Grocery giant Loblaws is facing some backlash after deciding to keep French’s ketchup product, made with tomatoes grown in Leamington, off store shelves.
The ketchup market has been long dominated by Heinz which sold it’s 105-year-old tomato processing plant to Highbury Canco in 2014, leading to hundreds of job losses in Leamington.
That’s the same year Loblaws began selling French’s ketchup, but claims the low demand for the product prompted the decision to stop stocking it.
Highbury Canco still manufactures some Heinz products including tomato juice and beans, but not ketchup.
Loblaws, which claims to have a 34.1 per cent market share among Canadian food retailers, began facing increased demand for the French’s ketchup earlier this year following a viral social media post.
Brian Fernandez from Orillia posted a photo of the French’s product, with a caption that explained why he takes pride in buying the ketchup made with Leamington tomatoes over Heinz’s American-made ketchup. It’s been shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook.
Some reports suggest French’s could have been muscled out of Loblaws by other companies that buy up all the available shelf space.
Analysts believe French’s, most famous for its mustard, should seize the opportunity to market itself as a Canadian product.
Loblaws was also quick to point out that it produces ketchup in Canada as well.