CFIG adds key new members


Three of the country's major food retailers have joined the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

Co-op Atlantic, based in Moncton, N.B., H.Y. Louie Company Ltd. of Burnaby, B.C., and Federated Co-operatives, based in Saskatoon, had previously belonged to the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD), which shut its doors a month ago.

CFIG said the three companies, who collectively represent over 418 stores in the West and Atlantic Canada according to Canadian Grocer's 2011 Who's Who Directory, were joining the federation along with one other former CCGD members: Wallace and Carey Inc., a distributor based out of Calgary.

The addition of the four companies will make CFIG more diverse, John Scott, CFIG president, said. For instance, he anticipates more involvement in distribution issues through the retailer's share group system, whereby retailer members of CIFG discuss issues of common concern.

"The addition of these companies will result in a stronger, more vibrant CFIG that can speak in one united voice for owners of non-publicly traded grocery organization," he said.

That last point refers to the fact that all of the public grocery chains in Canada, which had been with CCGD, are now members of a new food caucus within the Retail Council of Canada, while CFIG represents privately held grocers.

The food caucus was formed last month by Loblaw Companies, Sobeys, Metro Inc., Canada Safeway and Walmart. They were with CCGD previously.

CCGD folded after a vote by its board members in February. That decision came after the group's largest member, Loblaw, decided to leave CCGD in favour of Retail Council of Canada.

Two other former members of CCGD, Colemans in Newfoundland and The Kitchen Table in Toronto, were already members of CFIG and will remain with that group.

A spokesman for Federated Co-operatives said his organization is still open to joining other associations, including Retail Council of Canada.

Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Rabba Fine Foods had joined CFIG and that Overwaitea Food Group has 65 stores. It has 124. Also, the previous version of the article suggested CFIG is made up primarily of single-store independents. CFIG has a number of large non-publicly traded independent retailer members. Canadian Grocer apologizes for the errors.

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