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Competition Bureau’s bread price-fixing probe leaves experts surprised

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Experts reacted with surprise on Wednesday to news that the Competition Bureau is investigating possible price-fixing of bread products by suppliers and retailers in Canada’s grocery industry.

“I think it’s unlikely that it’s a widespread or very senior scheme,” said Mark Satov, strategy adviser and founder, Satov Consultants Inc.

Satov was reacting to the news that Competition Bureau investigators, accompanied by RCMP and local police forces, on Tuesday raided offices in Toronto, Montreal and Stellarton, N.S., where Sobey’s Inc. headquarters are located.

“They arrived in our Stellarton and Ontario offices (Tuesday),” said Sobey’s spokesperson Jacquelin Corrado. “We are co-operating to support the investigation and have advised employees internally of the process underway.”

Loblaw and Metro have also confirmed the investigation, which is looking at activity as far back as 2001.

The idea that upper management was aware of the activity seems remote, said Satov, given the potential downside, which includes criminal charges and fines. But information can flow through many different channels in the grocery industry.

Recent trends in the price of bread don’t seem to support a case for price-fixing, said food market analyst Kevin Grier, who tracks food prices using Statistics Canada data.

“We’ve been in deflationary mode since June 2016 on bread and rolls. Between May 2016 and September 2017, the Consumer Price Index for bread and buns has dropped nearly six per cent,” said Grier.

Engaging in price-fixing would break the public’s trust in grocers, he added.

“We trust that our grocers are giving us safe food and we trust that they are pricing the food competitively. We trust that we’re getting value. If they break the trust — if this is true — then that trust is broken and it will take a long time to fix.”

Gary Sands, senior vice-president, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), said that while his organization has been aware of concerns around bread pricing, his association did not file a complaint with the Bureau.

“We will await the results of this process, like everyone else,” said Sands.

Canada Bread Company Limited confirmed it is included in the industry-wide investigation by the Competition Bureau into pricing conduct dating back to 2001.

Canada Bread describes itself as the leading producer and distributor of packaged fresh bread and bakery products, including grocery store staples like Dempster’s, Villaggio and Vachon. It was purchased by Grupo Bimbo, headquartered in Mexico City, in early 2014.

Grupo Bimbo is the world’s largest baking company, with operations in 22 countries.

Canada Bread employs 4,175 people across Canada.

“Canada Bread operates with the highest ethical standards and complies with all legal and regulatory standards. The company has not been charged with any offences,” according to a statement from the company.

George Weston Limited, which operates one of Canada’s largest bakeries, has also indicated it is aware of the investigation, as has Walmart Canada Corp.

 

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What does Digital Marketing in South Africa look like today?

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Digital Marketing around the world is at different stages of advancement, from the highly competitive online world in the UK and the US to the less established but rapidly growing scene in countries like South Africa.
In this article, we’re going to pick the brains of James Williams, the Head of Digital Marketing at online loan provider Wonga South Africa, to see what the world of Digital Marketing looks like today, and how it compares to some of the world’s most developed online markets.

Having worked in Digital Marketing in London for a number of years before returning to his native South Africa to take the reigns at Wonga, James is perfectly positioned to compare the two. These are his thoughts…

The importance of culture

One of the key lessons James learned when moving from the UK to the South African market was the importance of culture, and how this affects just about everything you do online. Businesses often talk about ‘localising’ their online assets when expanding into foreign markets and this same process needs to be used to adapt their digital marketing efforts.

When talking about localising assets, it means adapting a product, service or piece of content to meet the needs of a particular language, culture or desired population’s ‘look-and-feel’. The same needs to be done to a business’s Digital Marketing strategy.

In South Africa, there are 11 different languages, each tied to a very different culture. That makes the outreach process much more challenging than in a single language market like the UK. James found that the strategies that were working well in London were producing mediocre engagement rates in South Africa. Instead, James had to almost forget the techniques that had worked before and try new strategies, explore new territory and collect fresh data to help him decide the best approaches to take.

Choosing the right language

Another important consideration for businesses operating online in South Africa is what language to use to attract the greatest level of engagement. The vast majority of South Africans can speak English, but the use of Afrikaans online is currently growing rapidly. That means companies with the resources to do so would be wise to produce all their online assets in both English and Afrikaans.

The primary language used online can also change significantly from location to location. For example, the Western Cape area is largely Afrikaans speaking, while the province of KwaZulu Natal is predominantly Zulu. Digital Marketing campaigns need to reflect this if they are to be successful.

