The Food Professor

Loblaw Scores with Price Freeze, Dairy Farmers Score with the Leafs, Lab-Grown Scores FDA Approval and Special Guest Kate Burnett, President, Bridgehead Coffee

Episode Summary

In this episode, recorded live in person, our insightful interview with Kate Burnett, President at Bridgehead Coffee. A super interesting new report from the Agri-Food Analytics lab broke through the Twitter clutter and revealed some startling stats about what Canadians heard, how they shop and whom they blame for high food prices. We discuss Dairy Farmers of Canada's investment in the Toronto Maple Leafs, impressions on COP27, and the FDA's stunning approval of lab-grown chicken! We finish with a quick chat about favourite food movies and The Menu.

Episode Notes

Sylvain and I are back on the mic together after seeing each other and being together at the Coffee Association of Canada's great conference in Toronto last week.

I'm back from a whirlwind trip to NYC and have to say I had some super exciting dining experiences….first, I visited the new RH Guest House for breakfast. Then I experienced the new Starbucks concept store at the foot of the Empire State Building and my favourite restaurant Balthazar for an amazing Nova Scotia lobster pasta.

And coming out of the Coffee Association conference, we've already published a special bonus episode with Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC, talking about the big picture economic forecast and the impact on the food industry….

In this episode, recorded live in person, our insightful interview with Kate Burnett, President at Bridgehead Coffee.

Breaking news…Sylvain might be back on Galen Westin's Christmas Card list! A super interesting new report from the Agri-Food Analytics lab broke through the Twitter clutter and revealed some startling stats about what Canadians heard, how they shop and whom they blame for high food prices.

Next, we discuss Dairy Farmers of Canada's investment in the Toronto Maple Leafs,  impressions on COP27, and the FDA's stunning approval of lab-grown chicken! We finish with a quick chat about favourite food movies and The Menu.


About Kate

Kate Burnett is the Chief Operations Officer of Bridgehead. She has been with the organization since 2017, after moving back to Ottawa with her family. Kate actively pursued a role with Bridgehead based on its commitment to people (farmers, suppliers, customers and staff), the local community and the environment. The idea of having a Bridgehead flat white every morning just pushed her over the edge.

Prior to Bridgehead, Kate worked for Me to We, an innovative social enterprise based in Toronto focused on empowering people to change the world. She held multiple roles over her seven years there, including the Director of Consumer Engagement (building the retail side of the enterprise), Director of Business Development (working with partners to support initiatives and products with impact) and eventually as the Deputy Chief Operating Director (joining the Executive team to help lead and manage the growing enterprise).

Kate completed an honors undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario with a double major in English and Psychology. She later completed an MBA from the University of Victoria with a focus on service management (marketing, operations and customer service). She received multiple scholarships including the Canada’s CEO of the Year – Futures Fund Scholarship and was the President of the Student Council.

Before Me to We, Kate was the Associate Director of Camp Kandalore, a traditional summer camp with a focus on leadership and canoe tripping. Prior to this, she spent sixteen summers attending and then working at Camp Tawingo, which nurtured her passion for making a difference. Kate has travelled to over thirty countries and has been lucky enough to have been able to volunteer in South Africa at a camp for children affected by HIV/AIDS as well as in Rwanda with youth affected by the genocide.

She believes that using innovative business practices to make a positive impact is the most efficient and effective way to change the world. ​

About Us

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a Professor in food distribution and policy in the Faculties of Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is also the Senior Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab, also located at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. Google Scholar ranks him as one of the world's most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability.

He has authored five books on global food systems, his most recent one published in 2017 by Wiley-Blackwell entitled “Food Safety, Risk Intelligence and Benchmarking”. He has also published over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles in several academic publications. Furthermore, his research has been featured in several newspapers and media groups, including The Lancet, The Economist, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Foreign Affairs, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star.

Dr. Charlebois sits on a few company boards, and supports many organizations as a special advisor, including some publicly traded companies. Charlebois is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Business Scientific Institute, based in Luxemburg. Dr. Charlebois is a member of the Global Food Traceability Centre’s Advisory Board based in Washington DC, and a member of the National Scientific Committee of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Ottawa.

Michael LeBlanc  is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice.   He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience, and has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career.  Michael is the producer and host of a network of leading podcasts including Canada’s top retail industry podcast,       The Voice of Retail, plus  Global E-Commerce Tech Talks  ,      The Food Professor  with Dr. Sylvain Charlebois and now in its second season, Conversations with CommerceNext!  You can learn more about Michael   here  or on     LinkedIn. 

Be sure and check out Michael's latest venture for fun and influencer riches - Last Request Barbecue,  his YouTube BBQ cooking channel!

Episode Transcription

Michael LeBlanc  00:04

Welcome to The Food Professor Podcast Season 3, Episode 6. I'm Michael LeBlanc,

Sylvain Charlebois  00:10

And I'm The Food Professor Sylvain Charlebois.

Michael LeBlanc  00:13

Sylvain, we are back on the mic together after seeing each other and being together at the Coffee Association of Canada, it was a great conference here in Toronto last week.

Sylvain Charlebois  00:22

That was a nice day together last week in Toronto.

Michael LeBlanc  00:25

It was a fantastic day together. It was great to see you. And oh, my goodness, probably the best visual backdrop for a podcasting studio we have ever had like the backdrop from the Globe and Mail Center on to backing up to Lake Ontario and Toronto is just spectacular

Sylvain Charlebois  00:41

And cranes, I might add, (crossover talk).

Michael LeBlanc  00:45

And lots of cranes.

Sylvain Charlebois  00:47

It's a symbol of prosperity you know,

Michael LeBlanc  00:49

Being stuck behind a cement truck as we were for an hour is a symbol of prosperity. That's what you got to just remind yourself, when you sitting behind,

Sylvain Charlebois  00:59

They're demolishing everything in Toronto. Goodness, my good. 

Michael LeBlanc 01:01

Well, it's, it's quite, it's quite (inaudible) there's another 10 years of it with the li-. Ontario Line, the new Airport Line.

Sylvain Charlebois  01:08

The Toronto Historical Society must be going crazy.

Michael LeBlanc  01:10

I can imagine. I can imagine but,

Sylvain Charlebois   01:13


Michael LeBlanc   01:14

That's uh, they have, you know, if it's not a condo, it's a subway line, kind of, 

Sylvain Charlebois   01:17


Michael LeBlanc  01:18

Discussions uh, and I'm back from a whirlwind trip to New York City.

Sylvain Charlebois  01:22

I know you went to New York City.

Michael LeBlanc  01:25

I went to the Big Apple and for, (crossover talk).

Sylvain Charlebois  01:29

Was there a Christmas vibe already there?

