View All Universal & You Newsletters

January 2024

President’s Message

Michael Glionna, President’s New Year Message​
Michael Glionna, President

Happy New Year to all!!

Looking back over the past 3 years, we have all endured a crazy roller coaster ride of extreme lows and extreme highs. We hit the absolute low point in 2020 and 2021 with the global pandemic, which saw businesses shutting down and companies laying off staff, reducing salaries or dropping to a 4-day work week. In 2021 and 2022, the supply chain was severely disrupted, but with soaring freight rates came record high revenues and a hiring flurry in the logistics sector.

Then, mid-2023, we started to experience a severe economic downturn again, with rates dropping and importers reducing their shipping due to excess inventories. This challenging economy has led to many bankruptcies, affecting the trucking industry in particular, and we have seen significant staff layoffs again for a number of our competitor customs brokers and forwarders.

Normally, it would take 15 to 20 years to witness these types of extreme ups and downs. But for all of us, it has been condensed into just 2 or 3 years. For the many individuals who have joined Universal over the past 3 years (and that is over 40 employees with turnover during the pandemic, followed by company growth), you have all experienced this crazy roller coaster ride in your relatively brief time with the company.

You have also witnessed what we hope our longer-standing employees have come to expect over their 10, 15, 25 and even 40-year tenures with Universal, and that is…

  • We are resilient and we persevere through the ups and downs, and we do so by keeping an even keel (never too high and never too low)
  • We avoid laying off any staff or cutting back on salaries or work weeks
  • We continue to invest and grow our company
  • We continue to give back to the community
  • And, most importantly, we always want our employees to enjoy where they work, be engaged in the company and feel like part of the Universal family

Despite the recent economic downturn, I am happy to report that we delivered another successful revenue year in 2023, meeting our budget and adding over 10 new employees to the team.

We invested by acquiring a customs brokerage business, Elliott Custom Brokers, resulting in a very successful expansion of our Canadian customs brokerage operation.

In late 2022 we conducted an employee survey to see how we were doing in regard to your satisfaction with the job, the workplace, the company culture, etc.. Thanks to your feedback, we discovered that we are doing quite well in terms of employee engagement. In fact, over 85% of you said you would recommend Universal as an employer. This was extremely gratifying for us to hear, and we thank you!

But, at the same time, our company wanted to build on this and continue to enhance your level of job satisfaction in 2023:

  • We continued with our Hybrid Working Arrangement (HWA) where employees can work from home 2 days per week, to help improve our work-life balance,
  • Through the great work of our newly formed LEAD team, we brought in the Shift Your Mind program to help enhance our physical and mental health and wellness,
  • We introduced the Summerlicious program delivering a monthly food truck or ice cream truck to supplement our traditional Summer Family Picnic event,
  • And, in December, we held our staff Christmas Party and Christmas Potluck Lunch allowing us to celebrate our success with some fun social time together.

I am very pleased to say that you, our amazing employee team, have responded in kind…

  • You have made our Hybrid Working plan a genuine success. Everyone has fully committed to ensuring there has been no drop-off in customer service levels or in productivity.
  • You courageously jumped into the Shift Your Mind program (almost 40% of our entire group has already attended) and by all accounts, you were fully engaged and are now determined to use the tools you gained from the program as a benefit in your everyday life at work and at home. For those who were not able to join into our first 2 sessions, we are now planning for more Shift Your Mind, starting this February.
  • Even during the throws of an economic downturn, you rallied together to demonstrate tremendous teamwork, creativity and generosity in raising over $36,000 for Hockey Helps the Homeless and for the benefit of those in our community who are less fortunate.
  • And, at our staff Christmas Party, you once again demonstrated your commitment to the company and to being engaged with us. Over 80 employees joined together on December 15th to celebrate the year, the holiday season and our mutual success.

So, whether you have been with us for a few years, or for many, you jumped on this crazy roller coaster ride and you persevered, you contributed and you succeeded as part of our team. Each and every one of you is an important and valuable member of the Universal family.

Now, as we get set for this new year, regardless of what the economic environment sends our way, we can be confident that we will face any challenge head on, and we will come out on top. After all, we have certainly done that over the past 3 years where the highs and lows were as extreme as any of us can remember.

As a reminder, 2024 will be our 75th year in the company’s history. We will be sure to have a big celebration event later this year to commemorate this incredible milestone occasion, something for all of us to look forward to.

