Black Friday was not always about retail - SKUFood
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Black Friday was not always about retail

We would really like to share photos from coast to coast of holiday merchandising. When (not if) you are in the stores it would be awesome if you shared some photos of your products or just great holiday merchandising. The purpose of our SKUFood newsletter is to share information so we what better thing than to show people across the country what is happening. You can send your photos to or

Please let us know where the photo is and we will share them between now and the end of the year.

There are many industry terms people ask about. This year we are taking a different term each week to define and share some applications.

Black Friday is the Friday directly following the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Usually this is the last weekend in November. The term is now associated with the start of the holiday shopping period in the U.S. and it has spilled over into Canada.

Black Friday sales started with deep discounts on selected items from general merchandise retailers. The images of consumers waiting in line for hours to buy deeply discounted electronics or household goods are famous. The event is not the huge discount event that is used to be as so many retailers have jumped onto the Black Friday train. Many use it now as a theme to highlight sales but not the really aggressive discounts some retailers used to offer to drive traffic.

Black Friday was not always about retail

Did you ever wonder where the term Black Friday comes from?

I thought I knew the answer, but it turns out I only knew part of the answer. After doing some research on I can fill you in.

The first time the term was used was in 1869, when two Wall St. financiers tried to buy up all of the gold reserves. Their plan was to drive the price up and get rich. Unfortunately, the result was a stock market crash which bankrupted many business people and farmers.

The second iteration of Black Friday originates in Philadelphia. Police in this city used the term to describe the Friday of American Thanksgiving when there were many holiday shoppers and fans attending the annual Army-Navy football game in the city. The combination of the two was enough to cause traffic jams and prevent any police from getting the day off.

Finally, the definition I was familiar with started in the 80’s. General merchandise retailers were running deep discount ads and stated it was the time in the year when their bottom line finally went from red to black. The busy holiday shopping on the long weekend would put them into a profitable situation.

In recent years, we have seen the explosion of Cyber Monday where the deep discounts have been offered online. With so much more being purchased online since the pandemic it will be interesting to see which food retailers participate. Online shopping for food increased exponentially in 2020. Consumers were staying away from stores and, and really trying to find options to stay home and shop. Online shopping has increased rapidly. Before the pandemic started, food purchased online in Canada was probably 2% to 3% and maybe a little higher in densely populated urban markets. Now that number is somewhere between 12 and 15%.

Is Black Friday right for your products?

The level of discounting has not been as aggressive and Black Friday has really evolved into a theme ad. If you want to participate next year talk to your customers at least 6 months in advance. You can also plan promotions like in-store specials or loyalty program offers for the second half of November. Consumers have been trained this is a good time to shop and look for deals. In other words they are in the mood to spend money.

It will be interesting to review the performance of 2022 Black Friday when retail sales are reported. With inflation and other challenges for consumers they might be spending less, even if the deals are great.

If you have any questions about promotions like Black Friday, you can always send me an email or call me at (902) 489-2900.


Same bottle. Less plastic.

Businesses and brands are getting more and more pressure from consumers about what they are doing to become more sustainable. Coke released their sustainability action updates and talks about the changes they've made as a journey which indicates that they have more to do. This will resonate with more sustainability conscious consumers.

It is no coincidence this was released while the Climate Change Conference was happening in Egypt.

What to expect in 2023

Yelp, a platform primarily known as a review platform has released their top 10 food trends for 2023 utilizing popular search data to determine the up and coming trends.

A trend found frequently in 2022 but expected to continue the upward climb is in the non alcoholic beverage market. Searchs for mocktails on yelp were up 59%.

Where is Peter Speaking?

Learnsphere Supply chain 123 Nov. 29th

Alberta/Manitoba Getting off the Shelf: Consumer Marketing

N.B. Dairy producers Nov. 30th

Fredericton, N.B. Retailer’s and consumer perceptions of dairy

Learnsphere Supply chain 123 Nov 30th

Alberta Getting off the Shelf: Consumer Marketing

Learnsphere/Alberta Food Processors Assoc Dec 6th

Calgary, Alberta Pitching your products

Learnsphere/Alberta Food Processors Assoc Dec 7th

Edmonton, Alberta Pitching your products

Alberta Agriculture Jan 26th

Getting Alberta products on the shelf

Alberta Agriculture Feb 9th

Getting Alberta products in the shopping cart

Learnsphere Feb 16th

Perfect your pitch

I am excited to join the Alberta Food and Bio Processing Branch for a webinar in February. The retail market continues to evolve as consumers and customers are changing, as well as the impact from the recent pandemic on this market channel. We will provide an overview of what is happening in food and beverage with a focus on Alberta products and how to price products and the promotion plan required to get on the shelf. We will break down some of the costs and your return on investment including: category based pricing, setting your price and getting your price; your trade spend investing with retailers and your marketing spend connecting with consumers. You will hear about growing your baseline and take away a glossary of terms and a tool to help build your promotion plan.