Food blogger associations across Canada have been pushing back against federal regulations that will make it harder for them to compete.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s creating a new set of standards to allow food blogs to compete for a share of the $2.4 billion it’s paying to acquire the sites.
But the CFOA says it wants the new standards to be used for small businesses and consumers that can’t afford the costs of an independent company.
The rules are designed to make it easier for smaller food blogs like those that have been around for more than 20 years to keep up with the fast-growing food-sharing economy.
“If the new rules are too stringent, the small business owners that they’re trying to protect will have a difficult time in the marketplace,” said Dan Boudreau, director of policy and communications at the Canadian Association of Food Bloggers.
Boudreau says the changes would limit small business sites to the same level of content that a large restaurant has to publish, and make it tougher for them, too, to reach a wider audience.
“The more content that is required, the more people will want to sign up,” he said.
“And that’s where it really becomes problematic because you can’t compete with the big players in the market.”
Boudier says the new regulations are a good start, but that they don’t go far enough.
“I think we need to look at it more like an incentive program,” he explained.
“Where you give up certain things like an exclusive product to a small blogger who’s working in an area where there are some constraints.”
He says the CFAI is encouraging food bloggers to come to its website and discuss the new requirements with its team.
But, he said, “the rules are going to have to be enforced.”
A recent report by food bloggers Association of Canadian Food Blogs suggests that the rules will create an incentive for many food bloggers, who don’t have the financial means to get independent food blogs up and running.
“Food blogs will not be able to survive without the CFSB support.
And this will put a limit on the number of blogs that are going be able and able to compete and to grow and to thrive,” the report states.”
So it’s going to be really tough for the food bloggers and it’s really going to affect them.”
The food blogging industry has been a strong contributor to the Canadian economy for decades.
The average Canadian food blog has nearly 1.2 million monthly readers, and they spend $1.4 million a year on advertising, according to the CFFB.