The burgeoning digital scene

One of the biggest benefits of the South African digital scene is the fact that it’s still very much in its infancy when compared to the US and UK. That’s actually a good thing because it means the consumer hasn’t yet been exposed to the huge amount of low-quality content marketing that is all over the internet in the UK. So, when you do create a quality campaign in South Africa, you tend to get the rewards it deserves. In the UK or the US, it is much easier for the quality campaigns to be lost among the bad digital practices that can be found all over the web.

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Easy Instagram Marketing Tips For Gaining Real-Time Results

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With time, Instagram is turning out to be an engaging and quite popular social media application. With more than 8 billion registered accounts, it is one of the best social media platforms, proven for brand building and marketing. Around 80 million photos are uploaded in this platform on a daily basis making it a huge active user base. So, if you are planning to run your business with Instagram by your side, you have make way for the right decision. But first, you need to know about easy Instagram marketing tips for gaining real results.

Switch to Instagram business profile:

Before embarking in Instagram marketing journey, you have to be in business account. There are some obvious benefits to switch into business profile.

  • Apart from visiting your website, followers can click on contact button to get in direct touch with your business team.
  • You will get an easy access to the analytics tool straight from Instagram called Insights. Here, you get to see some stats like content reach, impressions and more.
  • You can also create and even publish some Instagram ads without quite depending on advertising tools.

Leveraging some sponsored ads:

Those companies using Instagram advertisement are always on rise. Even the numbers of advertisers is surpassing some of the popular social media platforms like that of Twitter previous year. These points give you reason to actually head for ways to gain more instagram followers these days.Apart from the fact that Instagram has strong 700 million base users, there are some other reasons to head towards this plan.

  • As Facebook and Instagram are connected, you can easily use FB advertising experience for targeting Instagram audience better.
  • Straight from budgeting to creating ads, you get the chance to manage everything about Instagram ads in FB ad manager.
  • These advertisements are non-intrusive and engaging, which will help gaining better conversion rate at lower cost.
  • You will have the creative freedom to use videos and images both for promoting service or product. These ads are quite hard to miss as they occupy the entire mobile device screen.

Partnering with targeted influencers:

If you are planning to reach out to potential customers on Instagram, you can try leveraging influencers already worked on ways to build an audience. With so many people and their being depended on Instagram based feed, it will always vital to get into a partnership with right influencers. It will definitely help your brand to be at the front of the list.

Instagram influencers are known to be power users, with loyal and large follower base that trusts recommendations. If you are planning on ways to make your influencer marketing campaign a successful notion on Instagram, you have to partner with influencers with great and highly relevant audience to product.

Once you know the best ways to use Instagram for marketing strategies, there is no need to look for other names in the market. You can easily use the Instagram skills to improve marketing strategies, resulting in a proper business growth. Just follow the marketing tips with utmost concentration.

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Cranes: Pros and Cons to Consider

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Cranes come in different forms, and they come with different functions as well. If you have a project and are thinking of hiring a crane, it’s essential that the crane you choose is the proper fit for your requirements. Making the wrong decision can result in time lost and financial resources wasted, after all. The first step to making the right decision is to learn about their different uses and functionalities. Here, then, is a look at the pros and cons of the various kinds of cranes.

A proper look at static cranes

Static cranes, as the name implies, are cranes that don’t really move, as confirmed by the experts in crane hire, www.aphcranes.co.uk. They are categorised by the fact that they remain in one place during the duration of use. Here are some examples:

  • The tower crane is fixed on the ground, but it can also be attached to a structure’s side. Tower cranes are used in tall building construction, and they are capable of lifting and loading the heaviest objects. They are the tallest crane available, although tower cranes are quite expensive and require a lot of time and effort to be installed.
  • The level luffing crane is equipped with a special feature – the hook of the crane is especially designed to stay at a level that is constant. Only the jib arm of the crane will be moved away or towards the crane’s base. The crane can be easily operated at a level that is fixed, and the materials can be more easily loaded with precision. One aspect to note, however, is that the crane requires more time when performing lifting movements.

A proper look at mobile cranes

The mobile crane has a telescopic boom which is attached to a platform. It comes in an array of sizes and shapes, and some of the most popular mobile cranes include the vehicle-mounted crane, the all-terrain crane, and the telescopic handler. Mobile cranes are quicker and easier to set up compared to static cranes, and they’re ideal for indoor jobs. They are also a cheaper alternative to static cranes, and are more flexible as well.

  • The truck-mounted crane is set up on a truck, and it is highly mobile. It can also be rotated to as much as 360 degrees, but it can often move quite slowly around a site.
  • The rough terrain crane is designed especially for rough or off-road surfaces, and this is one of its premier advantages. It is also a stable crane, and it can move effectively around different surfaces. One drawback to this crane, however, is that it cannot be taken on a public motorway.

It is in your best interest to properly consult with a crane hire service so they can give you expert advice on the best choice for your project.

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