The Millennial Mom has arrived and manufacturers and grocers should take note. Entering their third decade and commencing their own families, these moms are reshaping the way brands reach out to them. So who is this mom, and how do they shop?


The Millennial Mom

The Millennial Mom is defined as being between the ages of 18 to 32 years old. Often burdened by student debt and high mortgages, they are forsaking the downtown core for the suburbs where housing is more affordable. In 2014, the Millennials became the largest generation in the Canadian work force.

Millenial mom - image 1


A few quick facts about them:

  • On average 77% of babies born in Canada are to Millennials
  • 28.5 is the average age for first time moms with 85% of them having 1-2 children
  • They are extremely well educated. 88% are university or college educated

Millenial mom - image 2


Where and How Does Millennial Mom Shop?

Grocery Business and Parents Life Network recently undertook a research study on this influential segment. Despite a wide variety of grocery formats in Canada, only 18% of Millennial Moms feel that grocery stores are geared towards people like them. So where then do they shop? Fifty two percent (52%) of Millennial Moms indicated they discount shop more often since having children and seventy one percent (71%) shop at stores with consistently low prices. Overall, they spend $100 Million monthly with discount shoppers, with Walmart being there preferred destination the past month.

Millenial mom - image 3


They are also more likely to engage in nearly every online shopping activity, with 33% of females saying they would buy everything online if they could. Despite their money saving strategies, Millennial Moms still outspend the average Canadian family by $30 / month.

Millenial mom - image 4


What Millennial Moms Seek When Shopping

Like most Canadians, Millennial Moms wish to eat healthy and are purchasing quality ingredients at the lowest possible price. In fact, 80% of their food budget is spent on fresh foods for prepared meals at home. So what do they seek when they go shopping? The top 5 items include:


  1. Competitive prices
  2. Fresh produce
  3. Product selection
  4. Convenient location
  5. Customer service

These items correspond to how their shopping priorities have changed since having children.


% Millennial Moms Who Are Shifting Shopping Priorities

Now That They Have Children

Millenial mom - image 5


Millenial mom - image 6


How to Engage With Millennial Moms

The Millennial Mom is digital savvy as they reshaped the way brands reach out to them. For those brands that seek tohappy woman with basket and smartphone in market talk with them, according to a study by web and mobile platform Baby Center, mobile is the place to find them. Not only do they spend 47% more time on their smartphone than Generation X moms, over the past two years, their time spent on a smartphone doubled, whereas time spent on their PC / lap top has declined.

They rely on their phones when looking to make a purchase. Seven in 10 use their smartphone while shopping in-store, allowing them to search for recipes (48%), text photos or videos to friends and family, to ask their opinions (48%) and read product reviews (46%). Fifty eight percent (58%) also say that they pay attention to ads that are relevant to either their life stage or that of their child. Millennial Moms are also strong users of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.


Implications for Food Brands

Brands must engage in conversation with Millennial Moms. The key for marketers is to clearly illustrate how their brand’s core values correspond with their own and acknowledge their input and influence. The reward is there for marketers. Not only are seventy percent (70%) of Millennial Moms more likely than the general population to endorse a brand to friends and family, sixty eight percent (68%) of moms say posts from another mom are more influential than brand posts.


Final Thoughts

The shift in the Canadian work force has occurred. It is now time for brands to shift their grocery marketing to better align with this important generation of Moms. For those brands that do, there is a reward at the end of the rainbow.


For more help Getting and Staying Listed in Canada’s Grocery Sector, connect with us through our website: or give us a call toll free: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662).


This past week I had the pleasure of attending Food and Beverage Ontario AGM and Conference. Food and Beverage Ontario is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of Ontario’s food and beverage processors. The conferences title:

Navigating the Road to Success – Innovation, Consumer Trends and the Future of Ontario Food.

Their 3 guest speakers included:fbo-logo

  1. Mr. C. Haney – Director of Corporate Innovation – Communitech
  2. Mr. D. Bricker – CEO – IPSOS Public Affairs
  3. Mr. J. Scott – Past President of CFIG

Outlined below is a synopsis of the topic each gentlemen discussed.


