Export Savvy E-News – February 1, 2021

Volume 17 – Issue 51


CFEA & Partner News


Welcome New Member

The following company became a member in January; welcome to the association:

Aquaprole Inc


CFEA Events

February 2021 – June 2021 US Virtual B2B ECRM Programs – these events are offered at 50% of the cost for CFEA members to participate in a number of ECRM virtual B2B sessions. Meeting times are 5, 10 and 20 minute options and companies will meet one-on-one with at least 10 US retail buyers per session.

February 2, 2021 12pm ET China market entry and growth steps for Canadian food exporters – We are hosting a webinar in partnership with WPIC to provide companies with an overview of how to do business online in China. This is free to participate and not exclusively for CFEA members. *last chance to register*

March 22-24, 2021 EU Virtual B2B ECRM Programs – these events are offered at 50% of the cost for CFEA members to participate in two ECRM virtual B2B sessions. Meeting times are 5, 10 and 20 minute options and companies will meet one-on-one with at least 10 European and International buyers per session.

May 18-20, 2021  SIAL Show, Shanghai, China (invitation package to be launched soon)


Other Events

February 10, 2021 10am ET Netherlands & Germany Export Opportunities for Food & Beverage Manufacturers (open to Ontario companies only)

February 11, 2021 1pm ET Webinar: Mastering international contracts: From strategy to success (EDC)

February 16-23, 2021 4pm ET Doing business in Australia virtual series (EDC)

February 17, 2021 12pm ET Webinar: Grocery Experts Discuss 2021 Trends in Food & Beverage (ECRM)

March 25, 2021 Trade Accelerator Program: Agri, Food and Beverage Cohort (open to Ontario companies only)


Event Reimbursement

Specialty Food Live Reimbursement: if your company participated in the Specialty Food Live (January 19-22, 2021) and you would like to receive 50% reimbursement of the expenses please download and complete the claim form and submit it along with supporting documentation to info@cfea.com. You will also be required to complete the evaluation form.


Fact Sheet Posts

Podcast – Plant-Based Popularity in 2021 (The Food Institute)

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


News from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

South Korea has announced temporary preventive measures to stabilize domestic prices for certain egg-based products. These temporary measures adjust import tariff rates to 0% for eight egg products. Learn more at the following links: English | French

Visit the news section to see all updates. Visit the COVID page to see specific updates on this topic.


Retail News


Canada: Food and beverage store sales up in November: Statistics Canada says retail sales climbed 1.3% to $55.2 billion in November, rising for the seventh straight month as Black Friday boosted online shopping. But the agency’s unofficial early estimate suggests retailers saw sales fall 2.6% in December, at the height of the holiday shopping season. Learn more at Canadian Grocer (January 22).

US: Costco’s e-commerce, chickens led to best year ever: A 50% growth in e-commerce sales and strong overall performance — highlighted by sales of 101 million rotisserie chickens — helped push Costco to its best year ever in 2020. The wholesaler also opened 13 new stores last year, acquired Innovel to boost its last-mile efficiency and recently began experimenting with curbside pickup. Full story at Winsight Grocery Business (January 22).

US: Specialty SKU cutbacks seen easing in 2021: The past year has been challenging for many specialty food makers seeking to bring new products to market, and even to retain space on retailers’ shelves, but conditions may be improving as retailers look forward to more normal shopping patterns in the future. Full story at Specialty Food (January 25).

US: Amazon grocery appears headed for the Twin Cities: Speculation is building around Minnesota’s Twin Cities region as it appears Amazon is preparing to open several brick-and-mortar Fresh grocery stores at two — and possibly three — suburban sites. An unidentified “national grocer” has presented plans to develop two vacant stores in Burnsville and Eagan, with another possibly slated for a now-empty JCPenney in Coon Rapids. Full story at KSTP-TV (January 27).

