GFM Network News


Comment: A case for a code of practice

When there are no rules the large grocers can bully their supply chain

Major Canadian grocers in Canada are at it again. After Walmart and Metro, it was Loblaw’s turn to make changes to its vendor policies, implementing new fees to support a $6-billion plan to improve its in-store and digital operations. Sobeys, the only one left, if you exclude Costco, opted not to follow suit. This has

COVID-19 has pushed governments to consider food autonomy as a priority and support local supply chains. But buying local produce is easier said than done.

Comment: The local food paradox

Governments are interested in food autonomy but price remains very important

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting supply chains and impacting food purchasing habits, our relationship with food was different. Quite different. The pandemic has pushed governments to consider food autonomy as a priority and look more at local supply chains. Discussions are about producing food in Canada, all year round, while offering products to consumers


Across the country, companies are struggling to recruit people to work in food processing.

Comment: Agri-food sector still sees labour shortage

Canadians are getting back to work, but not in your sector

Job numbers are better. For the agri-food sector though, not so much. Statistics Canada’s recent September job market data is reassuring. Overall, employment in the country increased in September, creating 378,000 jobs, the majority of which were full-time jobs. This increase in September brought our total employment to 720,000, shy of the level we had

China is desperately trying to restore its image with its own population. As a risk manager, Beijing has not always looked good – far from it.

Comment: The Chinese enigma

As the country where coronavirus first occurs shores up its reputation, there is collateral damage for food producers

As the numbers of COVID-19 cases reach new heights these days, China is jubilant. In the country where the pandemic began less than a year ago, there have been 91,000 cases of COVID-19 recorded, with a total of about 4,800 victims. Data from the World Health Organization also tells us that China has conducted more

We are just coming out of an era in which we have been bent on buying the cheapest food products.

Comment: Higher grocery bills a fact of life

Many grocery categories have seen price increases at a rate much higher than general inflation

Every month, Statistics Canada reminds us that life is getting more expensive. But for food, the situation has been unique over the last few decades. Based on numbers released recently, the price of a typical grocery basket has increased by about 240 per cent since 2000. Some will think that such a percentage is expected,


Los Angeles County firefighters patrol the front fire lines Friday night from the Bobcat Fire near Juniper Hills, California on Sept. 18, 2020.

Comment: As California burns, so does our winter lettuce

Canada has always relied on imported fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter months

California is on fire. Although most of the fire-affected territory has nothing to do with agriculture, the smoke is so intense that it could damage many crops. As the fall approaches, the California fires could affect our food supply in Canada for the coming months. Like the labour issues affecting farmers this summer domestically, this

‘Undermining food manufacturing is to deny the agri-food sector its strategic foothold. Innovating and growing an economy, especially in rural communities, becomes more challenging.’ – Sylvain Charlebois.

Comment: Walmart flexes its muscles and food processors suffer

Canadian food manufacturing has lost 12 jobs a day everyday since 2012 and a July announcement by Walmart Canada won’t help

Consumers got a glimpse of how food supply chains work — or don’t — at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now Walmart is giving them a chilling new perspective. During the panic-buying phase in the early spring, few experts in the food industry would have predicted the unprecedented levels of vertical co-ordination and incredible

Comment: Leaving town for the country

With more people able to work from home, many consumers are apparently looking to trade in city living for open space, and the agri-food sector will have to adjust

People seem to want to flee urban centres these days. The real estate market is overheating in regions outside of major cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Halifax. Recent real estate reports suggest sales are up 20 per cent in many rural markets and prices have increased by at least five per cent since the


Comment: The Empress, The Player, and the Annoyed

Grocery leaders were summoned to a parliamentary committee recently

Top Canadian grocers testified before a parliamentary standing committee recently, to explain why all COVID-19 incentive programs were cancelled within hours. Most grocery store and distribution center employees were paid extra at the beginning of the pandemic, only to see wages now go back to pre-COVID levels. CEOs who testified were Loblaws’ Sarah Davis, Empire

Most major health authorities have concluded that consuming GMO ingredients in food does not pose either short- or long-term health risks. But most of this doesn’t matter in the eyes of the average consumer.

Comment: Gene editing a risk communication fiasco in the making

There are powerful arguments for this technology, but the industry isn’t making them

We are hearing more about gene-edited foods. It’s an intriguing concept for some but perhaps a scary one for others. We don’t know whether Canadian consumers will 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