  1. Mr. C. Haney:

Innovation, Why It Really Matters in the Food and Beverage Processing Industry


4 Key Facts with respect to Food and Beverage Industry

  • Speed is key to the industry. Adapt to the new trends or be left behind.
  • Disruption is coming, like it or not. Customers control the train, not the manufacturer
  • Healthy growth requires an environment open to new and unexpected direction
  • Innovate or die


How To Innovate

  • Innovation fails because of a lack of discipline, not a lack of ideas
  • Work with urgency – fail and learn from it
  • If you’re not experimenting, you are guessing. Do not guess
  • Talk to your customers’ every day. No surveys or focus groups. They will provide you with insights. You will see trends before they become trends
  • Innovation without value is just play
  • Innovate at the speed of a start up
  • Innovation happens beyond the surface


Collaborative Innovation Supports

  • Learn what you don’t know
  • Leveraging startups can help drive innovation
  • Collaborate with adjacent industries
  • Attract new types of employees
  • Experiment outside the corporate walls
  • Doing customer validation, early and often


How To Do it Better Than Anyone Else

  • Be Ambidextrous
  • Be cheap. Be fast. Be Purposeful
  • Be open to opportunities. Think differently
  • Think different. Embrace open innovation
  • Walk and chew gum at the same time
  • You must be able to do business today while simultaneously, looking into the future.


  1. Mr. D. Bricker:

Innovation and The New Canadian Food Consumer


  • The forces of change are creating a new Canada


  • The old Canada:3D Canada Flag
    • English and French—very white
    • More Rural—focus on natural resources
    • Big families, big households
    • Values Of Elite Accommodation— driven by white men in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa
    • Eyes on the Atlantic, fear of the US.
  • We are living longer. Average life span of a Canadian will be 87 by 2036. 6 years longer than today
  • Today there are 7,900 people over 100 years old. By 2061, 78,000 are expected to be over 100 years old
  • Canada’s generation today:
    • Pre baby-boom: 14%
    • Baby boomers: 29%
    • Generation X: 8%
    • Millennials: 27%
    • Generation Z: 22%
  • Today most families are only having 1.61 children per household. In the past it was 3.9 children per household.
  • By 2020, Canada will be short 1M trade skilled jobs
  • Today there are 4.2 persons working for each senior. By 2036, the ratio will be down to 2:1
  • Canada’s work force, 2014
    • Baby boomers 31%
    • Gen X 34%
    • Millennials 37%
  • Median net worth of families:
    • All families: $243,800
    • 65+ : $460,700
    • 55-65: $533,600
    • 45-54: $378,300
    • 35-44: $182,500
    • <35: $25,300
  • Today Canada has the fastest growing population of all G8 countries due to immigration
  • 1986: 36% economic immigrants, 42% family class, 19% refugees
  • 2013: 57% economic immigrants, 31% family class, 9% refugees
  • 9/10 immigrants live in Urban Canada
  • 49.7% of Toronto’s population are foreign born. Ontario average is 28.5%
  • In 2017, 300,000 immigrants expected immigrate to Canada


  • The new Canada:
    • More Urban-Suburban, Multi-Cultural
    • Older, More Female
    • Smaller families, households
    • Increasing generational Divide
    • Eyes on the Pacific
    • Tolerant, Opinionated, Demanding, Difficult
    • Less Engaged with traditional institutions
    • “We The North”


  1. Mr. J. Scott:

How to Maximize Opportunities in the Changing Food Retail Landscape


  • 44% of consumers have shifted to discount
  • Baby boomers seeking deals @ grocery
  • How to attract baby boomer: Loblaws purchasing SDM
  • Millennials – smart phone – global transformation. What is in the food? Natural ingredients?
  • World population – different ethnic foods
  • Urbanization: purchase hard goods through internet
  • Longo’s same store to store sales is 3.3%. Best in Ontario
  • Costco: sales exceed Metro
  • Loblaws:
    • Premium locations – Toronto
    • Traditional
    • RCSS / No Frill
    • SDM / T&T
  • Sobeys: eye off the ball in Ontario and Quebec (5% reduction in prices in Quebec)
  • Fresh Co introduced into Ontario
  • Sobeys have wrote down approximately $2.5B dollar of their Canada Safeway purchase
  • Walmart wishes to increase their fresh offering in 2016
  • Want to market to millennial mothers
  • Interested in local suppliers
  • Click and collect sales to peak @ $800M by 2020


As part of Mr. Scott’s presentation he held a question and answer session on “How to Get In and Stay In: in Canada’s grocery sector with:


