Movers & Shakers

CLIENTS: Richard Blickstead has been appointed president and COO of the retail division of Boucherville, Que.-based home improvement chain Rona. Blickstead, formerly senior vice-president of marketing at Holt Renfrew, has also hung his hat at BiWay, Wal-Mart and Peoples Jewellers. ...

CLIENTS:

Richard Blickstead has been appointed president and COO of the retail division of Boucherville, Que.-based home improvement chain Rona. Blickstead, formerly senior vice-president of marketing at Holt Renfrew, has also hung his hat at BiWay, Wal-Mart and Peoples Jewellers.

Virtual banking operation ING Direct has promoted Stacey Grant-Thompson to senior VP, marketing from VP, direct marketing. Grant-Thompson is replacing Jim Kelly, who recently moved to the U.S. to launch the company’s new division there.

Bell Canada has boosted its focus on the Internet with the appointments of John Sheridan as vice-chair, market groups, and Terence Jarman vice-chair, corporate. Sheridan takes responsibility for all customer units, including its ActiMedia, Mobility, Nexxia, Ontario, Quebec and World divisions, as well as the Network Operations Group. Jarman, meanwhile, has responsibility for the company’s overall corporate strategy as well as its marketing, advertising and communications.

Cybersurf has chosen Stephen Monk to be its new executive VP of corporate development. He comes to the Internet software developer from Sprint’s parent company, Call-Net Enterprises.

Trimark Investment Management has named Nick Mancini executive VP, sales and marketing. Mancini was previously executive VP at Canada Trust.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank has shuffled its marketing department following its merger with Canada Trust. Chris Armstrong, Canada Trust executive VP of marketing and customer strategy, remains as executive VP marketing while Barbara Cromb, formerly TD’s VP enterprise info warehouse, has been named senior VP, marketing planning. Dominick Mercuri has moved from Canada Trust VP, target marketing to senior VP, advertising and marketing services, and Janet Hawkins has moved from VP of customer strategy and information at Canada Trust to the new organization’s senior VP, strategy and information.

AGENCIES:

Laurie Sloan has joined Grey Canada as managing director. She comes to the Toronto agency from J. Walter Thompson, where she held the same position.

John Gallagher has been named VP, managing director of Profusion Marketing Solutions, the promotional and event marketing division of PNMD. He comes to the Montreal-based shop from Cossette Communication-Marketing.

Guy Thouin has been promoted to senior VP, general manager of Montreal-based Saint-Jacques Vallée Young & Rubicam. Previously, he managed the Quebec portion of the Ford of Canada account.

Larry Bleau joins Marketing & Promotion Group as VP, Labatt Team. Previously, Bleau was VP, advertising at St. John’s, Nfld.-based Bristol Group, where he handled the Aliant and Atlantic Lottery Corporation accounts.

Sherry O’Neil has been promoted to VP, director of broadcast buying at OMD Canada, where she will head television negotiations. Chantale Vien was also named VP, after five years with the company. Most recently, she was media director of OMD Montreal.

Meat and plant-based sales are both strong at Maple Leaf

Both priority areas performed well in the company's full-year results, helped by a boost in marketing for new products.
Maples Leaf All Natural 4

Maple Leaf Foods reported higher Q4 and full-year 2020 sales, driven by its sustainable meats and plant-based proteins. 

The CPG co. reported quarterly sales of $1.13 billion, up from $1.02 billion for Q4 2019, as well as net earnings of $25.4 million, compared to $17.5 million for the same period the year prior (an increase of 45.2%).

For full fiscal 2020, the company reported a total increase of 9.2% in sales, driven by what it says is “strong growth in both the meat and plant protein groups.”

“We have repositioned our portfolio towards two high-growth categories now representing 20% of our annual sales generating a compounded growth rate in excess of 25% over the last three years,” says Michael McCain, the company’s president and CEO.

Meat protein group sales  comprised of prepared meats, ready-to-cook and ready-to-serve meals, snack kits, value-added fresh pork and poultry products that are sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels, and agricultural operations  grew 11.3% for the quarter. 

Meanwhile, sales of plant protein products  refrigerated plant protein brands such as Lightlife and Field Roast, premium grain-based protein, and vegan cheese products sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels  was up 5.5% over the same period. 

Sales growth for its meat portfolio was driven by “a favourable mix-shift towards sustainable meats and branded products,” but also growth in exports to Asian markets, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases, according to the company. Strong demand in the retail channel was offset by lower volume in foodservice as a result of COVID-19.

For its plant-based offerings, sales for 2020 were $210.8 million compared to $176.4 million last year, representing a growth of 19.5%, or 18.1% after excluding the impacts of foreign exchange. The segment was driven by expanded distribution of new products, continued volume increases in its existing portfolio, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases.

SG&A expenses totalled $144 million for the plant group alone in 2020, with investments focused on advertising, promotion and marketing to build awareness, as well as supporting brand renovation and new product innovation. SG&A for meat proteins were $346.6 million for the full year, and the company says it expects SG&A levels and marketing investment in 2021 to be largely in line with where they were in 2020.

The company, which in 2019 announced it had gone carbon neutral, says it’s amplifying this commitment while “focusing on eliminating waste in any resources it consumes, including food, energy, water, packaging, and time.”