 28 – Social media is used by 62.3% of the world’s population, up 5.6% over 2023, with users averaging 2 hours and 23 minutes daily on platforms and replacing WhatsApp as their “favorite” in favor of Instagram. We Are Social co-founder Nathan McDonald says the rise of TikTok is an indication that “social is not somewhere where a broadcast approach works for brands, and the importance of thinking social first has never been more important.” Full story at Marketing Tech.

If you’re boarding a flight soon, flight attendants say these are the 9 things you should not do

USA, March 2 – A lot of people are frequent flyers these days, but their knowledge of air travel still can’t compare with the level that flight attendants possess. This is especially clear when crew members travel as passengers themselves. To combat the lack of consideration and offer guidance for air travelers, HuffPost asked flight attendants what behaviors they always avoid when they fly as passengers. Learn what they said at Buzz Feed.

Dynamic pricing is here to stay, whether we like it or not

CANADA, March 5 – Dynamic pricing has the potential to create a more vibrant and competitive marketplace, akin to a cat-and-mouse game. However, equipping consumers to navigate this new pricing landscape is an ongoing challenge, and for the time being, companies are likely to maintain a low profile regarding their pricing strategies. Full story at Canadian Grocer.

Most Canadians think Canada is broken and are angry with Trudeau government: exclusive poll

CANADA, March 7 – Canadians across political lines were on the same page when it came to the perception that Canada is broken, with 70 per cent agreeing with the statement. Most Conservative voters (85 per cent) backed the idea. Notably, two-thirds of NDP voters (66 per cent) agreed, in addition to 58 per cent of Bloc Québécois voters and a fair number of Liberal ones. Full story the National Post.