Food Links: The ‘it’ yogurt making a splash in Ontario grocery stores

By Sarah Dziedzic - Published on June 27, 2016
a bowl of plain yogurt
Icelandic skyr is gaining popularity as the yogurt of choice for Ontario consumers.

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Every week, TVO.org talks Food Chain. Snack on these policy, nutrition, and food safety nuggets from around the province and beyond

Icelandic yogurt is the new “it” bacterial culture

Ontario grocery stores are setting aside shelf space due to a demand for the traditional Icelandic yogurt skyr (pronounced “skeer”) reports The Star. The high-protein and low-fat dairy product could knock out Greek yogurt’s food fad monopoly if interest in all things Icelandic continues. According to the article, international appetite for skyr “threatened the tiny nation’s dairy supply in 2015.” In Ontario, companies such as Shepherd Gourmet Dairy and Loblaws are making and selling skyr. The Shepherd Gourmet Dairy farm, based in St. Marys, Ont., has been cultivating the Nordic culture since 2014.

Sault Ste. Marie seniors increasingly reliant on food banks

According to a Hunger Report released in 2015, the Ontario Association of Food Banks found seniors to be a fast growing demographic reliant on food bank services. The James Street Soup Kitchen and Community Centre based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., conducted a survey and discovered that 50 per cent of people who use their services are “over the age of 50 years, going all the way up to 71 years of age and older,” reports SaultOnline. Seniors frequent food banks due to food insecurity which includes problems with food availability, affordability and accessibility, the story says.

Nunavut still facing high food prices

According to a report by the CBC, Nunavut Bureau of Statistics’ latest food cost survey indicates prices in Iqaluit and other communities are still up to three times more expensive than elsewhere in Canada. A 1-kilogram bag of flour is on average $13.70 in Nunavut compared to five dollars throughout the rest of the country. Basic hygiene products cost at least double the average Canadian price as determined by Statistics Canada for the Consumer Price Index. Amid rising produce prices, Canada’s North will likely continue to be hit the hardest.

Perdue Foods policy promises to protect chicken welfare

America’s fourth largest poultry producer, Perdue Farms Inc., announced a new animal welfare policy in order to raise industry standards and improve the lives of its nearly 700 bird brood. According to an article in The New York Times, overhauling these farms will mean installing windows to bring natural light into poultry houses, increasing space and adding perches for birds’ enjoyment and “putting chickens to sleep before slaughter.” Other poultry producers such as king of the coop, Tyson Foods Inc., are likely feeling the pressure to follow Perdue’s lead.

Ontario grocery stores side with cider

Ontario’s first grocery stores allowed to sell beer can now add cider to their inventory reports the Canadian Grocer. The province is in the midst of a craft beer and cider production boom – according to the article, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) “reported sales of locally produced craft cider increased 54 [per cent] last year to $5.1 million, while sales of Ontario craft beer rose 35 [per cent] to $69 million.” 

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