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Grocery leaders share the biggest opportunities for 2024

Here's what senior leaders at Longos, Loblaw, Eataly and more had to say
grocery leaders 2024
L-R: Pattison Food Group's Brenda Kirk; Georgia Main Food Group's Gary Sorenson; Anthony Longo of Longo's; Joe D’Addario of Nature's Emporium; and Loblaw's Emma Race.

Brenda Kirk, senior vice-president, merchandising, Pattison Food Group: “The exciting thing about the grocery industry is how dynamic it is, and with continuous change comes opportunity. Less disposable income in the consumer’s pocket, along with the threat of a recession, has prioritized consumer demand for value. The big opportunity here is to reshape the value equation to ensure the customer gets the best value for their dollar. Helping the customer stretch their dollar and put dinner on the table for their family has become an important opportunity for both retailers and consumers.”

Gary Sorenson, president and COO, Georgia Main Food Group: “Consumers will continue to be focused on their health and wellness. At Fresh St. Market and IGA, we will continue to seek out new and innovative health-conscious brands and offer the freshest produce, food and goods in our stores. For 2024, we will be offering even more fresh local products, natural and plant-based foods. Products that are gluten free, vegan and organic are highlighted throughout our stores alongside healthy recipe ideas. We will also provide healthy eating tips on our websites and on social media.” 

READ: POLL: What’s your top business priority for 2024?

Anthony Longo, CEO, Longo’s: “Demonstrating increased value to our guests is an area of opportunity. Whether through promotional offers, our Thank You Rewards loyalty program or our diverse range of Longo’s private-brand products, we are dedicated to delivering quality and value. Our commitment to providing guests with budget-friendly meal planning and inspiring recipes empowers them to savour exceptional dining experiences with good value, at home or on the go. Our guests’ needs are at the forefront of our mission and prioritizing value-driven initiatives will help us get there.”

Joe D’Addario, CEO, Nature’s Emporium: “I see 2024 ushering in a multitude of opportunities. Sustainability will continue to be a driving force – consumers are increasingly conscious of their environmental impact, and this is reflected in their purchasing decisions. Technological advancements are reshaping the retail landscape, and next year we anticipate leveraging emerging technologies to enhance customer experience both in-store and online. Lastly, the steady consumer shift towards health and wellness shows no signs of slowing down. We expect to see a surge in demand for organic, natural and locally-sourced products.”

READ: RBC’s Nathan Janzen on what’s next for Canada’s economy

Emma Race, senior director of sustainability & social impact, Loblaw: “As we continue to prioritize our commitment to fighting climate change, we are constantly seeking ways to enhance our environmental sustainability practices. This next year holds great promise for our business as we embark on our strategy to reduce our Scope 3 emissions. This work is crucial in our journey towards achieving net zero by 2050, as these indirect emissions account for nearly 97% of our carbon footprint. It is imperative that we collaborate with and support our vendors across the value chain to create opportunities to eliminate these emissions.” 

Tommaso Brusò, CEO, Eataly North America: “In 2024, we see continued opportunity within the Greater Toronto Area. In November 2023, we opened our second Eataly store in Toronto at CF Sherway Gardens, and we will follow with a third store at CF Shops at Don Mills in the first half of 2024. Like our first store located in the city’s Yorkville neighborhood, Eataly Sherway Gardens and Eataly Don Mills will provide the high-quality, authentic Italian products our customers have come to expect. It is only the beginning, and we look forward to building our story in Canada for the new year and beyond.”

This article first appeared in Canadian Grocer’s December 2023/January 2024 issue.

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