Hain Celestial Canada

Promoting a Healthier Canada

Hain Celestial Canada has become one of the nation’s industry-leading enterprises focusing on natural and organic foods and personal care products. Its corporate mission: to be at the forefront of trendsetting marketing, manufacturing and selling of organic and natural products. To achieve this, HCC is able to anticipate and exceed consumer expectations in providing quality, innovation, value and convenience. Bestowing consumers with everyday solutions that encourage A Healthy Way of Life™ is of vital importance to the company.

The head office of HCC opened in 2005 in Toronto, led by President Beena Goldenberg. Parent company Hain Celestial Group is based out of Melville, NY and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ. The Chairman and CEO is Irwin Simon who oversees global operations. HCC is a fully-owned subsidiary of The Celestial Group, which has more than 3,000 employees.

In 2001, The Hain Celestial Group acquired Yves Veggie Cuisine, establishing a commercial entity here in the Canadian market. With the acquisition came a facility in Vancouver which comprises manufacturing capabilities for fresh and frozen meat alternative products.

“With respect to Canada it was the Yves acquisition in 2001 that changed us” says Goldenberg. “Hain Celestial Canada then began to handle the selling and marketing of other Hain brands as well as the Yves brand. It certainly helped establish a business footprint within Canada and then allowed us to grow substantially from there.”

Sales have been tremendous for Hain Celestial Group and Hain Celestial Canada since the latter formally came into existence in 2001.

“The Canadian business has grown considerably,” Goldenberg confirms. “We’re a highly acquisitive company so we not only grow through organic growth of existing brands but acquire other brands that fit within our portfolio; brands that fit within natural and organic and promote A Healthy Way of Life™. I think it follows a trend of consumers wanting to eat healthier.”

People are more aware that the food they put into their bodies has an impact on how they feel. Hain Celestial Canada is also widening the scope of its operations through increased distribution.

“It used to be you could find us in the natural food stores and now you’re starting to see us in much wider mainstream distribution where more people can find our products.”

HCC manages 19 brands in 28 categories with more than 700 SKUs with the top brands being:

Europe’s Best, acquired in Oct. 2011, which is the company’s largest brand, with 24 different frozen fruit and vegetable SKUs.

Yves Veggie Cuisine, a line of soy-based meat alternative products found in the produce and frozen aisles. Yves is the only brand self manufactured in Canada.

Dream, which are shelf stable and refrigerated non dairy beverages and frozen non-dairy desserts. Varieties include Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond & Coconut.

Celestial Seasonings teas are sourced out of the Celestial Seasoning facility in Boulder, Colorado.

Personal care currently accounts for a smaller percentage of HCC’s annual revenue base and, despite the trend of lagging behind natural and organic foods, it’s a sector Goldenberg believes has a tremendous potential for future growth.

“Within Canada we’ve worked on getting the right lineup of products up here and I think there’s opportunity for growth in the future as people start to understand what’s in the mainstream health and beauty products and recognize they want cleaner labels.”

2012 Product Releases

Core to its growth strategy, HCC has been focused on the launch of healthy new products into the Canadian consumer marketplace.

“We do a lot of innovation all the time,” adds Heather McTavish Taylor, VP Marketing, Research & Development. “That’s one of the things that keeps us growing – trying to identify what the up and coming needs are of the consumers with respect to health and wellness. We have a number of products that we’ve launched in the past four months.” “First to market in July was the introduction of a new grain in Canada – Casbah Freekeh™, which is high in fibre and contains 7 grams of protein per serving – a real ‘super grain’.

“It’s cooked very similarly to a couscous or rice but it is actually very high in fibre and it’s got 7 grams of protein per serving, which is very high compared to other grains,” McTavish Taylor continues. “It’s been dubbed a ‘super grain’ and has been highlighted by Dr. Oz and even Oprah talking about the benefits of this product. We brought that out in July alongside a Casbah Ancient Grains product. We believe this follows growth behind Quinoa, which was the last super-grain that came out and has been gaining in popularity.”

Earth’s Best® Organic Infant Formula – comprised of milk and soy based formulas for mom and baby launched in August 2012.

“We know that many women decide to make the change to organic foods when they have their first baby,” notes McTavish Taylor. “We have organic jarred baby food that we’ve been selling for many years and now, with formula, it gives mothers more organic options.”

Additionally, in August there was the re-launch of Yves Veggie Cuisine® deli slices (ham, turkey, salami) using GMO free soy and the launch of Garden of Eatin’® Gluten free Sweet Potato Tortilla chips in September 2012, which are gluten free and aligned with the non-GMO project.

