Well before noon Friday the line
outside the white tent stretched down Bay Street in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. Inside the tent, people enjoyed a free lunch of baby kale salad, grilled asparagus, chicken satay and prime rib burger. There was Rocky Road and Skyr ice cream bars for dessert.
It was all served up by Loblaw for its 2nd Eat Together Day, part of a larger marketing campaign for its President’s Choice line that encourages people to share meals together.
When the #EatTogether campaign launched in late 2016, the emphasis was on the benefits of eating with friends and family. This year, Loblaw put the focus on sharing meals (and in particular, lunch) with co-workers—thus the picnic in the epicentre of Canada’s proverbial rat race.
“A lot of you, if you didn’t come here today, you might have been eating by yourself somewhere, maybe in your office,” said Sarah Davis, president of Loblaw Companies Ltd., who stopped by and enjoyed her lunch with Garry Senecal, Loblaw’s chief customer officer. As Canada’s largest food company, Loblaw stores and vendors across the country are encouraging people to eat together, she explained.
As cause marketing efforts go, #EatTogether certainly fits well with the PC brand, tapping into the idea that food is elemental to the human experience, and enjoying food with others raises up that experience.
Loblaw backed up efforts for Eat Together Day with research from the U.K. that shows eating alone is more strongly associated with unhappiness than any other factor except mental illness. Loblaw conducted its own research about workplace eating habits and found 43% of respondents eat alone at work every day, though 74% believe eating with others improves workplace relationships and 57% said eating with colleagues makes them feel happier.
Loblaw organized hundreds of similar BBQ lunches nationally across most of its banners Friday, promoting the day with a special #EatTogether website which included this welcome message: “It’s at the table where we can turn a house into a home, a stranger into a friend, and a village into a community. But more than anything, eating together simply connects us. And our world can use a little more connection right now.”
The site included seven short videos of people talking about important relationships and shared food moments, a map of Eat Together events across the country, and a number of PC recipes meant to “inspire” people for their own #EatTogether event.
This year’s focus on the workplace picked up steam early this year with a video that received more than 2.5 million views. That video juxtaposed the joys of shared meals with loved ones against the bleak solitude of a sandwich in front of computer in an office.