Michael LeBlanc  01:31

Yeah. Well, they were actually the scaffolding that was up around the tree in the Rockefeller Center. So, it wasn't quite ready. But all the, all the retailers right. Thanksgiving next week or this week. I was there last week. So, it's Thanksgiving. So, we were at Macy's on 34th, they're getting ready for the parade and, 

Sylvain Charlebois   1:46


Michael LeBlanc   1:47

The stores look wonderful. Now. I had a couple of dining experiences to share with you and the people. I went, I started, and I visited the new RH Guest House. Have you heard of this?

Sylvain Charlebois  01:59

The RH Guest House? 

Michael LeBlanc  02:01

Yes. So, back in the history books, RH was Restoration Hardware. If you remember Restoration Hardware, the retailer now they're called RH and they've got these beautiful stores. There's one in like, there's one in Toronto. There's two in New York, like there's not many of them. And they decided, the founder he's a bit of an iconoclast and said I'm gonna start a hotel but it's not a hotel. It's a guest house. So, 

Sylvain Charlebois   2:29


Michael LeBlanc    2:30

We went for breakfast, and it was just spectacular. The people were wonderful. Probably the best om-, French omelet I've had in a long, long time. As it should be for $30 US for the omelet, but it was worth every, every mouthful. And (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois   2:42

I'm sure yeah. 

Michael LeBlanc   2:44

And then I visited the all new, it literally opened up the day before I was there, the all new Starbucks concept in the foot of the Empire State Building. So, what they've built there, Sylvain, is a new concept store where you can customize your own drink and on the, on the main floor it looks like a regular Starbucks kind of really like a roastery kind of thing. You know, they're upscale, but when you go downstairs, you basically go into a lounge where you are served to your, there's no standing, you're, you're served to your table you order by your QR code. You can pay the, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  03:12

So, you sit down, you sit down and then you scan your QR code to order.

Michael LeBlanc  03:16

But it opened the day before? Right and you can get, you can get flights of different coffee, that's all, some coffees are served in, in champagne glasses. Like it's very,

Sylvain Charlebois   03:25


Michael LeBlanc   03:26

They got food and they got a window into the bakery, so the food is made there. It was, it was really good, 

Sylvain Charlebois   03:29

Fresh food at Starbucks. 

Michael LeBlanc   03:31

Now I have to say I had a universal Starbucks experience. Because I went to the Roastery on the day that they were all being picketed by strikers. So, I was yelled at for going into Starbuck store. So, I had the whole experience, (crossover talk). Yeah, the one I was in. So, I went to three of them. They've, they've got this big roastery in the Meatpacking District. This is wonderful, just coffee flying through the sky kind of thing. That was where the pickets were, but the next day, I went to the Empire State Building, which is super and then we went for dinner. My friend or my and my good colleague and I were there with, at my favorite restaurant, Balthazar. And we had Nova Scotia lobster on pasta. 

Sylvain Charlebois   03:58

You didn't really. 

Michael LeBlanc    04:01

That's what's on the menu. So, a homage to you. Of course, I thought about you.  There's none left here. So, I know where they are now in New York City. Well, I could tell you there, (crossover talk) was plenty of past-, 

Sylvain Charlebois   04:19

Was it good? 

Michael LeBlanc   04:21

It was fantastic. I mean, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  04:32

Can I ask, how much did you pay? Do you remember?

Michael LeBlanc  04:36

For the whole meal? 

Sylvain Charlebois   04:40


Michael LeBlanc  04:41

Which was a ni-, a nice bottle of wine for the two of us. It was 400 Canadian.

Sylvain Charlebois  04:43

Yikes. That's New York.

Michael LeBlanc  04:45

But it's special. I mean, yeah, you get a, you get a cheap meal. Like you could get a very different meal in New York. I just like going, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois  04:50

Of course. 

Michael LeBlanc   04:52

It's kind of a treat, 

Sylvain Charlebois  04:55

You love New York, don't you?

Michael LeBlanc  04:57

Yeah, I've been there 20-30 times since the days when it was, it was you know, you didn't lean up against anything because it had recently been peed on to, today, which is a very different city. It's a very different city. Yeah, it is. There's a nice vibe for sure. It's you feel safer. We were there just a few months ago. It was, it was really nice, actually quite clean, it was surprisingly clean, but let's get back to the show. Speaking of the Coffee Association show, we've already published a special bonus episode with Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief at CIBC. We talked about the big picture, economic forecast and the impacts on the food business. So, make sure we released that on Monday. You're listening to this starting Thursday. So, make sure and if you missed that, listen, because it's a nice, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois  05:37

His interviews, 

Michael LeBlanc   05:39


Sylvain Charlebois  05:40

Are so insightful. We were able to ask a few questions, because once he, once he gets going, he gets going. And so, but it was such a nice conversation with Benjamin, it was I believe it was his first podcast, wasn't it?

Michael LeBlanc  05:53

I think so. I think he was not the first person to tell us that. But you know, he is so articulate and so smart. It was a fan-, Anyway, do not miss that discussion. And the two of you talking because you're so, you, both of you. I mean, he paid you a great compliment, you and the team. He basically said, well, we read your report. And that's how we put some of our forecasts in the food business together. So, 

Sylvain Charlebois  06:14

Which is coming out in two weeks. I mean two weeks.

Michael LeBlanc  06:17

Two weeks, 14 sleeps. 

Sylvain Charlebois   06:19

That's right. 

Michael LeBlanc  06:21

We'll be, we'll be dedicating an episode, or we'll be talking about that on an episode. Now, on this episode, today's episode was recorded live in person at, at the show Kate Burnett, President at Bridgehead Coffee, which was a great interview, and we got a couple more to follow. But Kate is our guest on this episode. We had between, you know, off mic, you and I were debating on how to pick who to put on this episode. And you know, we basically drew straws. So, they're all fantastic, 

Sylvain Charlebois   06:43

Oh, yeah. 

Michael LeBlanc  06:45

Interviews. So, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  06:50

We have a few more coming up. So, stay tuned.

Michael LeBlanc  06:53

Yeah. And breaking news. I think, I think you just might be back on Galen Weston's Christmas card list. Your super interesting new report from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab really did a great job of breaking through the Twitter clutter and revealed, 

Sylvain Charlebois   07:11

Oh, my goodness. 

Michael LeBlanc  07:13

Some startling stats about Canadians heard, how they shop and who they blame for high food prices. So, take us through it.