US: Southeastern Grocers cancels IPO: Southeastern Grocers said it would pull its recent initial public offering but did not provide a reason for the move, although a source told Reuters the grocer wasn’t seeing demand in its preferred price range. Southeastern Grocers had initially tried — and also canceled — an IPO in 2014. Full story at Reuters (January 28).

US: Will small-format stores drive big changes in grocery?: The 10-year trend toward smaller-format grocery appears poised to continue as food retailers look for ways to boost efficiency, cut costs and leverage benefits from the pandemic-fueled explosion of technology. This article looks at the considerations involved — including planning and design and equipment technology — in moving to smaller, more flexible brick-and-mortar stores. Full story at Progressive Grocer (January 28).

US: Kroger receives perfect score on Corporate Equality Index: The Kroger Co. has been given a perfect score for the third year in a row on the Corporate Equality Index, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s national benchmarking tool for corporate policies and practices supporting LGBTQ employees. Learn more at Specialty Food (January 29).


Foodservice News


US: Chefs, consumers ride the seaweed wave: The sustainability and nutritional value of seaweed are stoking interest in the ingredient from consumers and chefs, who are featuring it in a wide range of dishes. At Porto in Chicago, chef Marcos Campos serves long seaweed strands that resemble noodles with a seaweed pesto, while Claire Chan, owner of New York City’s Bar Beau, features hijiki seaweed in an udon dish with miso and Grana Padano cheese. Full story at Flavor & The Menu (January 19).

Taiwan: JustKitchen is using cloud kitchens to create the next generation of restaurant franchising:JustKitchen plans to expand its hub-and-spoke ghost kitchen business beyond Taiwan to four Asian markets and the US this year. The company, which offers 14 brands, including Smith & Wollensky and TGI Fridays, has a long-term plan of licensing its spoke operations to franchisees. Full story at TechCrunch (January 22).

US: Restaurants staged nimble responses to Covid’s blows in 2020, but 6 years of growth were wiped away: The National Restaurant Association said restaurant and food-service sales were $240 billion below its 2020 pre-pandemic forecasts. More than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed last year, either temporarily or for good. The association hopes 2021 will be a year of rebuilding, with trends like off-premise dining and delivery continuing to gain in importance as consumer preferences shift. Full story at CNBC (January 26).

US: Report predicts 10.2% growth in restaurant sales: US restaurant and bar sales are on track to grow 10.2% to $548.3 billion this year, following a 19.2% decline last year, according to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry Report. Sales at full-service restaurants are forecast to increase 10.7% in 2021, and limited-service eateries are expected to grow sales 8%. Full story at Restaurant Business (January 26).

US: Ghost kitchens check in to hotels: Hotels with underutilized kitchen and banquet hall space are attracting restaurateurs seeking low-cost space, driving further growth in the ghost kitchen industry that has taken off during the pandemic. “Hotels are already accustomed to having third-party operators in their spaces, so it’s not that foreign of a concept for them,” said Aaron Nevin, co-founder of Use Kitch, a digital marketplace that connects restaurant operators with commercial kitchen spaces. Full story at The New York Times (January 26).

US: Greek cuisine inspires Chicago chefs’ new eatery: Chef Doug Psaltis said he will base the menu for his new Chicago restaurant, Andros Taverna, on dishes he ate at his grandfather’s Greek diner and while traveling through Greece. The menu will promote healthy eating with a focus on sustainable ingredients, and Psaltis’ wife and co-owner, Hsing Chen, will combine her French pastry training with Greek ingredients to create pastries including a chocolate halva tart and an olive and pistachio twist Danish. Full story at Chicago Tribune (January 26).

US: NYC restaurateur streamlines with 2 concepts in one space: New York City chef and restaurateur Marco Moreira turned his two high-end eateries into a single location to cut costs and maximize efficiency while the pandemic continues. Instead of attempting to fuse two diverse concepts and risk losing loyal fans of each, 15 East @Tocqueville offers a streamlined menu that offers the best of the French menu at Tocqueville and sushi concept 15 East. Full story at Restaurant Business (January 28).