Most recently, the launch of GG Unique Fibre™ Scandinavian Crispbread – a high source of fibre cracker – in October 2012

“The newer, healthier products really show what we’re about, which is on trend innovation,” Goldenberg states.

Corporate Social Responsibility

As part of its CSR program, Hain Celestial Canada was looking for programs involved in educating people and helping them understand the universal power of food; its power to inspire, nurture, build health, fulfill social and cultural needs and its ability to bring people in families, communities and other groups together. The company wanted to be engaged in the community in a way that built capacity, provided education and had a tangible impact.

“We kicked off a partnership with community kitchens this past year that we’ve called The Power of Sharing, and we’re very excited about it,” Goldenberg enthuses. “We have two key partners. In Toronto we partner with Foodshare, and their commitment is good healthy food for all, which we thought was a good linkage to ours, which is all about providing A Healthy Way of Life™. In Vancouver we have partnered with Fresh Choice Kitchens. Both these partners are about promoting education and helping people understand the universal power of food that it not only helps nurture health, there’s a cultural need that it links people together socially and it’s all about community. We want to give back to the communities that we’re part of but in a way that fits with who we are. We got into these partnerships this past spring and continue to volunteer with these organizations and to support the community kitchen work.”

Strategic Partnerships

A meaningful partnership for Hain Celestial Canada developed in the spring of 2012 when Rogers Media first started having conversations with the HCC marketing team. HCC was looking for a strategic media partner that understood their business, motivation and complexity of promoting multiple brands under an umbrella theme… A Healthy Way of Life™. What transpired over the next six months was an intensive series of meetings and discussions that ultimately led to a multi-platform integrated and sponsorship campaign spanning 37 weeks, anchored in Cityline, Chatelaine and digitally, on the Health & Food channel representing some 40 unique sites.

This all-encompassing partnership included creative consultation and complete production across all platforms: broadcast, print and digital. Additional elements included Cityline in-show content integration, 37-week sponsorship of Cityline Family Day Wednesdays with brand sell and billboards, bi-monthly customized ad insertions in Chatelaine and an impressive co-branded microsite for 37 weeks with supporting media. Complete turnkey program management was also supplied supporting seven unique Hain Celestial brand flights over the nine-month campaign.

“It is one of the most complex and comprehensive integrated partnerships we have ever sold and we are proud to help grow their business,” says Rob Groen, Director, Marketing Solutions, Conventional Television, Rogers Media Television.

Nutrition Facts Education Initiative

Food manufacturers in Canada teamed up with Health Canada as an industry initiative to promote an education program to help consumers understand how to read the nutrition facts table on the labels and what they mean so they can make more meaningful choices when they’re at the grocery store.

“The per cent daily value logo is more of a comparator between products. We’re not making statements that something’s good or something’s bad. There might be people out there who want products with more calories or less sodium. We’re not going to make those judgments. What we’re doing is providing them the per cent daily value to help them understand what our products offer for what they need,” Goldenberg notes.

Hain Celestial Canada is one of 34 leading companies that have committed financial and in-kind contributions to this effort, which is a multi-faceted approach to explain % Daily Value to consumers. This campaign includes on-package, in-store, national media (print, television, online) and an educational website. For Hain, the % Daily Value icon is featured on the Hain-Celestial.ca website and can be found on many packages across their brand portfolio.

Future Goals

The primary goal of HCC is to continue to drive the distribution of products and to increase availability of products within the marketplace. Having fantastic products is part of the equation, but getting them to consumers makes up the other side of the complete plan.

“We know there’s interest,” Goldenberg says. “Our products sell where they are and as more and more people are interested in these categories and eating healthier we just have to become more available. We also need to continue to innovate. Whether it’s a super-grain or super fruit we must continue to make them more available. And our expectation is good double-digit growth for the foreseeable future because we’ve got a lot of runway to go with this.”

With the newer, healthier products there’s one item around gluten free, and there’s one that’s high in fibre and organic for infants and it gives you an idea of where healthier eating is going,” states Goldenberg. “The items that we’ve launched in the last four months really tie into what’s on the top of consumers’ minds in terms of what they’re looking for and we try to be there and provide them with those options.”

“Our portfolio is very clean and consistent,” Goldenberg responds. “There are a lot of companies that have jumped into the natural space but they also have a lineup of products that are filled with artificial colours, flavours or preservatives that can’t stand on a platform that is as clean as ours.”

“We have a broad portfolio range, so we can meet a vast variety of needs as opposed to being just one specific category. We can introduce people who come into our company through one brand and connect them through to many other brands that meet and hold the same principles as the brand they came in with.

We have a consistent platform. We are all about natural and organic products and everything we do is about promoting A Healthy Way of Life™.”