Sylvain Charlebois  07:19

Yeah, I mean, basically, we wanted to know because on Twitter people, well, people get nasty, and they criticize a lot. And, and the announcement, if, if you, if you, if you remember on, on October 17, Loblaws, decided to become the first grocer to freeze prices for over three months until the end, until January 31. And at that time, we decided we will go to feel and ask Canadians what they think about the price freeze a few weeks in, 

Michael LeBlanc   07:27

Great prices, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois   07:29

But if you recall, Michael, at the beginning, there was lots of criticism. And people called it marketing poor, which it is I mean, so beyond that, we wanted to know the economics of the call. I mean, the economics of a price freeze, will people actually take advantage of the price freeze and, and to be honest, looking at the numbers, the vast majority of Canadians have already bought no name brands. And the majority will actually plan to actually go back to a Loblaws operated store to buy No Name brands. I mean, 

Michael LeBlanc   07:54


Sylvain Charlebois  07:55

It was to me, it was such a natural thing for Loblaws to do, because for two reasons. One, I think people wanted sympathy or empathy from grocers. And two, Loblaws (inaudible) coordinated. I mean, it does such a great job promoting its private labels, it dominates the market with both No Name and President's Choice. And so, I thought it was really easy for Loblaws to execute, and then they did well. And frankly, based on our results, I think Canadians are paying attention. You know, (crossover talk), I was surprised by the results.

Michael LeBlanc  09:08

You know, we had talked on the last episode that when you read Twitter, you think a very different thing than reality, right? 

Sylvain Charlebois  09:16

Yeah, exactly. 

Michael LeBlanc   09:18

You know, everybody's first response was oh, bread fixing and all this stuff and, but you know, you and I know well enough that the Twitter-verse is not reflective of the real world. Yeah, I, I, I mean, listen, and, and your partner at Caddle, you, you guys did a great job. 55, 500, 5,530 Canadians were surveyed. And what I found interesting is the amount of money that they spend on how you did the reverse math, you got $821 the average Canadian will spend buying private label foods this year, which is, 

Sylvain Charlebois  09:35


Michael LeBlanc   09:36

You said in the report the highest ever, right? So, I guess that's an indication of, you know, Canadians getting more savvy. Not that they weren't savvy to begin with. Okay, listen, high food prices are here. I don't know exactly who's to blame, whatever. Maybe it's the Ukraine war, maybe it's whatever but I'm going to, I gotta start doing something to, to deal with that, you know, 

Sylvain Charlebois  09:47


Michael LeBlanc   09:48

Loyalty points to buying more great products. You know, the one thing I thought that jumped out at me is that I'm trying to find it here in the report. I have it in front of me that Canadians seem to blame the government for some reason.

Sylvain Charlebois  10:15

Government or supply chain. Yeah, but not,

Michael LeBlanc  10:17


Sylvain Charlebois  10:18

Well, I mean, they blame everyone. I mean, everyone is looking for a scapegoat. And I gotta thank Caddle, our partner, they do such a great job of supporting us in trying to figure out some of these things. And so, we tried to really come up with the right questions in order to assess, I guess, hatred or blame, because it's not an easy thing to measure. And we actually figured out that most Canadians blame grocers supply chain, whatever that means. Of course, it can mean a lot of different things to different people. And the government and we were surprised that in all provinces, not one percentage was higher for grocers than other, other segments, like, the supply chain or government. So, we were, we were a bit surprised by the results. Yeah,

Michael LeBlanc  11:12

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it does a great job. And I will put the link in the show notes. But basically, when I look, I blame grocery stores, and I'm going to pick a province, Alberta, just randomly 38% of Canadians blame grocery stores, 55% blame food manufacturers, 64.3%, which is second highest to Saskatchewan blame governments, which given the (inaudible) right now in Alberta doesn't really surprise me, 

Sylvain Charlebois   11:29

Pretty much. Yeah, I wasn't surprised by that. 

Michael LeBlanc  11:33

But what surprises me is you know very few, like, it's interesting, right? Alberta is very much a business-oriented province, and they are the lowest buy a matter of many, in terms of blaming retailers, they get it right. Its retailers are, are not to blame. And, and there's lots at the same time, there's plenty of blame to go around, according to this. So, great survey. Speaking of not being on anybody's Christmas card list, the last episode, you're concerned about Sobeys. And there it troubles that seems to have resolved itself fairly quietly with any last comments on that?

Sylvain Charlebois  12:11

Yeah. I mean, I've been to a few stores and I've, I've, I've talked to a few people. I mean, they're, they're coping, they're coping very well, I think they're still dealing with some IT issues, but nothing overly visible or disruptive. And I think they basically just, their strategy was to quietly depart from, from the mayhem that they experienced a few weeks ago. And, and frankly, just to keep quiet about the ransom, and anything may not be such a bad idea, because JBS Canada claimed publicly that they did pay a ransom of 11 million US dollars last year. And to me for the agri-food sector is that's not a good idea, because you will attract more

Michael LeBlanc  12:39


Sylvain Charlebois  12:40

Pirates. And so, 

Michael LeBlanc  12:42

More bad guys, yeah. 

Sylvain Charlebois  12:45

Just to keep it quiet, I think was probably the right thing to do. Now, we still don't know for sure what happened. But there's been so many reports, suggesting that it was ransomware that it's hard not to believe that. And but, beyond that, I mean, I think Sobeys will have to address this privacy issue. I mean, I'm sure a lot of people are concerned about or maybe not, maybe I'm misreading this. I don't know about you, Michael. But this is probably I would say in the food sector, the most underreported story of the year because I actually was expecting the media to actually be all over this one in terms of privacy issues, 

Michael LeBlanc   13:23


Sylvain Charlebois  13:24

The data is coming out, but nothing really. I mean, the CBC actually did look into it, which I thought they did a pretty good job, but other outlets were just not so, so proactive. And frankly, I think they were just busy covering other things like the Trump, the Trump arrival back into, into politics and things like that. So, were you surprised?

Michael LeBlanc  14:08

Well, you know, I know enough about IT systems to know that they're all very heavily compartmentalized particularly now and that just because you, you get into one system doesn't mean you get into all systems and the system that is, that is held the most secure is cust-, anything with customer information. Like we've had cyber breaches before with Home Depot, we've had them with Target, you know, I saw it I you know, people go oh, my god, don't transact you're basically giving all your credit card information. 

Sylvain Charlebois  14:27

That's right, yeah.

Michael LeBlanc   14:29

That's not the case, right. And I mean, you and I know Sobeys if that was the case, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  14:38

But they never actually, they (inaudible) so they made, they made public statements about operations and food, but they never actually made a public statement about privacy. And they were to provinces where they actually did report a breach in their databases, both Alberta and Quebec. So, I thought, I thought it was a little bit odd that clearly Sobeys was told not to say anything, but I just wonder why. I just don't know. I'm not an IT expert. So, I'm not, I don't know why. But clearly this was deliberate.

