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Chicoutimi Mustard to the Costco Rescue

Thanks to an unlikely combination of circumstances, a small business in Chicoutimi will begin selling its jars of mustard at Costco in the next few hours. Just in time for National Day. Looks like it’s fixed with the view guy, but no.

Posted yesterday at 7:30 pm

It took abnormally high temperatures in western Canada, flair, strong nerves, the purchase of large containers and years of preparation for Canada Sauce to land a surprise order from Costco. By the happiest of coincidences, all the stars have aligned.

So much so that this week, Quebecers shopping at Costco will see mustard made in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. The yellow seasoning, sold in one-liter glass jars, will be present in a dozen branches.

The three co-founders of Canada Sauce had the goal of selling Costco from day one, in 2019. “Our competition is American, and for us it is the gateway to the American market,” justifies the president, Simon-Pierre Murdock. But taking advantage of the retailer’s immense volumes isn’t achieved by shouting at Costco.

“There is a manual to sell them. They are so rigorous. You cannot be a little to the left or to the right”, says the young leader.

This instruction manual, Canada Sauce read it from the beginning, with the intention of having it ready in a horizon of “three to five years”. It finally took three years of work to bring it up to par. It was worth it.

In January, the phone rang and it was a Costco rep looking for mustard, which was in dire need. The SME took the opportunity, it was ready! Above all, he had enough mustard seeds. After extreme heat in western Canada destroyed crops, Canada Sauce bought whatever raw materials it could, even if it meant putting enormous pressure on its working capital. In fact, there was a shortage, accentuated by the war in Ukraine, another major producer of mustard on an international scale.1.

But what exactly does Costco’s manual contain?

“Palletizing is a key element,” Simon-Pierre Murdock gives me as an example. explanations. In a traditional supermarket, employees empty cardboard boxes to put products on the shelves. Not at Costco. The pallet is placed on the floor and customers must be able to use it without significant prior handling. In other words, Costco employees shouldn’t have to open boxes.

To give you an idea of ​​the level of detail, the pallet must be protected by a thickness of plastic film. not two. Costco wants super fast unboxing. Other retailers require “three wraps” instead.

Photo Robert Skinner, La PressE archive

In order to sell your products at Costco, the pallet must be placed on the floor and customers must be able to use it without significant prior handling. In other words, Costco employees shouldn’t have to open boxes.

Costco is also applying for HACCP accreditation (health standards), the ability to “pull products in two hours” and “inexpensive formats”, lists Simon-Pierre Murdock.

Canada Sauce was lucky. Last fall, an order for one-liter jars was placed with Egyptian and Chinese suppliers. This new format was to be launched at IGA. “It was very complicated, very complex. There are no providers in North America. Large quantities had to be purchased. The delivery time was six months”, says Simon-Pierre Murdock.

Although glass is more expensive than plastic, and although it’s more difficult for consumers to squeeze out the last few milliliters of mustard, Canada Sauce sticks to its packaging. “Like Mason jars, we bottle them hot, to sterilize. Our product will be kept for two years at room temperature, without preservatives, colorants or texturizers. If the bottle weren’t made of glass, that wouldn’t be possible. »


Canada Sauce would like to introduce its ketchup and sauce to Costco one day.

The 35-employee SME would one day like to introduce its ketchup and taste Costco. It must first pass the mustard test. “We are starting with 10 stores and will expand if the product is as successful as expected,” Costco Canada spokesman Martin Groleau told me. The retailer, he says, is open to making room for local produce “when it makes sense.”

Canada Sauce will have the opportunity to capitalize on growing consumer interest in Costco. In fact, the membership card renewal rate has never been higher, at 92.3% in Canada. In its last quarter, the company with 830 stores achieved sales of 68 billion. In Canada, their revenue increased by 15%.

Heinz and French were once little too.

#Chicoutimi #Mustard #Costco #Rescue

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