IGA and Ricardo are starting home ec classes for grown-ups

The grocer is leveraging the media platform to address an emerging deficit in basic food management skills.

High school home economics classes haven’t been in Canadian curricula for some time, but IGA says there’s still a lot to learn by reimaging them.

A new campaign promoting the classes uses the 3D-animated characters that have become a hallmark of IGA’s advertising, first in retro videos showing students making meatloaf and sewing in class. It then jumps to the present day, introducing chef and media personality Ricardo Larrivée as a teacher, who will give lessons geared towards helping families save time, money and energy in the kitchen. It also introduces a mom and Montreal-area IGA proprietor, Emily Desmarais, who will show how those lessons can be applied when shopping in-store.

The brainchild of Sid Lee and working with Carat on media, the IGA’s Home Economics classes will appear this fall on TV, in Ricardo magazine on a new IGA Home Economics microsite, on digital and social media and on all of the banner’s proprietary channel.

The aim of the content platform is to go beyond simply offering recipes and kitchen tips, and to address what it sees as a deficit in basic food management. The lessons will not only help Quebecers plan meals, but do so in a way that touches on other household concerns, like budgets and scheduling.

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According to Carl Pichette, VP of marketing at Sobeys, the move is based on its insights that time strapped, budget conscious families are eager to find value-added solutions for packing lunches, snacks, and dealing with food sensitivities and picking eating.

“We want to offer them a platform with all our best advice that also explains how IGA’s tools and programs can help,” Pichette says. These are highlighted in the spot with thought bubble program banners dropped from the ceiling, including Sobeys’ Compliments private label, in which the brand made its largest ever investment last fall, but also the IGA app Tada!, which also offers a meal planner functionality linking to the grocer’s flyers, aimed at budget shoppers, delivery service IGA Online, Air Miles, and Prix Club.  

According to Julie Desrochers, a CD at Sid Lee, many of today’s parents had home economics courses when they were teens. “It seemed like a good idea to bring them back now, when they really need those skills,” she adds, “a chance to get a bit nostalgic, but also to switch gears and go from selling to helping by dedicating our media space to educational content.”

IGA acquired a majority stake in Ricardo Media over the summer. While this is the first major content platform in which the grocer has integrated the Ricardo media platform, it has already revamped the look of Ricardo private label meal products.


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