Michael LeBlanc  15:10

Yeah, well, let's say they're a very, very sophisticated organization. So, maybe they'll reveal something in their next general meeting or something when this time has passed. Who knows?

Sylvain Charlebois  15:20

Who knows? (Crossover talk), but they did, I mean they did there, they did, actually quite well. I mean, it seems to have because I actually, like I said, I've been to a few stores, and I couldn't see the difference. Like I saw, like, went on, I was there on a Sunday. I was expecting, you know, lighter shells, I guess. And they were, they weren't, it was, It wasn't really empty. It was, it was just normal. Yeah, very normal.

Michael LeBlanc  15:47

Alright, now let's get to our fantastic interview with Kate Burnett, President of Bridgehead Coffee. Okay. Welcome to The Food Professor podcast. How are you doing this morning?

Kate Burnett  15:56

I'm great. How are you? 

Sylvain Charlebois  15:58

Welcome Kate, (crossover talk),

Michael LeBlanc  16:00

Fantastic. We're recording here live at the Coffee Association's Conference at the Globe and Mail Centre. We're on break. So, there's a bit of background noise, but it's fun and exciting. What do you think it's, it's great to be out amongst the people?

Kate Burnett  16:09

Yeah. It's my first time coming, and it's been awesome.

Sylvain Charlebois  16:12

It's your first time at the Coffee Conference?

Kate Burnett  16:15

It is for this one. Yeah, yeah.

Sylvain Charlebois  16:17


Kate Burnett  16:18

So yeah, I mean, since COVID, there hasn't really been anything going on physically and, 

Michael LeBlanc  16:24

Right, right. 

Kate Burnett  16:26

It's, it's been awesome. Really great people. Great energy, great questions, 

Sylvain Charlebois  16:30

Because you just came off the stage now. And you went through the CEO panel. (Crossover talk) Richard, grilled you with some tough questions.

Kate Burnett  16:34

We got, we got some great questions and lots of great interest and nodding heads. It was, it was, it was empowering. 

Sylvain Charlebois  16:40


Michael LeBlanc  16:41

Oh, fantastic. So, let's, let's jump right in. So, tell us, tell us about yourself. I know something about you off mic. you apparently play volleyball. (Crossover talk), 

Kate Burnett  16:49


Michael LeBlanc  16:50

Played volleyball. And you were her, you were the coach, Kate's coach.

Kate Burnett  16:53


Michael LeBlanc  16:54

It's a small world, man. And as they say, a small world in the food business. But tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and, and what you do for a living?

Kate Burnett  17:05

Yeah, so I was born and raised in Ottawa and spent. I moved around a bit but spent most of my life there playing volleyball with Sylvain coaching me. And then I went to Western for undergrad and spent most of the next 15 years in, in Toronto as camp director for a couple of years. I got really interested in business. So, I went out West and did an MBA. And there, 

Michael LeBlanc  17:29

Victoria right, you went all the way out West.

Kate Burnett  17:31

You got it, (inaudible). Yeah and, 

Sylvain Charlebois   17:34

Beautiful campus, 

Kate Burnett   17:36

It’s stunning, stunning. So many bunnies, just bunnies everywhere. And I was exposed there to the concept of social enterprise. And I think I'd always had sort of that pull towards some type of value, value supply chain giving back. But I hadn't really seen it in a model from a business perspective versus a nonprofit. And so, it was the first WE Day in Vancouver that happened at the time, when I was in Victoria. So, I volunteered there and got really just inspired and interested in, (crossover talk), what's going on. Then when I finished my MBA, I moved to Toronto and started working for WE.

Michael LeBlanc  18:13

You were in senior operations there, right? 

Kate Burnett  18:16

Yeah, I helped build the retail side and then joined the executive team. So, I was there for about seven years. And then I got pregnant with my second child who ended up being twins. And so, we, 

Michael LeBlanc  18:20


Kate Burnett   18:21

Surprise, my husband and I decided to move back to Ottawa, which was where my family was. 

Michael LeBlanc   18:23


Kate Burnett   18:24

And so, when I started to look, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois   18:27

To get the support, 

Kate Burnett  18:29

To get a little bit of help.

Sylvain Charlebois   18:32


Kate Burnett  18:33

Which was, was and it was amazing. And, and then so for me, I was really interested in finding another organization that had a really strong mission. And, and again, that sort of social enterprise piece and moving back to Ottawa I had left when I was tw-, when I was about 20. So, Bridgehead was just starting then. 

Sylvain Charlebois   18:42


Kate Burnett   18:43

So, I didn't know it really as an adult until I moved back. And it just ticked all the boxes in terms of a fair ch-, for fair trade, organic, you know, the, the local, the why, and then also an exciting growing company. So, I pretty much stalked the founder and she,

Michael LeBlanc   18:55

Now who's the founder of Bridgehead?

Kate Burnett   18:58

Tracey Clark, 

Michael LeBlanc   19:00


Kate Burnett   19:01

So, she started Bridgehead and has got a really interesting history. It actually started in 1981, as Bridgehead Trading. And so, it was started by two United Church ministers and two social activists in Nicaragua. So, they were traveling missionary work and, 

Sylvain Charlebois   19:15


Kate Burnett   19:16

At the time of the US embargo. And so overnight, they saw the impact of coffee farmers losing their market. And so, they thought, Okay, well maybe we can help by bringing their coffee over, coming back to Toronto. They were Toronto based, not Ottawa based, and selling it in church basements, and so literally pre-fair trade. And so, and that's when brand started and expanded until 1984 to three years later, Oxfam Canada took it on as their social enterprise. So, for all of the 80s, and into most of the 90s, it was the social enterprise for Oxfam Canada to help support the charity. 

Sylvain Charlebois   19:34


Kate Burnett   19:35

Then it expanded into a number of different products, not just coffee, and always RetailMeNot, not in the cup. And then, unfortunately, profitability challenges in the late 90s, and ultimately, a woman named Tracey Clark, who was on the board at the time, wanted to strip it down, just bring it back to the coffee, same values, you know, fair trade, organic, all about the environment and sustainability. Yeah, coffee was always the main one. But there was they brought in additional artis-, artisanal products, to help support, but ultimately, coffee remains the main,

Sylvain Charlebois  20:44

So, before the commitment to coffee, there it was, there were many verticals, many, 

Michael LeBlanc  20:57

That's a tough businessman, there's been a lot of people trying to crack that code, right. 

Kate Burnett   21:02

You got it. 