Mr. D. McGillivray – President of McGillivray Consulting Group

Mr. C. Powell: – VP Customer Development


  • Retailers seek innovative products with a focused marketing plan that bring value to the category
  • Does product increase sales for the category? If it is a duplicate, you are in trouble.
  • Retailers to small business:
    • On trend. Be unique
    • Hype local background
    • Go to retail store and view what consumers are buying
    • Gain ground well support through independent retailers
    • Small business will not make their money back through Big 3 due to excessive listing fees:
      • Loblaws: $50,000 – $100,000 / sku for listing fees
      • Longo’s: $2,500 / sku for listing fees
    • Be prepared to provide on-going in-store retailer support: 20% of total listing fees
    • Cross demo product with another partner
  • Retailers probationary period for small business is 6-12 months
  • If they do delist you, they will request a credit at full price of remaining inventory
  • Jump on social media platforms to promote brand:
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
  • Social license question’s retailers seek answers to:

o   Animal welfare: What harm if any was brought to animals during manufacturing?

o   Sustainability: What is your manufacturing facilities industry recognized credentials?

o   Health: What health attributes does your product contain? (i.e. Organic, Gluten-free, No artificial flavours, No artificial colours)

o   Who’s behind it? Where was your product manufactured?

o   Fair trade: Does your brand support fair trade in any capacity?


For more help Getting and Staying Listed in Canada’s Grocery Sector, connect with us through our website: or give us a call toll free: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662).


For years, the primary family grocery shopper has usually been the female head of the household. No surprise,
especially in the 60’s and 70’s, when most women were stay at home moms. Yet, as women have forged their own careers, to the surprise of many, there hasn’t been more emphasis placed on the male grocery shopper. Should marketers not seek out this shopper?  They do represent 50% of the Canadian population. So why has the male shopper become so prominent in the grocery store and what are their shopping habits?


Emergence of the Male Grocery Shopper

The male grocery shopper is out of hibernation. Mintel Global Research estimates approximately 40% of household men have taken over the responsibility for grocery shopping. When you factor in the 20% of households in which it is a shared duty, 60% of the Canadian households in Canada have men who either have a primary or shared responsibility for grocery shopping in the household. So why are men playing such a predominant role in grocery shopping? Outlined below are a couple of theories:

  1. Growing number of single person households in Canada due to later marrying ages and high divorce rates.
  2. Men are taking a larger role in the management of the household. Today 12% of the households have a stay at home dad.
  3. Baby boomer males – 45% claim to have primary responsibility for grocery shopping.


How Frequent Does the Male Visit a Grocery Store and Where Do They Shop?

Men and women both love to go grocery shopping. Both genders average close to 15 visits a month. To many people’s surprise, the male shopper goes grocery shopping 2x / week – 65% of the time as compared to 58% of the time for women. They are also more inclined to shop the club, convenience and online channels in part because these channels allow them to quickly purchase what they require.


Grocery Shopping Frequency

June 1 '16 blog image

Insights into the Male Shopper!

Though men and women tend to shop as often on a weekly basis, research studies over the years have identified there are a few differences between how men and women shop.

  • Men are less inclined to prepare a shopping list.
  • Men grocery shoppers prefer a grab-n-go approach. 60% of men wish to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
  • Men are less inclined to make impulse purchases.
  • Men are less price sensitive; consequently, they are less likely to be motivated by discounts and promotions.
  • 50% of men prefer a one-stop-shop more than the lowest price.
  • Men are more interested in quality food, artisan products and ethnic flavours.


Implications For Small Business 

Business can no longer only gear their marketing strategies to attract the female shopper. The male shopper has arrived. As they are less price sensitive, business will be forced to concentrate on their brands point of difference as opposed to just relying on price reductions and promotions to drive volume. In today’s grocery economy, a brands point of differential is key.

So, does your business have an understanding of the male shopper? Do not ignore them as    this could mean the difference between success and failure for your brand.


For more help Getting and Staying Listed in Canada’s Grocery Sector, connect with us through our website: or give us a call toll free: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662).


In 2009, Canada and the global markets encountered a recession that resembled the great depression of the 1940’s. Though jobs were lost and many private sector employees had their salaries frozen or cut back, out of all G7 countries, Canada weathered the storm the best due to our strong banking system. During this same period, the traditional grocery sector encountered turbulent times. In fact, over the past 5 years, their market share has declined by 7% as club, mass and discount banners continue to make in-roads into the traditional grocery sector. Through this period, the “Discount Shopper” has emerged. Who are these consumers and why the shift in their purchasing habits and what is the implication for small business?