Trend Watch


US: Balance health, indulgence to revive snack bar sales: The snack bar category is declining due to a pandemic-related loss in commuter sales, increase in sweets consumption and at-home “snack fatigue,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt of IRI. “People want better-for-you options but still really want and demand those snacking indulgences,” said Lyons Wyatt. Full story at CSP (January 21).

US: Healthier bakery trends that will shape 2021: The popularity of healthier food options has been given a hearty boost by the pandemic and the bakery category has not been left behind. This article examines 21 wellness trends that could help shape offerings at supermarket bakeries in the coming year, including specialized diets and a desire for reduced-sugar products. Full story at Supermarket Perimeter (subscription required) (January 21).

US: Third wave of plant-based will move beyond highly processed meat analogs: If high-tech reverse engineering has enabled a second generation of meat analogs that precisely mimic their animal-based counterparts, a third wave of plant-based innovation will meet demand for less processed, more culinary-inspired products featuring a wider array of plants, predicts one manufacturer. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 22).

US: How flavor trends are likely to change post-pandemic: Consumers will shift from seeking nostalgic flavors as a source of comfort during the coronavirus pandemic to flavors that help them experiment, celebrate and support wellness post-pandemic, said Kara Nielsen, director of food and drink for WGSN. “[T]here will be bursts of exuberance and an interest in making up for lost time and lost eating experiences,” added Nielsen. Full story at Food Business News (free registration) (January 22).

UK: Coronavirus pandemic a ‘temporary setback’ for flexitarian movement: The UK has observed a temporary slowdown in the meat reduction trend, according to Mintel, who says processed meat sales are booming amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 22).

US: Restaurant-level products, values-based shopping top Specialty Food Live! Trends: Pandemic-driven cooking and eating at home still prevail among food trends, said participants from the Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel during the session, Trendspotters Take on Specialty Food Live! Restaurant-quality ingredients and products, as well as brands from restaurants themselves, are prevalent, helping simplify homemade cooking while offering culinary exploration. Full story at Specialty Food (January 25).

US: How the pandemic has influenced foodservice packaging: The pandemic has fueled consumers’ off-premises dining habits and spurred innovation in restaurant packaging designed to keep food fresh and safe from contamination, Audrey Altmann writes. Tamper-proof options include the Load & Seal bag from Novolex, and compostable options are also becoming more popular amid growing concerns about packaging waste. Full story at SmartBrief/Food & Travel (January 25).

Global: Startups and multinationals team up to scale agrifood opportunities: The agrifood industry is pushing the critical importance of using resources sustainably to secure our food system. Collectively, the synergy and collaboration of all agrifood businesses – launching startups, ambitious scaleups and multinational legacy heavyweights – are vital to make our sustainability commitments a reality. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 25).

US: Online packaged food and beverage sales could top $100B in 2021: Online sales of packaged food and beverages could hit $109 billion this year, according to research from FMI and NielsenIQ. Currently, grocery is the top online CPG category, accounting for 44 percent of all CPG e-commerce sales. Sales for grocery CPG increased 125 percent in 2020. Full story at Grocery Dive (September 26).

Global: Plant-based diets the ‘least favoured solution to climate change’, according to UN poll: The largest ever opinion poll on climate change has discovered almost two thirds of people around the world now view the issue as a ‘global emergency’. However, for most, switching to a plant-based eating is not their desired answer. Full story at FoodNavigator (January 27).

Europe/US: Sustainable packaging gains as COVID “shock” ebbs, but carbon calculations pose challenge: Sustainable packaging is resurfacing as a top consumer priority after months of being on the back burner due to overriding coronavirus safety concerns, but efforts to switch to more renewable options could be complicated by a dual focus on reducing carbon emissions, suggest Rabobank analysts and members of its FoodBytes! mentorship and innovation platform. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 28).

US: 2020’s holiday confectionery sales increased: Total winter holiday confectionery dollar sales for 2020 increased 1.9%, with chocolate and non-chocolate sales up 7% and 5.1%, respectively, and online sales increasing significantly compared to 2019, according to IRI data. People traveled less during the holidays, opting for smaller celebrations at-home, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, founder of 210 Analytics. Full story at Candy & Snack Today (January 28).