Michael LeBlanc   21:04

You know, a lot of people want to buy our artisanal, you know, 

Kate Burnett   21:06


Michael LeBlanc   21:07

Social justice, made somewhere, wonderful products, but bringing them here and landing them and selling them. It's a tough business, man.

Kate Burnett  21:11


Sylvain Charlebois   21:12

At a profit. 

Kate Burnett  21:14

Exactly. And so ultimately, in 2000, Tracey Clark took the, bought the name and the rights and started the first coffee in the cup of coffee. And this is what Bridgehead is now. So, in, in 2000, in Ottawa on Richmond Road, the first Bridgehead Coffee House. So again, same values, first fair-trade coffee in Canada, and contin-, continues to this day to only serve fair trade organic, and ultimately brought that coffee into the cup, in which if you think 2099, you know, there's only a few Starbucks in, in Ontario,

Michael LeBlanc  21:51

(Crossover talk), that's right, early days. 

Kate Burnett   21:53

It was a very different market. 

Michael LeBlanc   21:55

It was Second Cup-ville back then.

Kate Burnett  21:55

So, you've been president of the company for three years, I guess, (crossover talk), Lots of Second Cup. Yep. And Starbucks was here, there were maybe two or three in Ottawa at the time, but you know, very different now. And so that's how it all started and sort of expanded one a year, every year. And so, we're 21 now. So that's sort of how it all started and, and meeting with Tracey and then now in 2000, so January 6, 2020, we were sold to our parent company, Aegis Brands and now we are publicly traded. So, 

Sylvain Charlebois   22:14

Three months before the (crossover talk) like eight weeks, 

Michael LeBlanc   22:17

When the panic set in.

Kate Burnett   22:19

And at the same time when I became the President of the company, it was a real wild ride. Three years, 

Michael LeBlanc   22:23

No kidding. yeah, tech-, yeah, exactly. 

Sylvain Charlebois   22:38


Kate Burnett   22:39

Yeah, exactly Jan-, yeah, January is when, when I took over leadership.

Sylvain Charlebois  22:43

So, I was listening to your panel. And Richard asked all of you all CEOs, wh-, what is the one thing that keeps you up at night? And, and you said inequality within the supply chain? 

Kate Burnett   22:53


Sylvain Charlebois  22:54

That's something that is really at the core of what you do, right. 

Kate Burnett   22:58


Sylvain Charlebois   22:59

So, what are some of the things that you think needs to happen in order for, for, for, for inequalities to disappear a little bit? Because I think everyone knows that (crossover talk)

Kate Burnett  23:12

You know it exists, I think, I mean, to really simplify it, I think the reality of having a minimum wage, like we have in Toronto, or in Ottawa, needs to be, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  23:25

It's a foreign concept in other countries,

Kate Burnett  23:26

Right and so, so the closest thing that I can equate as fair trade, right, fair trade is literally a minimum wage that regardless of what the C Market does, that it is, is a bare minimum. It's not, it's not, 

Michael LeBlanc  23:41

It's a starting point. It's not the point of arrival, right? 

Kate Burnett  23:44

You got it, it's a starting point. And so, so I would say something along those lines of the challenge of investors and speculation, dictating the price of something that literally has nothing to do with the cost to produce it. And the fluctuations, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois  24:03

Yeah, we saw with Ukraine in February, boom, (crossover talk), a pound was 2,60 in US I think.

Kate Burnett  24:09

It was 90 cents, which is a problem to be clear, 90 cents, 

Michael LeBlanc   24:16

It's not enough. 

Kate Burnett   24:19

A pound is not enough there, there’s, there's estimations somewhere between $1 and a $1.20 USD is the cost to produce a pound, sorry is (inaudible) to produce. So, for years it's been 90 cents literally meaning that the producers are losing money producing coffee, but they don't have lots of other alternatives it's not they can just, you know, turn it off and grow something else. There's lots of various challenges. So, I think that's probably simplifying it but I think just the fact that there's some type of legitimate minimum wage again, fair trade is, 

Sylvain Charlebois  24:47

Are things improving from your standpoint?

Michael LeBlanc  24:50

Now what do you, what do you mean improving here or improving around the world, improving in the industry? What do you, what are you thinking?

Sylvain Charlebois  24:55

Across supply chains looking at different countries where they grow coffee? Do you think there's more equality than, say 10-15-20 years ago? Are the things that we're doing here helping them? Essentially?

Kate Burnett  25:07

Yeah, I do think so I think one of the really neat pieces of Bridgehead really focused on quality, right? So yes, fair trade and organic, but at the end of the day, if a coffee doesn't taste delicious, then people aren't going to continue to buy it, right. So, you need it to ta-, to taste delicious and do good at the same time. So, you can't, it's you know, premium with purpose is really what we sort of focus on.

Sylvain Charlebois   25:24


Kate Burnett   25:25

And so, in terms of quality, what is interesting about that is, that is probably the best way for farmers to make the most amount of money is by providing quality coffee, we can pay more for quality. And so because the quality movement is growing significantly over the last two decades, three, I guess I would say for sure, I would think that there's more and more opportunity to pay higher rates for quality, but it's still pretty niche, you know, the mass, the mass is not buying, the mass is buying based off of what, what the supermarket is saying. So yeah, I am optimistic, I think, I think the higher quality, you, you buy and consume, you know that, that there is generally a significantly better impact there.

Michael LeBlanc  26:20

That's, that's your interpretation, the more I pay, the better the impact. 

Kate Burnett   26:23

It's what I,

Michael LeBlanc   26:25

Is that uniformly true?

Kate Burnett  26:27

So, what I know to be true is that we literally pay more based on a score. So, there's a Specialty Coffee Association score, and depending on what grade you are buying at, you literally pay, you pay the premium for that. Is that true with everything?

Michael LeBlanc  26:43

And it's your understanding when you pay the premium that the people who make the product are being treated better or not treated better, but they're getting a better price for their crop? 

Kate Burnett  26:53

Yeah, so one of the things that is unique about us is that we have direct relationships with 90% of our coffee farmers. So, we're there, with them. We co-work with co-ops and so we, we have an (inaudible),

Sylvain Charlebois  27:06

How many farmers do you deal with? 

Kate Burnett   27:09

Farmers are, it’s a tough question because its co-op’s ring a significant size. But, but definitely the, the small-scale farmers are the world that we work in versus, you know, major estate farms that, that have, I would say employees. 

Sylvain Charlebois   27:21


Kate Burnett   27:22

The vast majority of the farmers we work with are the owners and the farmers.

Michael LeBlanc  27:29

More cra-, we, we might call them craft brewers, 

Kate Burnett   27:31

Yeah, you got it. 

Michael LeBlanc   27:33

So to speak, craft oriented coffee, right?

