Canada's Metro launches À votre santé avec Metro healthy eating program in its Metro, Metro Plus stores in Quebec, Ontario; program focuses on improving, expanding healthful product offerings, helping customers choose healthier food products

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Oct 16, 2013 – CNW Group Ltd.

MONTREAL , October 16, 2013 (press release) – Because a healthy diet, wellness and eating pleasure are at the heart of its customers' priorities, today Metro launches its À votre santé avec Metro healthy eating program. This program, implemented as of October 17 in all Metro and Metro Plus stores in Quebec and in Ontario, will contribute to simplifying the life of customers who want to make healthier food choices.

The À votre santé avec Metro program rests on four commitments: improving our product offerings that encourage healthy eating and providing customers with even more choices; helping customers choose healthier food products; making it easier to access affordable and healthy products; promoting healthy eating within the community.

For Metro, eating well is all about three axes of action:

1- Cooking fresh and relatively unprocessed ingredients while including as many fruits and vegetables as possible on your plate.
2- Making better choices when selecting products in the grocery aisles.
3- Enjoying healthy eating, without compromising taste, with our tips and recipes.

Fresh and unprocessed products, such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, are all considered to be good choices. At the very heart of Metro's health strategy, the produce department is showcased with a campaign entitled "Our fruits and veggies bring out a smile". Knowing that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and that it's not always easy to eat more of them, Metro has developed a lighthearted and fun way to discover or rediscover products according to the seasons. Tips and helpful hints will be featured in the flyer every week, where they will occupy much more space, as well as in-store, in order to showcase them and entice customers to cook them in a healthy way.

With 48% of Metro's customers referring to the nutrition facts table, today the company is launching a system of smiles that identify "good choices" and "great choices" in the various grocery categories. It's an initiative that enables customers to find the products recommended by nutritionists which set themselves apart with respect to nutrition. The products will be identified by a smile on the price tags - a simple and effective way to avoid confusion. Along with in-store signage, customers will have access to tips and helpful hints including those developed by Linda Montpetit, Metro nutritionist, in-store and on

Metro has also partnered with a chef, Caroline McCann, who will develop nutritious, simple and tasty recipes all year long in order to entice our customers to cook.

Today the smiles are being launched into 4 product groups: breakfast, dairy products, beverages and frozen products. Together, they represent 35 categories and over 5,000 evaluated products. In the spring of 2014, they will be found in every grocery aisle.

"With this type of global approach, we assist consumers who want to make healthier food choices, along with enlightening them as they deal with the mass of information being offered with respect to healthy eating. In short, we want to simplify their life and improve their purchase experience" explains Marc Giroux, Vice-President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Metro Inc. "That way, they will now be able to identify the good and the great product choices with one quick look for each category. We will also use our new digital ecosystem to highlight the good and the great choices for the planning of purchases."

A fun and diligent approach based on specific criteria by product categories

Metro is using experts to assist it with its approach: a team of nutritionists that has developed criteria for selecting products, the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) with whom Metro is partnering, a Scientific Advisory Committee that will monitor the implementation of the program and a chef who will assist consumers on a daily basis by suggesting recipes that involve healthy foods. The MCCHE is a world leader in promoting the development of an innovative and integrated approach to studying world health problems linked to nutrition. It is chaired by Laurette Dubé, PhD, who also chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of Canadian experts in the fields of nutrition and health and will support Metro in developing and implementing its program.

The approach chosen to select "good choices" and "great choices" products is different than any other currently being used in Canada because it rests on thorough nutritional criteria that are specific to each product category. This specificity by category is important because each food product has its own benefits. "In setting selection criteria, we considered the amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals; of fats, trans fats and sodium; as well as the presence of hydrogenated oil, artificial trans fats, shortening and sugar substitutes", explained Linda Montpetit, Metro nutritionist and member of the Advisory Committee. "Along with the nutritional value analysis, we have also reviewed the list of ingredients chosen. As a result, just because a certain bread has a high fiber content does not mean that it will be a great choice; its main ingredient must be a whole wheat flour, therefore less refined." Details of the criteria are available on Metro's website, thus ensuring complete transparency with respect to the methodology of product selection.

The progress and the impact of the program will be measured and monitored by the Metro teams and by the Scientific Advisory Committee.

À votre santé avec Metro is part of Metro's Corporate Responsibility approach which began in 2010, under the Delighted Customers and Strengthened Communities pillars. The new initiatives related to the À votre santé avec Metro program will be added to those already underway, such as the Metro Green Apple School Program and the development of the Irresistibles Life Smart product line.

With annual sales of over $11 billion, METRO INC. (TSX: MRU), founded in 1947, is the only major Canadian food distribution company to have its head office in Quebec. Along with its affiliates and franchisees, METRO INC. employs in Quebec and Ontario over 65,000 people, whose mission is to satisfy their customers every day and earn their-long term loyalty. METRO INC. operates a network of almost 600 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as over 250 drugstores under the Brunet, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.

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