Labour Crunch, Economic Storm Clouds and Shifting Consumer Loyalty Make for Dynamic Market for Canada's Foodservice Industry

    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Leaders from Canada's manufacturing and
foodservice operators are meeting to map the future of this country's
foodservice industry. Confronted with a workforce consisting of four
generations of employees, global spikes in commodity prices, and breakneck
scientific and culinary developments, the food, beverage, consumer goods
manufacturers and operators across the nation are gathering to focus on the
future and how best to build loyalty and the industry's long-term success.
    Diversity expert and author Giselle Kovary, Loyalty Unplugged: how to
get, keep and grow all four generations, Linda Nazareth, economist and author
of The Leisure Economy and Rosanna Caira, Editor and Publisher of Foodservice
and Hospitality magazine are joined by Stephen A. Kalil, Research Chefs
Association President; and, Jim Carroll, futurist, trends, & innovation expert
who will provide a window into the trends that are with us today and the
emerging shifts that stand to have a profound impact on the work environment
within the industry and the customer experience for those dining outside of
the home. Also slated for release at the conference are highlights from the
Industry Performance Monitor based on a survey of manufacturers and operators
conducted by the Advantage Group International, Inc.
    "The entire industry is awash with change," says Gabby Nobrega, SVP of
Food & Consumer Products of Canada, the industry association representing
Canada's food, beverage and consumer goods manufacturers. "There will continue
to be a fundamental shift in what consumers are seeking in a foodservice
experience and manufacturers and operators are focused on reflecting
demographic and cultural shifts leaning on new marvels in food science
research and new technologies. This conference looks at key trends and
demographic realities. It not only will provide a window into the new
innovations on the horizon but the lifestyle demands of consumers and the
evolving workforce who will be asked to rise to meet them," adds Nobrega.

    Holding On - Retaining Employees During a Labour Shortage

    "To survive and excel in a demand-side labour market, organizations must
be able to recruit, retain and develop high performing employees from across a
range of generations," explains diversity expert and author Giselle Kovary.
This is especially true for the foodservice industry where the average annual
turnover rate for an hourly paid employee is 67 per cent at a quick-service
restaurant or a casual/family dining restaurant(1).
    At the conference, Giselle will explore the generational identities and
how they translate into different behaviours in the workplace, explaining how
the road to creating engaged employees is dependant on an organization
demonstrating transparency, responsiveness, and partnering.

    Slowing Down - the Shift to a "Leisure Economy"

    "For years, busy Baby Boomers have been creating a 'time crunch economy'
where time is scarce and businesses need to recognize that fact. But we are on
the verge of a huge shift, a shift to 'the leisure economy' - a place where
boomers have more time than they have had in decades, and ascendant
generations X and Y are living lives that value leisure," says Linda Nazareth,
an economist and author of "The Leisure Economy: How Changing Economics,
Demographics and Generational Attitudes will Reshape our Lives and our
Industries". Nazareth's book, the focus of her presentation, looks at the
drivers behind the changes, and offers the perspective that change is afoot
and companies must act for today and begin to transition for tomorrow.

    Excelling At - Creating a Niche and Remaining Relevant

    The speed to market of new innovations is also a key factor changing the
landscape requiring outlets and the vast array of food and beverage companies
that supply across the nation to ask "how do we create a niche with food
products and services that will remain constantly relevant, signature and
unique?" Industry pundit Stephen A. Kalil, President of the Research Chefs
Association, the leading professional community for food research and
development, has been called upon to present the emerging trends and what they
mean to the foodservice industry. "One of the key trends is the desire for
healthy eating without sacrifice, which means manufacturers and foodservice
operators must be looking to develop healthy products that are flavourful and

    Looking Ahead - the Increasing Role of Technology in Foodservice

    Jim Carroll, noted international futurist, sees dramatic changes sweeping
through the foodservice industry. "It's being driven by hyper-innovation,
rapid technological advance, increased customer expectation, rapidly evolving
product trends, and increasingly fickle consumers. We're seeing light speed
changes in terms of restaurant design and layout, payment technologies, and
in-store ordering technologies, coupled with ever-changing consumer trends as
healthy lifestyle choices increasingly drive decisions. Restaurants need the
agility and flexibility to adapt to change." Carroll will speak on the trends
occurring within the global foodservice industry, particularly looking at the
technological revolution sweeping every aspect of the industry.

    About FSI

    Foodservice Interchange (FSI) is Canada's premier foodservice event.
Attendees include food manufacturers, operators and institutions including
independent operators, national and international restaurant chains. FSI is
presented by FCPC and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD), and
sponsored by Tetra Pak, Foodservice & Hospitality and HRI. This year marks the
16th annual conference.

    About FCPC

    Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) is the largest industry
association representing Canadian-operated food, beverage and consumer product
companies that make and market national and retailer brands sold through
retail and foodservice outlets. Canada's food manufacturing sector generates
approximately $24 billion annually in GDP (13% of the Manufacturing Gross
Domestic Product) and employs approximately 291,000 Canadians across the
country, making it the largest employer in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
On an annual basis, the industry donates an estimated $100 million in cash
donations to charitable causes and over 5 million bags of groceries to food
banks in Canada. The industry has a record of embracing world-class regulatory
standards and is governed by 442 federal and provincial pieces of legislation,
as well as thousands of regulations and self-imposed standards.

    About CCGD

    The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) is a not-for-profit
organization committed to advancing and promoting the grocery and foodservice
distribution industry in Canada, at both the regional and national level. We
recognize, advance and promote industry best practices for the benefit of our
members and the Canadian consumer. The food distribution and retail grocery
industry is Canada's second largest commercial sector. Member sales represent
$71 billion in grocery and $12 billion in foodservice and employ over 428,000
Canadians. Our members represent 85% of all grocery products (food, non-food,
non-alcoholic beverages) distribution sales in Canada.

    (1) Source: CRFA's Chain Compensation Survey 2004

For further information:

For further information: Catherine Baker, Food & Consumer Products of
Canada, T: (416) 510-8024 ext 2276, C: (416) 726-0978, E:

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