Kate Burnett   27:36

Absolutely, very good connection. 

Sylvain Charlebois   27:38


Kate Burnett   27:39

So, you just rolled off the stage on the CEO panel. So, I want to pull on one thread that we've been talking about: its people. So, I've been talking to other folks in the coffee industry. And some of the big players have gone, oh my God, I've made this job so hard. It is so frustrating. I can't find people when I find them, they leave. Talk about finding people that to ultimately deserve a great cup of coffee, you need a great, what do you call your associates, associates, what do you call them in the store? Do you have,

Kate Burnett  28:02

A team, our, our staff, our people? 

Michael LeBlanc   28:05

Yes, it's all over the place, (crossover talk). 

Kate Burnett   28:08

We call them our Bridgeheader's,

Michael LeBlanc  28:10

Bridgeheaders, (crossover talk), you know, across the board people and we just got off the mic with Benjamin Tal from CIBC and we were talking about people, and this is a long run issue with people moving around. How are you finding the people's market? And how do you make yourself an employer of choice in a very crowded market with a short supply of people.

Kate Burnett  28:30

So, one of the things that I do with all of our staff when they hit the three month mark, so after they have done, in any level in the company, when they've learned the ins and outs of the day-to-day of their role at three months, we pull them back for a three hour session with me, which is about the vision, the values, going deeper, if they have any questions, you know, I thought Bridgehead was about this, but then I saw that we're doing this and why is that you know, and making a connection to me so that if things come up, they know the intention of what we're trying to do. 

Sylvain Charlebois   29:03


Kate Burnett   29:04

And so, if there's something that doesn't feel right, that they know to put their hand up and ask and so what I always ask is; what is the reason why you came to work at Bridgehead and why do you stay? And, 

Sylvain Charlebois   29:13

After three months,

Kate Burnett   29:15

After three months, you've been here for three months so what brought you here and I always say it can be because you just needed a job but don't have, don't make, don't make it, (crossover talk) and every time by and large the group says I count, I came for the values. So, I believe in what Bridgehead is doing, (inaudible) I've heard Bridgehead does interesting things and the values are broad. So, that could be, that could be local, that could be the organic fair trade, that could be,

Michael LeBlanc  29:47

Not part of a massive global chain. I, (crossover talk) can talk to the owner, (crossover talk), 

Kate Burnett   29:48


Michael LeBlanc   29:49

The CEO or whatever, 

Kate Burnett  29:52

You got it. And then why do you stay? They say always, say the people. So, they stay for their peers, they stay for their manager, 

Sylvain Charlebois   29:56

The team. 

Kate Burnett   29:58

For the team. And it doesn't matter. This is, they've been saying this for the last five years I've been doing it. And that didn't change in COVID.

Sylvain Charlebois  30:10

Describe, describe to us what a typical customer is in your business. And has it changed over the last couple of years since you've been CEO?

Kate Burnett  30:19

I don't know if a customer has changed their buying patterns and their habits have changed. Absolutely. Even just as we were hearing earlier. At the seat of the (inaudible) panel are brewed, a simple brew, hot brew coffee used to be about 50% of our, of our coffee that we served, it was sort of 50-50 brew versus espresso, espresso based like lattes or flat whites. It is now almost 80-20, 80% espressos, espresso-based beverages, 20%, brew. So, part of that is I think the commuter is, 

Sylvain Charlebois   31:00


Kate Burnett  31:01

No longer commuting as much. So, people have more time or they, they're not in at 8:50 and have to be in really (crossover talk),

Michael LeBlanc  31:07

Before they invested in the machines to do the, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  31:09

A cup that serves a purpose beyond the coffee.

Kate Burnett  31:11

They brought it home. (Crossover talk), yeah, exactly. So, I don't know that. I don't know that the consumer has changed as much. I think they're looking for a really good cup of coffee, and they're looking for, to be part of a community and a brand that they believe in. Yeah, it's got to be good. 

Sylvain Charlebois  31:26


Kate Burnett   31:27


Michael LeBlanc  31:29

I mean, that's table stakes, (crossover talk) table stakes versus differentiators, right?

Kate Burnett  31:32

Yeah, it's got to be that think you, you, I personally believe that the sustainability, the why, has to be the icing on the cake you'd still need to have the reason why people are going to come back. 

Sylvain Charlebois  31:47

Yeah, absolutely. Listen, thank you so much for joining us today. On The Food Professor podcast. Yes, and it's nice to come out? It's nice to meet people.

Kate Burnett  31:51

It's amazing. (Crossover talk), It's been really good. 

Michael LeBlanc  31:54

It's great to meet you (crossover talk), 

Kate Burnett   31:56

Thanks for having me. 

Sylvain Charlebois  31:59

Talk to people, yeah, because the last couple of years, it has been tough to do business. So, yeah. So, welcome to Toronto. Enjoy yourself for today. 

Kate Burnett 

Thank you. 

Sylvain Charlebois   32:02

Yeah, and hope to see you again soon.

Kate Burnett  32:08

Yeah, absolutely. 

Michael LeBlanc   32:09

Take care. 

Kate Burnett  32:11


Michael LeBlanc  32:12

We should talk about the conference a little bit. It's a great interview with Kate. And as we said, there's more interviews to come, I thought it was a great conference. And I listened to it mostly because I was at the booth, you were kind of, you were on the stage and back and forth. Our friend Tony Chapman did a great job hosting he's, he's so charismatic and such a pro,

Sylvain Charlebois   32:21


Michael LeBlanc   32:22

On the big stage. What were your takeaways from the show? (Inaudible) Did you, you paid enough, you were there enough to, to hear a few folks speak if any and did you walk away thinking something about the industry, that, what were your impressions?

Sylvain Charlebois  32:39

Well, I don't know if you, you heard me speak, right. And I met, I always mean what I say. I had the luxury of being an academic and I can say what I want. So, I don't have any, any I don't have to make any compromises along the way. And the one thing I said was that I really enjoyed talking to the coffee group, because it's a unified group, they actually deal with issues together, even though they compete. This whole issue of co-opetition, which I think is, is great, especially for the coffee industry looking at, you know, as we talked with Kate about supply chain inequalities, I think there is this recognition that the current model is not necessarily sustainable. Things are drying up, it's getting harder to grow beans, like arabica, for example, in some parts of the world. We have to think differently about farmers, about supply chains. I mean, that group is so open minded, so open minded. And by the way, I mean, often I actually go and talk and it's pretty homogeneous, male, white male dominated, 80% of the crowd is just white male, but this crowd is diverse, open minded and it makes a big difference, to be honest, I and, I also actually sat down to listen to Ted Nolan’s keynote chat with, (crossover talk). 

