How do you invest in your community?
We believe in making a difference in the communities in which we live and work, every single day. This begins with supplying jobs and supporting local economies. With more than 134,000 colleagues working in more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores, we are a major contributor to local employment and economies in Canada.
Our corporate and community giving efforts (both financial support and programs) focus on President’s Choice Children’s Charity, Healthy Active Kids, Feeding our Neighbours and Greening our Communities.
In 2012, with the help of our customers, vendors, colleagues, franchisees and their employees, we donated more than $45 million to charities and non-profit organizations across Canada.
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Can you provide more details about President’s Choice Children’s Charity?
President’s Choice Children’s Charity (PCCC) is committed to helping kids. Whether providing support to children with disabilities or ensuring hungry tummies are filled with nutritious food, PCCC strives to ensure that kids have every opportunity to live to their full potential. The best part – 100% of every dollar donated goes to helping kids across Canada.
PCCC believes that nutrition is fundamental to children’s health and wants to provide the resources necessary to fuel a better learning environment. PCCC’s support of children’s nutrition is accomplished by being the National Premier Sponsor of Breakfast for Learning™ and through the Boys & Girls Club of Canada’s PCCC Basic Needs Brighter Future Program.
PCCC also supports children with disabilities by providing financial grants for essential specialized equipment and essential therapists. Through individual grants, the Charity is able to supply much needed resources and help to provide children with a renewed sense of independence, dignity and freedom.
Last year alone, PCCC granted more than $10 million to more than 1,900 families with children with disabilities as well as $3.9 million to more than 2,900 nutrition programs across Canada.
For more information about President’s Choice Children’s Charity please visit www.pc.ca/charity.
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What are you doing to encourage healthier eating?
We have made health and wellness a priority by continuing to develop healthier foods, promoting healthy food choices and lifestyles, and, working with industry partners and regulators to shape national food strategies.
In our stores, we offer a variety of healthier foods to address many different health, lifestyle and diet regimens. These include fresh, wholesome vegetables, fruits, meat, whole grains and dairy products, as well as our PC Blue Menu product line.
Launched in 2005, with more than 400 products in market, PC Blue Menu makes healthier eating simple. The healthier attributes of PC Blue Menu products help customers manage their intake of omega-3, fibre, fat and sodium, as well as calories, sugar, probiotics and more. In 2012, we redesigned the PC Blue Menu packaging to include plus (+) or minus (-) symbols which make it easier for customers to see a product’s nutritional attributes.
In 2012, we rolled out Guiding Stars in all Loblaws banner stores in Ontario and at our corporate head office. Guiding Stars is an in-store tool that rates all food up to three stars based on their nutritional value to help guide customers to healthier food options. Products are credited for having vitamins, minerals dietary fibre, whole grains and omega-3s and debited for saturated fats, added sodium and added sugars. We plan to roll out Guiding Stars in more in all our banner stores nationally by the end of 2015.
We also added 22 in-store dietitians in 50 corporate stores in Ontario. Dietitians are offer customers menu-planning advice, food label-reading tours, food demonstrations, health education and cooking classes. Dietitians also team up with in-store pharmacists to offer integrated health programs that can help customers prevent and manage specific chronic conditions.
Furthermore, we offer several in-store health and education programs:
Get Checked Now – Since 2011, Loblaw has collaborated with the Canadian Diabetes Association to raise awareness of diabetes and to provide diabetes information sessions for people newly diagnosed with diabetes and who are looking for information and support on topics such as nutrition, vision care and blood glucose monitoring. Sessions include grocery store tours with in-store dietitians and cooking classes in our President’s Choice Cooking Schools.
Food Allergy Management Assessment Program – Developed in partnership with Anaphylaxis Canada, this program helps parents and allergy patients better manage potentially life-threatening food allergies.
Healthy Heart Checks – Developed in collaboration with the Becel Centre for Heart Health. Loblaw pharmacists in select stores conduct 20-minute heart checks and provide customers with a personalized picture of key cardiovascular disease risk factors.
S.A.L.T. (Sodium Awareness Lifestyle Tips) – Developed in partnership with Hypertension Canada, offers customers educational booklets highlighting low sodium foods and Hypertension Canada guidelines related to sodium intake.
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Why aren’t all of your products considered “healthy/healthier”?
We pride ourselves on offering a variety of great-tasting, better-for-you options through our PC Blue Menu products. However, we are equally committed to providing choice to our customers and ensuring that their favourite foods, from all around the world, can be brought to their tables. Some of those products may not be considered “healthy/healthier”, but with the option of PC Blue Menu products, we believe that we are helping customers make healthier choices as much as possible – without sacrificing taste or quality.
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Are PC Blue Menu products the same price as other PC products?
On average, Blue Menu products are comparable in price to our other great PC products.
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Are you making an effort to cut down on salt?
Yes. We’re expanding our line of low-sodium and no-salt-added foods, including low-sodium ready-to-serve soups. Since 2010, we have reduced 117.6 metric tonnes of sodium in 428 existing control brand processed products. We also developed 741 new control brand processed products that meet our internal guidelines for responsible sodium content (as established by our team of nutrition researchers, registered dietitians and nutritionists, following Canada’s Food Guide and guidance from Health Canada).
Our in-store dietitians offer Healthy Eating and Healthy Heart tours in-store and educate customers about healthy eating. In 2012, we ran a month-long campaign in stores that offered customers the S.A.L.T. (Sodium Awareness Lifestyle Tips) educational booklets which highlighted low-sodium foods and sodium intake guidelines. Our efforts earned us the Certificate of Excellence from Hypertension Canada.
In partnership with grocery retailers and food vendors in Canada, we established a working group that is setting new approaches to reporting progress on sodium reduction and improving customer education on, and awareness of, nutrition choices.
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In terms of nutrition – first, it was calories, then fat, and now its sodium. What's next?
We will begin to see a focus on the sugar content in foods. Everyone knows that sugar is found in sweets, like candy, cookies, cakes and ice cream, but sugar content is also often hidden in grocery store aisles. Reading the labels on products can help determine if sugar is one of the ingredients, but it has many aliases. While sucrose is a well-known sugar, other types include dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose and maltose.
We are also focused on removing artificial flavours and artificial colours from our President’s Choice brand product by the end of 2013. Currently 93% of the products are free from these ingredients.
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