Emergence of the Discount Banner

Through Brand Spark’s 2015 Canadian Shopper Study, they found 1) consumers were seeking the greatest value for coins-1015125_640their dollar, especially when it comes to household food consumption and 2) discount banners are rapidly picking up market share. Why the emergence of the discount banner? Outlined below are a few thoughts as to why.

  • Increased competition from Walmart, Costco
  • Surge in grocery prices. In 2016 Canadian families will be spending on average $700 more for household groceries than they did in 2014
  • The overall state of the Canadian economy – GDP growth less than 2% annually
  • Rising electricity prices in Ontario. Among the highest across North America

The chart below highlights, which channel the store shopper, has shopped the most for their food and beverage purchases.

Store Shoppers Shop Most Often For Food & Beverage, 2011 – 2014

Discount Shopper Chart 1


During the 3-year period ending 2014, discount banners have increased their market share at the expense of traditional grocery.


The Discount Shopper and What Do They Seek

As part of a separate study, Brand Spark identified the discount shopper as

  1. 50+ years old – 49%
  2. Married – 54%
  3. Empty nesters – 55%
  4. Have one of more children at home – 42%

Though they seek the lowest everyday prices, they also seek a retailer with close proximity to home.


What is the Discount Shopper Looking For?

Discount Shopper Chart 2

How Does The Discount Shopper Shop?                                                        

The Discount Shopper keeps a tight budget on household purchases, especially food. To help them cut costs, manyshopping-879498_640 make lists or turn to flyers. A study by research group ledger reveals a few other common shopping behaviours:

  1. Before buying groceries, I always make a list of items to purchase – 83% strongly or somewhat agreed
  2. I always plan my purchases based on specials in grocery store flyers – 69% strongly or somewhat agreed
  3. I always set a budget for food purchases that should not be exceeded – 49% strongly or somewhat agreed
  4. I always plan my weekday meals before making my purchases – 46% strongly or somewhat agreed

Implications For Small Business

This consumer sector cannot be ignored by small business. Though research reveals close to half of the discount shopper is the “Baby Boomer”, do not fool yourself. Though technically they may be senior citizens, they lead active, vibrant lives with a love for life. This group has deep pockets to impact food purchases. In fact, they control 35% of our population’s discretionary income and 20% of all food purchases are made by this demographic sector. They seek healthy food options that speak to ailments they may have or are afraid of getting.

So, does your product target audience include the discount shopper? If you were to answer No, you may be losing out on a lucrative consumer sector.

For more help Getting and Staying Listed in Canada’s Grocery Sector, connect with us through our website: or call: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662).



Much has been written about how patriotic Canadians are. I feel most Canadians would agree our friends to the south are extremely more patriotic, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving and July 4th. To that, an Ipsos Reid pole conducted for the Historica-Dominion Institute in the days leading up to the Canada Day long weekend a couple of years ago suggest the Canadian sense of national pride is becoming an in-your-face swagger. What isn’t up for debate though is Canadians love for our national flag that is viewed as our most popular national icon. So how patriotic are Canadians when it comes to the food sector and the impact for small business?

Canadian ConsumerMade in Canada barcode. Vector illustration

Though we may not be as patriotic as our friends to the south, research reveals the majority of Canadians (92%) make it a point of buying Canadian brands and products. The top product that Canadians are most likely to purchase from Canadian producers is food (87%). Consumers purchase Brand Canada to support the economy and help keep jobs in Canada. Despite consumers desire to purchase Brand Canada, there is a strong perception most small business do not embrace this identity, may be similar in nature as to why they don’t have a website (41%).

Agriculture Canada’s Canada Brand Program

In 2010, Agriculture Canada introduced their Canada Brand program. The objective was to provide food manufacturers and the Canadian food and agriculture industry with a competitive advantage, internationally and at home. The branded program consists of a Canadian flag with the following tag line: “Quality Is In Our Nature”. Oh I forget to mention, there is not cost to becoming a member. Research reveals that consumers associate the Canada Brand with safe, high-quality products. For more information visit:

Impact for Small Business!

In the Canadian food sector, very few small Canadian food icon businesses remain. The last of the remaining few maySilvana Comugnero Kanadese dollar   Kanadan dollari Dlar canadiense have being Renee’s Gourmet Salad Dressings. What commenced as a family business with bottles of their homemade dressing given away as Christmas and Hanukkah gifts to friends and family came to an end when purchased by Heinz Canada. Today, multi national food giants control most of the brands in their categories. That is not to say small food brands cannot be as successful as Renee’s. As noted by Shawn O”Neil – Vice President, Global Marketing and Analytics, Unilever:

“I am not losing market share to P&G and other CPG companies. I am losing it to small players who are finding niche products”.