Health Watch


Canada: Mediterranean diets linked to delayed onset of Parkinson’s: New research from the University of British Columbia has added to a growing body of evidence linking Mediterranean diets with slower neurodegeneration. Learn more at NutraIngredients (January 22).

US: Insurers add food to coverage menu as way to improve health: Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers as they look to expand their coverage beyond just the care that happens in a doctor’s office. Benefits experts say insurers and policymakers are growing used to treating food as a form of medicine that can help patients reduce blood sugar or blood pressure levels and stay out of expensive hospitals. Learn more at The Charlotte Observer (January 23).

US: USDA urged to better protect consumers from salmonella, campylobacter in poultry: Food safety advocates are calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to better protect consumers with new enforceable standards that will reduce, with an aim to ultimately eliminate, Salmonella types of greatest public health concern while continuing to target reductions in Salmonella and Campylobacter overall. Learn more at CISION (January 26).

Australia: Research reveals CBD’s antibiotic potential: CBD has been shown for the first time to kill the bacteria that are increasingly unresponsive to existing antibiotics. Learn more at NutraIngredients (January 27).

UK: Study says omega-3 supplements improve sleep in people with low fish consumption: Omega-3 consumption, especially DHA, could help improve sleep in healthy young adults, according to a RCT.  Results from an exploratory pilot trial in children (n = 43, age 7–9 years) indicated that supplementation with DHA might improve objectively measured sleep. However, no studies evaluated the effects of EPA, which might also be relevant, given the previously observed effects of n-3 PUFAs on serotonin release and the production of prostaglandins which is known to mediate the sleep/wake cycle. Full story at NutraIngredients (January 27).

US: Choline plus lutein & zeaxanthin linked to better cognitive flexibility: Higher combined intake of choline and lutein plus zeaxanthin is associated with faster performance on a cognitive flexibility task in overweight and obese adults, says a new study that adds to a growing body of science supporting the brain health benefits of these compounds. Learn more at NutraIngredients (January 27).

UK/Sweden: Consuming omega-3 fatty acids could prevent asthma: New research suggests that a higher dietary intake of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in childhood may reduce the risk of developing subsequent asthma, but only in children carrying a common gene variant. Learn more at MedicalXpress (January 28).

Poland: Dietary antioxidants beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients: Eating fewer legumes, cottage cheese and sausages and more flour products, honey, meat and poultry may have a beneficial effect on the antioxidative status of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers find. Learn more at NutraIngredients (January 29).


Food Safety Watch


New Zealand: Research shows need to update food safety guidance for pregnant women: Food safety advice for pregnant women has been updated in New Zealand including changes to fish, certain cheeses and pasteurized dairy products. The focus is Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii, methylmercury and caffeine, as these hazards have known specific impacts on the fetus. For Salmonella and Campylobacter, associated with adverse outcomes on the pregnancy period, supporting epidemiological evidence is weaker. Full story at Food Safety News (January 25).

Germany: Warns of salmon linked to Listeria infections: A significant proportion of listeriosis cases in Germany are caused by eating smoked or cured salmon products, according to the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI). Learn more at Food Safety News (January 26).

Various: Study shows details of UK investigations into Listeria outbreak: Researchers have expanded knowledge of the United Kingdom’s involvement in a multi-country Listeria outbreak. Overall, the outbreak included 54 cases of listeriosis in Australia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, and the UK with 10 deaths. It was traced to a frozen vegetable factory in Hungary. Full story at Food Safety News (January 26).

EU: Majority agree food products are safe, but many still concerned: More than half of consumers agree that food is safe in Europe but there is wide variation from country to country, according to a survey. The EIT Food Trust Report surveyed consumers in different European countries to measure trust in the food system and confidence in food products. EIT Food was established by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Full story at Food Safety News (January 29).