On December 6th, I happened to reach a significant milestone birthday myself. On that day, I was asked by Claudia at Head Office if I could share with everyone some words of wisdom that I had gained over so many years. For once I was a bit tongue-tied and could not respond at that particular moment. But, I took some time to think about it, and at our Christmas Party I shared with the group one key piece of wisdom that I have learned… And that is to surround yourself with great people. That is how best to succeed and how best to enjoy your life in general.

I can honestly say that this piece of wisdom has served me and my brothers, Dave, Mark and Paul, extremely well. We have surrounded ourselves with a great team of people here at Universal. That is how, together, we have succeeded and that is why the four of us enjoy coming to work each day. And, by extension, that is why our entire Universal team will be celebrating together an incredible 75-year company history later this year.

On behalf of myself and my brothers, I would like to thank each and every one of you for dedicating another year of hard work and effort towards making our company a continued success story. We are very proud to call you part of our Universal family!

Both personally and professionally, I wish each of you the very best for this New Year!

Michael Glionna, President

Holiday Wrap-Up

Holiday Wrap-Up - Universal Logistics

In order to make sure that everyone was getting a piece of our Christmas cheer, we kicked off our 2023 Christmas celebrations by offering Gingerbread Kits (by Parties Made Simple) to each child of our Universal employees! The Events Committee organized and distributed the kits.

>>> Click here to see some of the creative masterpieces! <<<

On December 11, 2023, the Airport office had a cozy Christmas potluck luncheon featuring some traditional Christmas dishes for some festive flair. With some visitors from Head Office (Michael Glionna, David Glionna, Mark Glionna, Paul Glionna, John Leis, Chris Cartan & David Lychek) joining as well, the Airport office got the party path paved for the coming events.

Universal Logistics Airport Office Potluck
Universal Logistics Airport Office Potluck

This year’s Office Christmas Party saw an exciting new venue – The Grand Luxe! On December 15th, party goers got to mingle and marvel at the new venue at cocktail hour, play party games by Games Masters Alice Yan & Sharon Fong, have a formal sit-down dinner, and dance the night away.

Universal Logistics Christmas Party - Grand Luxe
Universal Logistics Christmas Party - Grand Luxe

Service award presentations by Michael Glionna saw the celebration of two major milestones. Universal’s success is based on the skill, commitment and loyalty of our employees, as such, the Christmas party is the perfect opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate our coworkers!

The Universal employees celebrated were Diane Richer (40 years), and Jon Barnard (25 years). 

Universal Logistics Major Milestone Celebration - Diane Richer
Universal Logistics Major Milestone Celebration - John Barnard

Congratulations again Diane and Jon!

>>> Click here to relive the party! <<<

A few days later, on December 19th, the Events Committee set up the annual Head Office Christmas Potluck luncheon. The multi-cultural feast featured contributions from everyone, and no one left unsatisfied (or with the same waistline).

Universal Logistics Head Office Potluck
Universal Logistics Head Office Potluck
Universal Logistics Head Office Potluck
Universal Logistics Head Office Potluck
Universal Logistics Head Office Potluck

Everyone was able to enjoy the meal together while going around the office, showing off their ugly Christmas sweaters, and admiring the work put into decorating cubicles. In accordance with tradition, everyone voted for their favourite ugly sweaters and cubicles. Congratulations to the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest winners, Debbie D’Ornellas & Marina Mescerjakova, and the Decorate your Cubicle contest winners, Mandy Chan & Susan Sok!

Christmas Ugly Sweaters
Cubicle Decoration - Susan Sok
Cubicle Decoration - Mandy Chan

We would also like to thank everyone for their generous donations to Toy Mountain and the Vaughan Food Bank.

Toy Mountain & Vaughan Food Bank - Santa Brenda
Santa Brenda

Employee Education & Engagement

This year’s program will include various Presentation Topics. We will also have our standard Canadian CSS Study Sessions, for which the CSCB has announced the 3 CCS Designate Quiz dates – as noted below. Additionally, we’ll once again dedicate days to Team-Building and Health and Wellness, with activities related to enhancing our workplace culture, our business practices and our client service.

These days will help foster a spirit of continuous improvement, strengthen our company culture and develop better working habits, while adding a bit of fun to our workplace.

Employee Education & Engagement
CCS Study Sessions

LEAD Team Update – 2024 Initiatives

Universal Employee Volunteer Opportunity

On January 10th, the LEAD team introduced an exciting new initiative – the Universal Employee Volunteer Opportunity. This self-driven initiative is designed to enable all interested Universal employees to volunteer their time to a registered charity for 1 day per year, while being paid by Universal for a regular work day. If you are currently working with a charity and are interested in participating, please see your Manager to receive a Volunteer Participation Form, which you will need to complete and submit for approval. 

