Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 35 of 43

34 FEATURE AS AN ESSENTIAL industry, the food and beverage manufacturing sector continued to operate throughout the pandemic crisis while other industries scaled back production amid reduced demand. However, supply chain disruption, health and safety restrictions, and changing consumer habits meant that manufacturers in the food and beverage industry had to pivot in many areas to meet a surge in demand. "Like a lot of suppliers, we faced a surge in demand for a number of our products, which has put significant strain on all areas of our supply chain from warehousing, to getting cases out, to procuring the product," says George Ellinidis, vice president and general counsel, Canada and International, at Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. — a wholly-owned subsidiary of The J.M. Smucker Co. The company, which owns many well- known fruit spreads and brands including Folgers coffee, Robin Hood flour and Bick's pickles and condiments, adapted by sourcing raw materials and packaging from alternative suppliers. The company also leveraged long-term relationships with existing suppliers. For example, Smucker had to source cucum- bers for Bick's pickles from different contract packers. The team also had to track down An unprecedented supply chain disruption forces food and beverage manufacturers to pivot alternative materials to make the packaging for its Robin Hood flour amid a rush in demand for baking products early in the pandemic. The legal department works closely with the supply chain and contract manufacturing team at Smucker, led by Todd Campbell, vice president of supply chain and operations, to support and assist with contract negotia- tions and the drafting of trademarks related to new packaging. "What I think the pandemic has taught us is that moving forward, we need to be ready to pivot in areas we may not have predicted, and we can't simply rely on a playbook of opera- tional items and practices that we've used in the past because we just don't know how we're going to have to adapt in the future, depending on the situation that arises," says Ellinidis. At Maple Leaf Foods Inc., rigorous planning and implementation of evolving General counsel at Maple Leaf Foods, Smucker Foods and Coca-Cola Canada Bottling share strategies for supporting business growth in a time of historic uncertainty safety protocols meant that food continued to be delivered to shelves to meet demand. At the same time, the company also continued its long-standing focus on offering sustainable packaging and reducing its environmental footprint. "We had to work very collaboratively with our suppliers to make sure the full flow of food from farm to fork continued, so it was all-hands-on-deck from logistics teams and operations teams, supply chain teams and customer sales teams," says Suzanne Hathaway, senior vice president, general counsel at Maple Leaf Foods. Maple Leaf invested around $58 million in COVID-related expenses in 2020, which covered everything from putting additional infrastructure into facilities to keep people safe, to donations and contributing to security in communities. "We had to work very collaboratively with our suppliers to make sure the full flow of food from farm to fork continued." Suzanne Hathaway, Maple Leaf Foods

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