It is already tough enough competing with global food giants in the Canadian food sector. This program was designed to provide small business with a distinct advantage over these global food giants. A Win Win solution for small food manufacturers!

So, are you a Canadian food based business unwilling to take advantage of this program? If you are, I have one question for you, Why?

For more help getting and staying listed in Canada’s grocery sector, connect with us through our website: or give us a call toll free: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662).


Much has been said about the emerging millennial consumer and the impact they will have on food sales. Were you aware this generation makes up the bulk of Canada’s work force today? In fact, this is the same group that is known to have played a major role behind the resounding Liberal Party’s victory in Canada’s 2015 Federal election. So who is this consumer, why are they so important and how best to engage with them at the point of interaction?

The Millennial Consumer!

Millennials are the demographic cohort following Generation X. Most researchers and commentators use birth years March 3 '16 blogranging from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s to define them. Today, they are typically between the ages of 18 to 35 years old, and in 2013 they represented 27% of the Canadian population. Though they have traditionally been regarded as young upstarts barely out of their teenage years, they are rapidly moving solidly into their child rearing years. According to Statistics Canada, there will be a 5% increase in the number of children aged 4 and under and an 11% increase in the number of children between 5-9 between 2014 and 2019. Don’t be fooled. This particular consumer sector is well educated. According to a study from the Princeton, N.J based educational testing service in 2014; Canada had the world’s third-highest level of educational attainment after South Korea and Japan. In fact some 56% of the millennial population that year had a post high school education level.

Millennials – Their Buying Power

In the United States, the estimated buying power of the millennial is approximately $200B of direct and $500B of indirect spending. Utilizing the 10% rule for Canada, their estimated buying power is $70B dollars. By 2020, it is estimated their food at home spending will increase $5B annually. With food inflation rates soaring in Canada, millennials seek out grocery stores that offer them the greatest value for their dollar. In fact, some 76% of millennials claim to shop at stores that can offer them the lowest price. A recent report by BMO Economics suggests that young Canadians between the ages of 25 to 34 years old are on average richer than their parents at that age. In 2012, the net worth of households headed by someone aged 25 to 34 was $52,000.

Millennials – Their Life Style

The millennial consumers embrace healthier lifestyles. In fact, 49% of them claim living a healthier lifestyle to be one of their key goals and aspirations over the next 3 years. From a food manufacturers perspective, the top 4 aspects of the brand that drives there purchase choice includes:

1. Ingredients -75%

2. Freshness -73%

3. Flavour – 65%

4. Nutrition content / labeling – 62%

Millennials – Points of Engagement!

Brands that speak to millennials cultivate an authentic feel in their brand messaging. As they are at the leading March 3 '16 blog 2edge of mobile and social media, traditional advertising does not influence them. The top 3 most influential brands for them include: Google, YouTube and Face Book. Millennials wish to fit in and the key is to be connected. They wish to engage with brands on social networks and expect brands to give back to society. To gain their attention and loyalty, the key is for manufacturers to show they appreciate them and their business as:

1. 41% like brands that ask for their opinion

2. 50% buy products from companies that understand them and what they require

3. 47% buy products from companies who care what they think.

This is an emerging consumer sector business must embrace yet struggle to connect with. Branding is now a dialogue, not a monologue. Embrace this notion and engage in a conversation with them.

So, is your brand targeting this emerging sector and do you have a strategy to engage with them?
For more help getting and staying listed in Canada’s grocery sector, connect with us through our website: or give us a call toll free: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662)

January 2015 Newsletter

In December, I took my youngest Jack Russell Terrier to the vet for his annual check up. Grover is the one looking up at me. Upon confirmation he is in good health, reminded me of how ill he was just 4 1/2 years ago and the prospect he would not live pass the age of 1 due to a liver shunt. We’ll he is survivor and a role model for all – Live life to the fullest and enjoy each day as it comes. I know I do.

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November 2014 Newsletter

Fall is a great time for my rescued Jack Russell Terriers. (Don’t they look gorgeous in this picture). They love the outdoors and trips to the cottage. Though I wish I could do the same I have being too busy launching my new business, “Food Distribution Guy” – Though the traditional Canadian grocery sector is an $87.5B dollar sector, (2013, The Big Drop For Canadian Grocery Sales, Canadian Grocer, 2014), research reveals small food manufacturers have trouble securing product distribution.

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