Overwaitea Food Group: one to watch in Canada

Date : 11 April 2016

As the Overwaitea Food Group expands beyond British Columbia and Alberta for the first time, we look at what makes this retailer one to watch in Canada.

1. Private ownership enables long-term planning

The Overwaitea Foods Group is wholly owned by the Pattison Group, one of the largest private companies in Canada. This not only provides the retailer with access to significant resources, but also shields it from the requirement to report its quarterly performance, enabling it to take a longer-term view to sales and profit growth. This ability is important as it expands beyond its heartland into areas where its brand may be less familiar and where it could take longer for its new stores to reach their average run rate. The retailer recently opened the first of up to 40 potential stores that it will develop in Saskatchewan and Manitoba over the next three to five years as it heads towards 200 stores in total.

2. Consolidating banners to expand reach of programs

The retailer is currently in the process of consolidating its banners under the Save-On-Foods banner and store format. Over the last two years a number of Price Smart and Cooper’s Foods stores have been converted. This has enabled the retailer to extend the reach of a number of its programs across a wider group of stores, including ‘Darrell’s Deals’ and ‘Talk About Fresh Solutions’, while also enabling it to leverage scale efficiencies, particularly in marketing.

3. Establishing ecommerce leadership 

The retailer was one of the first in Canda to launch both home delivery and click and collect options for online groceries. This has enabled the retailer to develop a leadership position in the channel in Western Canada. The service continues to be extended to additional Save-On-Foods locations, and is currently available in Vancouver, Victoria and the Fraser Valley.

4. Innovating to meet the needs of ethnic shoppers

With the ethnic market offering retailers in Canada a significant growth opportunity, the Overwaitea Food Group has also been innovating in this area. The retailer has developed two dedicated formats in this area. In addition to its core range of western foods, ‘Save-On-Foods International’ offers a range of world foods from Asia and Europe – just under half of store space is dedicated to these ranges. The retailer has also launched its first full Asian supermarket concept under the ‘PriceSmart Foods’ banner which features a hot Chinese food buffet, dim sum, barbecued meats, and sushi, along with authentic grocery items sourced directly from Asia.

5. Developing foodservice capability

One of the most recent additions to the Save-On-Foods format is the Save-On-Foods Kitchen. This offers a broad range of prepared foods and made-to-order options including pizzas, sushi, gourmet sandwiches, hot buffet bar and smoked meats. This is an area which retailers globally are investing in as the line between retail and foodservice continues to blur, and provides a further point of difference in the Save-On-Foods proposition.

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The Canadian grocery sector continues to see a high level of format innovation, across both supermarket and discount formats. Contact Stewart at [email protected] to see how we can develop a Canadian study trip to support your format, category or innovation strategy.