Michael LeBlanc   34:08

Very inspirational. 

Sylvain Charlebois   34:10

Yeah, it was so, it was just so great. It's very inspirational. And those are the kinds of things you don't necessarily see at a food conference like they tend to get down to business. But I really, really liked this group. Frankly, I think because they have, they have this great, great balance between business, fun and forward-looking stuff as well.

Michael LeBlanc  34:30

Yeah, there's a real trend of social justice throughout. And I think it's really, as you say, it's part of the coffee culture, right. There's a whole culture of coffee. So, congratulations to Robert Carter, who did a fantastic job for his Association and that conference and his whole team. So, congratulations to Robert and his team. Now, I don't think I told you, but I was actually a winner at the silent auction. There's a silent,

Sylvain Charlebois   34:50


Michael LeBlanc   34:51

Auction there. Yeah, I won. (Crossover talk), I was the winning bidder. I was the winning bidder for a pair of Maple Leaf, Toronto Maple Leaf hockey tickets, which makes me think of the Leaf’s uniform which makes me think of a post you did on social media around the Dairy Farmers of Canada sponsorship.

Sylvain Charlebois  35:07

The Dairy Farmers of Canada were sponsors of the Coffee Conference. 

Michael LeBlanc    35:09

They were, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois   35:12

I did not talk about milk. I did not talk about, (crossover talk), milk.

Michael LeBlanc  35:15

We did not talk about that at all. I did manage, they had some coasters. I swiped a bunch of coasters. 

Sylvain Charlebois    35:20

Oh, yes. 

Michael LeBlanc   35:22

So, I got my coffee because I love milk coasters. Reported by you,

Sylvain Charlebois  35:26

When are you, when are you going to see the Maple Leafs against who, what day?

Michael LeBlanc  35:30

The Seattle Kraken, in January. 

Sylvain Charlebois   35:33


Michael LeBlanc   35:34

For the Kraken Where I'll see the $20 million milk logo apparently. So, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  35:39

So, this is, it came from, I would say a highly reliable source. I won't name the person. When I heard that, I saw, Oh, man $20 million. Like who can afford that? And of course, it’s, it's, it's a multifaceted deal. I think there are some seats involved. There's marketing, their logo, I mean there's lots of stuff going on with the 20 million, but I mean, the Dairy Farmers of Canada are known to have one of the largest marketing budgets in the country. I think they spend, all provinces combined $150 to $170 million in marketing, you can do a lot of damage with, with that kind of money. You gotta wonder, Is this necessary? Can we do other things with this particular money? I don't know, what are your thoughts?

Michael LeBlanc  36:27

Well, I think a couple things, one, the $20 million sounds about right. I mean, if you're going to get on any, a top team in the NHL, it's going to you know, just order of magnitude, you know, that,

Sylvain Charlebois  36:36

They never denied it, (inaudible). Because actually, I, I, I hash tagged Dairy, asked them openly on Twitter, they never responded. So, my guess is that the estimate is accurate.

Michael LeBlanc  36:47

Well, it sounds about right for an you know, participation like that on a NHL team.

Sylvain Charlebois  36:51

Well RBC is on the Hab’s logo in Montreal. 

Michael LeBlanc   36:53


Sylvain Charlebois   36:54

So, I assume that they've paid something around that kind of money.

Michael LeBlanc  36:58

I mean I take, here's my perspective. I mean, basically, as you said, it's a part of a budget. So, there's the decision to be on the Leaf’s jersey, that's one decision, that's mostly a business decision. Is that worth $20 million to achieve your objectives? Then there's the broader context of why, why is, why are they spending so much money in the public domain that that's a, you know, that's basically someone in that organization is tasked to make sure Canadians drink more milk. I mean, that's pretty straightforward to me, that's like any CPG company, they've got to make sure whether it's a calendar or a picture of people wearing milk mustaches that people you know, drink more milk instead of dairy alternatives like oats and, and dairy, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois  37:35

But you know what's most insulting Michael, it happened. So, my tweet happened the same week, we learned that Ottawa was giving over a billion dollars to dairy farmers as compensation for the North American Free Trade Agreement. And so, taxpayers’ money so, so we, (inaudible) they've, they've received now over $3 billion of taxpayers’ money. So, you got to wonder, like who's actually paying for the logo. And so, RBC in Montreal, it's clear cut, it's a bank, they can do whatever they want, with Dairy and I've always, I've, I've, I've told you that, in the past. I actually find milk to be different than in the US. Milk in Canada is essentially a public good. 

Sylvain Charlebois   38:01

And so, you got to really look at it very differently. And dairy farmers have a huge responsibility. They have access to government sanctioned quotas, we as a society, give them the right to produce milk. You and I cannot produce milk we ha-, unless we buy quotas. That's, that's the social contract we have between us and dairy farmers, and we were willing to maintain that. But at the same time, you gotta wonder, you know, what are they doing with the money? And why are we compensating farmers for zero losses? Losses are hypothetical, they're not losing any money. If you understand supply management, of course, the losses, what they do every year is that they recalibrate quotas based on domestic demand, if you're losing share to importers, that just going to basically buy out farmers who are retiring and leaving the industry, nobody's losing any money. 

Michael LeBlanc  39:22

Would you?

Sylvain Charlebois  39:27

That's the thing. 

Michael LeBlanc    39:29

Would you spend zero money on marketing, if you ran the Milk Board? If I ma-, had the magic wand and tapped you and said congratulations, you're now in charge. Would you take that, what did you say 150 million to zero?

Sylvain Charlebois  39:36

I would, I would do some marketing, but I would actually invest more on R&D.  R&D for consumer focus research. Right now most of the money is spent on increasing yields and, you know, making sure that cows produce more milk and their genetics, which is fine. But right now, there's no look at the Buttergate situation last year. Buttergate happened because there was zero interest, in, in assessing the quality of dairy products on the market in Canada. So, they, if they invest more money, looking at market quality or dairy products, the quality of their products at retail, I think it actually could improve the image of the dairy sector, showing that they actually care about the quality of their products at retail. 

Sylvain Charlebois  39:47

Right now, I think people see mixed messages right now. (Inaudible), it seems more like a top down, sort of approach when it comes to marketing. Instead of just trying to understand consumers, you and I are looking at oat milk, looking at precision fermentation. Do you remember, we talked about Remilk from Israel, sending me some cream cheese, and I think that's the future instead of actually looking at issues like that, they're just pouring money on logos and marketing.

Michael LeBlanc  40:04

Well, you've talked about the future. Let's wrap up with your impressions on COP27. I was intrigued by this quote, the world needs another green (inaudible), the Bank of Canada, and the Arrell Food Institute put a strategy towards sustainable food. How do we produce our food? Some big hitting, we've talked about RBC coincidentally, so some big hitting con-, conference attendees.

