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ORACLE AGGREGATES WAREHOUSE DATA Oracle Canada of Mississauga, Ont. has announced the availability of Oracle Warehouse Builder, an extensible data warehouse design and deployment framework that the company says will automate much of the work that goes into creating a single...

ORACLE AGGREGATES WAREHOUSE DATA

Oracle Canada of Mississauga, Ont. has announced the availability of Oracle Warehouse Builder, an extensible data warehouse design and deployment framework that the company says will automate much of the work that goes into creating a single data source for e-business analysis. Warehouse Builder can aggregate historical data with the massive daily influxes of online data from Web sites. It is said to eliminate time-consuming and error-prone methods for integrating data warehouses, data marts and e-business applications, even when integrating data from multiple vendors such as Oracle and SAP.

SAS ROLLS OUT E-INTELLIGENCE SOLUTION

New applications that deliver intelligence on Web usage herald the latest software bundle from the SAS Institute (www.sas.com) of Cary, N.C. The SAS Solution for e-Intelligence is a collection of software and services designed to help organizations develop and sustain more profitable relationships with customers and suppliers by enabling them to understand online behaviour and to personalize marketing responses. The flagship offering, called e-Discovery, allows organizations to increase the likelihood of response to promotions by basing marketing programs on target-group information gathered from multiple contact points. The integrated solution further increases the ratio of Web visitors to customers by helping organizations design sites that lead to sales in the fewest number of clicks.

BIG BLUE PERSONALIZES E-COMMERCE

IBM (Canada) of Markham, Ont. has released a software package that it says will enable companies to plan, execute, track and refine their marketing campaigns. Called the IBM DecisionEdge for Campaign Management, the software is said to allow marketing executives to establish ‘dialogues’ with their customers by pre-planning and managing multi-step, multi-channel marketing campaigns. Based on customer responses and overall demographics, marketers will be able to personalize the communication, ensure consistency and improve customer service, IBM says. DecisionEdge works with customer information from transaction systems, call centres, Web sites and third-party syndicated data. The information is then shared among all the company’s functions and allows consistent messaging through the customer’s preferred channels, leveraging the database capabilities of the corporate database.

WHITEHILL WIELDS BILLING SOFTWARE

E-commerce systems company Whitehill Technologies of Moncton, N.B., has introduced two software products designed to enable e-commerce companies to bill customers and receive their payments electronically. The systems, Whitehill Transport and Whitehill Web, target small to mid-size companies. Whitehill Transport enhances e-commerce and electronic bill presentment and payment capabilities by automating the manual conversion of data from legacy systems into extensible markup language (XML). Documents from multiple data sources are formatted based on the style and specifications of the company, user or even the preferences of a particular recipient. Whitehill Web leverages the features of Transport but adds the capabilities of Web styling language and other customized formatting tools. Additionally, Whitehill Web can incorporate targeted marketing messages into the billing process.

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.”