Online to Profit update

With mere days to go before the start of the second annual Online to Profit interactive marketing conference, presented by Strategy and Strategy DirectResponse, the event is close to being sold out. The much-anticipated two-day affair, being held at the Sheraton...

With mere days to go before the start of the second annual Online to Profit interactive marketing conference, presented by Strategy and Strategy DirectResponse, the event is close to being sold out.

The much-anticipated two-day affair, being held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, features more than 25 speakers and panelists who are gathering to discuss the concept of Conquering the Web through mass one-to-one marketing.

Among the featured keynotes are Nathan Estruth, marketing director for Procter & Gamble’s i-Ventures unit in Cincinnati, who will tell the story behind the launch of Reflect.com, P&G’s exciting new customized cosmetics Web site. The launch of the Reflect.com site has been lauded by some members of the U.S. press as one of the most significant Internet stories of the past year.

Key sponsors for Online to Profit include Fast Company magazine, Cinram New Media Group, 24/7 Canada, the National Post Online and Globeandmail.com.

For information on last minute registrations, contact Effie Rodrigues at (416) 408-2300, ext. 495, or visit the Strategy Web site at www.strategymag.com/onlinetoprofit.

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.”