Sylvain Charlebois  40:15

That report, that that report was, was I don't know if it was well received or well-read at all. I don't know. What are your thoughts?

Michael LeBlanc  41:21

Well, it kind of made a flash in the, in the news I saw in the Globe and Mail and then it kind of went away. But (crossover talk), the, the, these big conferences are at the beginning of the conversation sometimes both reports like that. But did you, did you have any key takeaways from the conference itself? I mean, it's just wrapping up now, other than the fact that they all got to dine on very good food, apparently, according to the news, (crossover talk), 

Sylvain Charlebois   41:27

And fly in and burn tons of fuel, (crossover talk). Yeah, I mean, you can't do it on Zoom, though. I mean, you can’t do it all on Zoom.

Sylvain Charlebois  41:38

I know that but here's, here's one thing related. So, COP27, did talk about lab grown meat. And the one thing that, that I think we should take a few minutes to talk about was, what was the US FDA's decision to approve lab grown chicken, 

Michael LeBlanc   41:47

It's a big deal. 

Sylvain Charlebois    41:50

From Upside Foods in San Francisco and Upside Foods is a company, which launched in 2015, funded by people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, but also Cargill and Tyson. And those are the largest meat packers in the world. They're actually investing in lab grown meat. And I know a lot of people. And to be honest with you, Michael, I think it's an historical event. So, all we need now is the USDA to approve the safety of these products, and then they're ready to go. It's going to be commercialized. And that's good, that could happen within the next year or so. Wow that's, I remember we talked about this in Singapore, right? There were some, some meat, (crossover talk), Singapore is allowed. 

Sylvain Charlebois  42:36

It's, it's, it's now commercially legal to sell lab grown chicken. But in America, we're basically months away now. And that's actually gonna have an impact on Canada. And you remember last week in Toronto, I did talk about lab grown coffee. And I know a lot of people are looking at why it's just, we're talking 23 years away. I don't know, but because we're talking so much about sustainability, ethics, supporting, supporting farmers. That technology is, is impressive. I've actually, I've actually coached a few startups in that field and it's pretty impressive. And people, when I go on Twitter and talk about lab grown meat, I can feel that people are uneducated about the technology. It's not fake meat, (crossover talk), actually meat.

Michael LeBlanc  43:48

Now is this hap-, I'm just thinking back to our conversation around Singapore. This seems like it's happening in North America faster than you expected it to. Do I have that right? There's over 100 startups in America, a lot of them like, (crossover talk), You didn't think they'd get approval though. It just didn't, (crossover talk), right? 

Sylvain Charlebois  44:08

Within five years for sure. Because I mean, look at, they, so Upside Foods just bought another startup in seafood, lab grown seafood for half a billion dollars. How do you get that kind of money? But seriously,

Michael LeBlanc  44:22

You know there's a lot of money floating around I mean, Bill Gates (crossover talk) to 400 billion, 

Sylvain Charlebois  44:26

There's a lot of money floating around to support these startups. Why? Because it's gonna cost nothing to produce over time to actually produce a kilo of chicken right now is costing about half of what it has cost to produce a chicken one kilo of chicken traditionally, and there's, there's basically zero risk in terms of food safety. Think of the supply chain, it's super easy to distribute, and you can actually design the perfect product for your market as well, the tastes and everything else. I've been impressed by the technology. And it's yes, it's happening fast. And my guess is that within the next 12 months, it will be allowed. It will be commercialized in America. And that's going to put a lot of pressure on, on Canada and Health Canada to approve this. And of course, we're going to hear more from Margaret Hudson, and the, the boards in Canada. Our regime in Canada is very different, but they're gonna have to figure this thing out because this is not going to go away. Yeah, Margaret Hudson, by the way, for the listeners that don't know her, is President of Burnbrae, 

Sylvain Charlebois  45:12

Burnbrae, yeah. 

Michael LeBlanc   45:15

Farms, which is the biggest egg producer and has been a guest and makes a fantastic product. So, (crossover talk) -

Michael LeBlanc  45:29

They make great products and our chicken; our chicken industry is amazing. And our livestock, (crossover talk),

Sylvain Charlebois  45:43

We had Maple Lodge Farms on the podcast, to, (crossover talk), 

Michael LeBlanc   45:47

That's right.

Sylvain Charlebois   45:49

High quality (crossover talk). My only hope, Michael, is that we don't screw it up. And we actually label these things properly. So, you and I, consumers, know exactly what we buy at the store. Genetically modified salmon is everywhere in Canada, but nobody knows where it is because it's not labeled. Let's not make that mistake again.

Michael LeBlanc  46:15

All right. Well, listen, this is a, this is a great discussion. I mean, (Crossover talk), early in the morning. Well, listen, I'll put a, I'll put a link in the show notes to the movie Soylent Green for anybody who gets that cultural reference. Just kidding. Just kidding. I'm going to get some feedback on that.

Sylvain Charlebois  46:32

What's your favorite movie, food movie?

Michael LeBlanc  46:34

I liked, I liked the movie Chef, with Jon Favreau (crossover talk), David Chan was the consulting chef in it. It is, as the industry recognizes, the most true to life. Because David Chan said I'm not doing, I'm not consulting on a movie to make fake chefs. This is really how it works. I thought that was a fantastic movie, (crossover talk).

Sylvain Charlebois  46:52

The reason why I asked the question on Twitter is that there's a new movie out called The Menu.

Michael LeBlanc  46:57

Oh, yeah. Who's on The Menu, Ralph Fiennes, right? Eat the rich, eat the rich with a bit of teasing there, (crossover talk), about what that movie is all about. 

Sylvain Charlebois  47:05

It sounds dark, very dark. 

Michael LeBlanc   47:08

It is a social commentary. Anyway, it's very, very, I'm going to go see that one for sure. Well, listen, as always, just a pile of fun. A reminder for everyone don't, don't sleep on our bonus episode with Benjamin Tal with some great economic insights to listen to in a snap, snack sized episode. And for now, I'm Michael LeBlanc, Growth Consultant, media podcaster and a bunch of other things and you are? 

Sylvain Charlebois   47:29

The Food Professor, Sylvain Charlebois. 

Michael LeBlanc   47:33

And if you're listening to this, you're probably listening on one of the major podcasting networks but by all means, hit that, smash that subscribe button and tell all your friends in the foodservice, grocery and restaurant industry to listen in. As we got lots more great content coming up. Until then, Sylvain, have a wonderful rest of your day. Peace out and talk to you again soon.

Sylvain Charlebois  47:54

Take care, bye bye


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