*** Update: The Toronto Star is now reporting that Loblaws will continue with the sale of French’s ketchup due to boycott threats and public outrage.***
It didn’t matter if French’s ketchup was flying off the shelves at Loblaws, the Canadian grocery retailer wanted the product out of its stores.
Loblaws has recently announced that it will no longer be selling French’s ketchup, despite it recently becoming the fastest-growing condiment in Canada.
“We had heard last week and we tried to confirm things,” said Elliott Penner president of French’s Food to the Financial Post. “We heard this coming from consumers. And we tried to confirm things and found out that was indeed what they had done.”
The Financial Post noted they tried to reach out to Loblaws for a comment, but they were unavailable for comment at that time.
This news comes as a bit of a shock, as French’s ketchup sales in Canada have been through the roof, following an enthusiastic (and viral) Facebook post from Orillia resident Brian Fernandez that stated why Canadians should switch to French’s ketchup.
Fernandez noted that French’s ketchup is made with tomatoes from Leamington, Ont., which were processed at the former Heinz plant for more than a year.
“Absolutely love it!” Fernandez wrote of French’s. “Bye. Bye. Heinz.” The post has already received more than 132,000 shares and has been flooded with positive responses from Facebook users, many claiming they’ll make the switch to French’s.
Loblaws and French’s even teamed up in December to promote two new flavours of French’s ketchup, Buffalo and Garlic, which Penner says was their most successful ad yet.
“It was like up 40 per cent and they wanted to break our new flavours, they wanted to help our one bottle equals one meal campaign with Canadian food banks. It was all quite positive. We got that message and we were taken aback just like everybody was.”
“To say we are disappointed is probably an understatement,” said Penner.
Despite this unexpected hurdle, Penner said French’s will continue to carry on whether or not Loblaws rethinks their decision.
“A good thing we’ve got going is great consumer demand, a great product and I think a strategy that links the local community to what they think is appropriate. I think any time you do those things you’re going to be successful.”