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Vintage Toronto Ads: One of the Great Reasons for Living in Toronto…

2008_06_10ziggys.jpg
…unless you’re a vegetarian.
Ziggys Fantastic Foods was a chain of gourmet deli/specialty food shops around the GTA, located in stand-alone locations and within Loblaws stores as part of the grocer’s revitalization attempt in the mid-1970s. Their prices were considered high—when complaints of price jumps of up to 89% after the conversion of Loblaws’ Yonge and Yorkville store to Ziggys made the front page of The Toronto Star in November 1975, Loblaws president William Sherman replied that gourmet products and service cost more, and that “people who don’t want to pay Ziggys prices shop at the supermarket.”
By 1978 Loblaws had moved in the opposite price direction, opening its first No Frills store at Victoria Park and St. Clair in July. That fall, company president Dave Nichol announced that Loblaws stores would soon offer a European-style bacon from the Ziggys plant under their new No Name brand, for which customers could pay a special low price (99 cents/pound) as long as they sliced it themselves in-store (statistics are unavailable as to how many fingers were lost during that experiment). The year ended with the opening of a Ziggys in the St. Clair Centre. This would be the last stand-alone location, with the name eventually changing to today’s St. Clair Market.


The orange-and-black Ziggys banner faded away, though the name still adorns the deli section of some Loblaws stores and the brand endures on prepackaged lunch meat and salads.
As for the fine print in today’s ad, it should be read with the smooth tone of a radio announcer. Note the obsession with cereal and fillers.

Ziggys hot dog hasn’t got what it takes to make a common hot dog—like cereal or other fillers (up to 40% in some brands). It’s what Ziggy leaves out that makes his processed meats special.
Some manufacturers get their product down to competitive price by adding more water and cereal, so that the finished product approximates a bland, watery pulp.
Millions have been made selling the hot dog with cereal and other fillers added, but Ziggy (not clever enough to grasp the profit opportunity) clings to the naive idea that a hot dog should contain pure, fresh beef, pork and seasoning.
Ziggy takes the same attitude with his Processed Sliced Meats – all made in his own plant under careful supervision, and to his infuriatingly high standards.
Not one ounce of filler gets into these products, only pure, fresh beef, pork and seasonings (they’re all made to Ziggy’s Old World recipes).
And then there’s Ziggys Bacon – you’ll notice the difference – it starts with the basic pig, and Ziggy selects only the best, known for his (or her) lean flanks.
His Blackforest Ham is notable because it is produced by long, careful curing and smoking, that gives it the unique flavour – a gastronomic sensation beyond expectation.
The Mini-Deli line of sausage chubs offers sliceables in a variety of Continental flavours and even the common Lyoner (Bologna) and Picnic Pork Shoulder reach new heights.
Canada probably could use another cheap, water-cereal line of meat; but Ziggy, consistent as ever, went against the trend and made the best. People are discovering just how much better his processed meats are, and he’s been forced to enlarge his plant to meet demand.
So, in case you haven’t tried them, discover what Ziggys “Less is more” philosophy has done for processed meat. But how does he keep them competitively priced?

We’d love to hear Galen Weston talk about processed meat the way he waxes about reusable bags and naan.
Source: Toronto Life, January 1978. Additional material from the November 7, 1975 and September 18, 1978 editions of The Toronto Star.

Comments

  • h

    Mmmm bland, watery pulp . . .

  • xtremesniper

    h, this article is about Ziggy’s, not Tim Hortons.

  • Adam Sobolak

    Incredibly, the Vic Park + St. Clair No Frills is still in operation, AFAIK in the same premises…

  • lunarworks

    I vaguely remember Ziggy’s. They lasted into the mid-’80s, didn’t they?

  • Nadia

    They weren’t confined to the GTA, though — I remember Ziggy’s in Ottawa, and possibly the Ottawa Valley, early to mid-80s. The ones we went to were in Loblaws, not stand-alones. I think there are still Ziggy’s plastic takeaway tubs lurking in my mom’s garage or basement, being used to store hardware & whatnot.

  • Taylor Roberts

    Ziggy’s also has a concession every August at the CNE. I have a night pic from 2006 with Ziggy’s in the background and Tiny Tom Donuts in the foreground.