It looks like the heat in the kitchen was just too much for Loblaws to handle as the Canadian grocery chain announced on Tuesday that it reversed its decision to drop French’s ketchup from its shelves.
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“We’ve heard our Loblaws customers,” the CBC quoted Kevin Groh, vice president of corporate affairs and communication as saying.
“We will re-stock French’s ketchup and hope that the enthusiasm we are seeing in the media and on social media translates into sales of the product.”
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There’s a ketchup war brewing in Canada and it’s starting to get messy. One of the country’s largest grocery chains – Loblaws – is no longer carrying French’s ketchup – a condiment made with homegrown tomatoes, according to the CBC.
Ketchup is a touchy subject in Canada ever since H.J. Heinz Co. closed its Ontario plant in 2014. The closure resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs in the community and brought an abrupt end to the use of Leamington, Ontario grown tomatoes in Heinz Ketchup.
There’s no question that Heinz is the dominant player in Canada’s ketchup market, but French’s hoped to eat into Heinz’s market share by offing a product that featured tomatoes grown in Leamington.
But a Loblaws official told the CBC that “Demand for the product has been consistently low.”
Some suggest Heinz put the squeeze on French’s by purchasing coveted shelf space, but that’s just speculation at this point.
Loblaws says the chain decided to no longer offer French’s ketchup as part of their regular inventory because of low demand.
“It is not our place to understand why [Loblaws] made this decision, but to say we are disappointed would be a huge understatement,” French’s president Elliott Penner said in a written statement to the CBC.
Loblaws told the CBC that it has a 34.1 per cent market share among Canadian food retailers.
Ketchup becomes a political hot potato in Canada
Last month, Ontario opposition politician Taras Natyshak launched a petition demanding the Speaker of Legislative Assembly of Ontario direct Dana Hospitality to exclusively serve Leamington French’s Ketchup.
Fans of French’s ketchup vent on social media
— Paul Miron (@Rebus330) March 15, 2016
— John MacNab (@jpmacnab) March 15, 2016
— Peggy Blair (@peggy_blair) March 15, 2016
— Krysta B (@KrystaliaB) March 15, 2016
@LoblawsON no French's ketchup? my family food budget is $400/wk. I will be spending it elsewhere. Shame on you Loblaw!
— BridgetL22 (@BridgetL22) March 15, 2016