The WCSA partnered with Bridge Family and Youth Services Society in 2013-2014 to deliver a pilot project exploring the promotion of healthier food choices in convenience stores. The project fit within the scope of The Bridge’s Healthy Together program, which was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Healthy Weights for Children (HWC) project.
Creating awareness of the availability of healthier choice products at c-stores is part of the long-term goal of ensuring that c-stores play their role as part of the solution to the problems of obesity related illness. It also coincides with what industry research finds we need to do in order to capture a new demographic of consumers, particularly female shoppers who are more likely to seek out healthier options.
The WCSA is pleased to announce that a follow-up project is now underway.
The Bridge Youth and Family Services Healthy Together program and Western Convenience Store Association (WCSA) are launching a Healthier 4 You initiative with Calgary Co-op. Co-op stores at Kingsland and Auburn Bay are stocking up to 75 products identified by dieticians as healthier than other similar options in the store.
The launch marks the continuation of an innovative partnership between the two organizations, both committed to promoting healthy eating and the positive role that convenience stores can play.
Says Andrew Klukas, WCSA President: “Too many people remain unaware that modern convenience stores offer a growing range healthier food choices.” This program will help change that. “If we can positively influence people’s shopping habits at a young age, then as they go through life they won’t have to face the obesity-related illnesses we struggle with today. We’re excited about playing our part.”
The campaign raises awareness of healthier choices through in-store labeling and educational material. Specifically, Healthier 4 YouTM logos identify snacks and drinks with higher nutritional value according to criteria developed by dieticians, and a brochure for customers has label reading tips and steps for choosing healthier items.
This 10-week pilot will be evaluated by researchers from the University of British Columbia. The goal is to develop an inclusive, industry-wide program.
Labour Market Partnership Phase 3
The WCSA is preparing to request proposals to undertake the next phase of its effort to identify and to address recruitment and retention challenges in the industry. Research during Phase 2 resulted in recommendations to explore nine areas where the association can make the most difference. The top four that are emerging are:
Making the Temporary Foreign Worker Program more accessible to employers in the industry
Identifying and addressing training gaps
Developing and implementing a branding strategy to address negative and inaccurate perceptions of employment in the industry
Exploring and increasing awareness around the potential benefits of automation.
Approval of grant funding to support the project is expected in coming months.
Coming food sector grease interceptor Bylaw in Metro Vancouver
Retailers offering foodservice in the Metro Vancouver –an area covering everything between West Vancouver and Langley –should be aware of consultations regarding updates to the region’s grease trap regulations. Particularly if you are planning on any renovations to existing sites, take advantage of the opportunity to ensure your sites are compliant. For more information search for grease trap regulation at www.metrovancouver.org, and select Grease Interceptor Sizing Tool Feedback to determine the grease interceptor requirements for your operation.
C-store products not to be sold in cannabis shops
The BC government is the only Western province that has a mixed public/private model for the sale of recreational cannabis. To make a point about fair competition, the WCSA expressed its concerns that products traditionally sold in convenience stores, such as lighters and rolling papers, should not be sold in public cannabis outlets. Although we did not anticipate a precise victory there, a broader preemptive victory was achieved. The government wrote to confirm that “…the operating rules governing public and private cannabis retail stores will be similar to those currently in place for liquor. Although these licensed retailers will be able to sell cannabis and cannabis accessories, licensed cannabis retailers in urban areas will be prohibited from selling other products, such as food, gas, clothing and lottery, that are available for sale in retail businesses represented by the WCSA.”