Labelling News


UK: Are you label ready for Natasha’s Law? Snacks-to-go providers reminded of allergen labelling deadline: Bureau Veritas has sent out a reminder that regulations to make allergen labelling compulsory for snacks-to-go comes into effect in October in the UK. Learn more at BakeryandSnacks (January 26).

Japan: Clearer calorie calculations: Nutrition labelling rules updated to reflect carbohydrate quality in processed foods: Japan has updated its nutrition labelling rules to both reflect the quality as well as the quantity of carbohydrates present in processed foods, and also better reflect the calculation of calories being consumed per serving. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 26).

Global: What’s in the liquor you are drinking?: With the increase in ecommerce, opportunities for counterfeit products are widening. In this a company working in track and trace since 2008 – looks at how ‘next-generation labelling’ could help. Learn more at BeverageDaily (January 27).


Trade & Regulatory News


EU: Mulling trade barriers for unsustainable food imports: ‘The EU alone will not save the planet’: The EU is working to clean up its own food supply chain, from farm to fork. But is this enough? MEPs raise concerns that accepting imports of unsustainable agri-food products is ‘inconsistent’ and ‘unethical’. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 22).

Various: WHO caught between China and west on frozen-food coronavirus transmission: The World Health Organization is caught in an escalating dispute over whether the coronavirus is spreading on frozen-food packaging, as China steps up efforts to promote the theory and the US, European Union and others lobby against extra checks on their goods. Full story at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (January 22).

South Africa: Alcohol industry faces ‘economic abyss’ as alcohol ban continues: South Africa’s liquor industry warns that many businesses are on the brink of closure as the alcohol ban in the country continues. Learn more at BeverageDaily (January 25).

US: Rising commodity prices bring relief to farmers: Soybeans and other commodities are seeing a jump in prices due to dry weather and strong export demand from China. Could this lead to higher prices for consumers? Learn more at the Food Institute (January 25).

US/Canada: Biden signs ‘Buy American’ executive order, limiting exceptions for Canada: US President Joe Biden imposed stringent new made-in-America rules for US government spending, adding a caveat likely troubling to Canada: exceptions to those rules will be allowed only under “very limited circumstances.” Learn more at Global News (January 25).

China/New Zealand: Countries ink trade deal as Beijing calls for reduced global barriers: China and New Zealand signed a deal on Tuesday upgrading a free trade pact to give exports from the Pacific nation greater access to the world’s second-largest economy. Full story at Reuters (January 25).

UK: Brexit CBD law confusion a “significant body-blow” for Northern Ireland: With the UK deadline for novel food applications looming on 31 March, it has come to light that UK regulations will not apply to CBD products in Northern Ireland post-Brexit meaning this market may ‘disappear’ for many companies. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 26).

South Korea: ‘New Southern’ rewards: South Korea’s focus on ASEAN and India pays off with skyrocketing food export numbers: South Korea’s ‘New Southern’ policy focusing on tightening relations with South East Asia and India appears to have paid off in skyrocketing food and agricultural export numbers, some of the highest in recent years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Full story at FoodNavigator (January 27).

US: FDA yanks pending CBD enforcement proposal: The White House Office of Management and Budget pulled six FDA guidance and rules from its review, including the proposal “Cannabidiol Enforcement Policy; Draft Guidance for Industry” — handing the CBD industry yet another setback. Learn more at FoodNavigator (January 27).

New Zealand: Make it a priority: Natural health industry urges government to prioritise bill reform: Trade body Natural Health Products New Zealand is urging the government to prioritise the regulatory reforms concerning natural health products, amid fears that dated, 36-year-old current regulations could be extended by another five years. Learn more at NutraIngredients (January 27).

US: Corn, soybeans and wheat all jump higher in overnight trading: Price volatility in the grain markets continued as corn and soybeans trended more than 1% higher between Jan. 28 and Jan. 29. The price increase is being driven by a sluggish start to the South American grain harvest and massive Chinese imports. Full story at FarmProgress (January 29).