Giving back to the community is a core value of Universal Logistics, and we encourage everyone to participate in this on a personal level.

Universal Employee Volunteer Opportunity - LEAD Team Update – 2024 Initiatives


  • All volunteer work must be done with a Registered Charity (must have Registered Charity #).
  • Universal employees can submit volunteer opportunities to their Manager by filling out the Volunteer Participation Form, located in the Employee Guidelines, Benefits & Information folder on the G Drive under Universal Employee Volunteer Opportunity. Employees approved for volunteering must have a signed Volunteer Participation Form, confirming their involvement with the charity on the day agreed.
  • All volunteer opportunities to be vetted by Universal for approval.
  • All employees can volunteer their time a maximum of 1 day per calendar year and will be paid for a regular work day by Universal.
  • Employees participating must coordinate with their Manager to ensure their workload is covered for the day they are volunteering.
  • The Volunteer Day will have to be reviewed and agreed to by the Manager to ensure there is no more than 1 person per team volunteering on the same day.

Code of Conduct while volunteering:

It is important to keep in mind that employees participating in this initiative are acting as ambassadors of Universal Logistics while volunteering. We ask that you follow the Code of Conduct and guidelines of the charity and Universal. Universal employees are asked to contribute to a safe and inclusive environment, and show respect for all staff and other volunteers.

Shift Your Mind is Back – Sign up for the Next Session

As a direct result of feedback from our Universal Employee Engagement Survey 2022, in 2023, the LEAD team announced an exciting Health & Wellness program called Shift Your Mind that was made available to all Universal Logistics employees starting in September. Two groups of employees participated in this 8-week program and we received a number of positive responses from attendees. Please see excerpts of testimonials below:

“fun and interactive” – Chris Cartan

“well presented, informative, and fun” – Pamela Randolph

“the tools outlined and the adjoining conversations that followed, resonated with me” – Mark Deluca

“the impact has been nothing short of transformative” – Maryam Mehrdad

Shift Your Mind is Back - Sign up for the Next Session - LEAD Team Update – 2024 Initiatives

The LEAD team is pleased to announce that Shift Your Mind is back at Universal for 2024 and our next session will kick off on February 26th. The program will consist of a 45-minute session that will take place live in the Main Boardroom at Head Office as well as via Zoom (for those working remotely), once a week over the course of 8 weeks. Participation is limited to a maximum of 15-20 participants per session, and sign-up is on a first come/first served basis.

We encourage all interested Universal employees to participate in the Shift Your Mind program. It will help us all to continue to grow from this challenging experience – and experience that growth together. 


As noted above, we encourage everyone to participate in this program. We only ask that, if you decide to register, you commit to attending all 8 sessions, ensuring that you achieve the best results possible. Please note that registration will close on February 21, 2024.

Program Details

Program Date: February 26, 2024

Program Duration: One 45-minute session/week x 8 weeks  

Program Contact: Tina Scharnberg at

Register: HERE

Something's Brewing

Contributor: Alice Yan

New Years Celebrations Around the World

1. Eastern Orthodox Church New Year

  • Observed in Russia, Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine.
  • January 14, 2024
  • Like the Gregorian New Year celebration on January 1st, the Julian New Year is celebrated by people of the Orthodox church with entertainment, fireworks, drinking, and large meals. In Macedonia, it is traditional to hide a coin in pita bread.  The individual who finds the coin in their pita is said to have luck for the year.
Eastern Orthodox Church New Year - New Years Celebrations Around the World

2. Lunar New Year

  • Observed by China, South Korea, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, and many other Asian countries.
  • February 10, 2024
  • Lunar New Year is spectacular, loud, and for many cultures across Asia, the most important festival of the year. The festival begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the calendar, and ends with the ‘Lantern Festival’ on the 15th day.  In many cultures, each year is also associated with an animal from the zodiac.
  • Celebrations vary across different cultures and countries, but typically, families visit the senior members of their extended family on the first day of Lunar New Year. Lion dance troupes, a dramatic part of the Lunar New Year festivities, help to usher in the New Year and expel evil spirits.  Fireworks and firecrackers are very popular at this time, as is gift giving.
Lunar New Year - New Years Celebrations Around the World

3. Igbo New Year

  • Observed in Nigeria.
  • Third week of February
  • The Igbo New Year begins in February. The moon is used to calculate the months and seasons. During a festival that marks the new year, the reigning monarch of the Igbo people in Nigeria distributes yam seeds to his people and asks them to return home and farm their land.
Igbo New Year - New Years Celebrations Around the World

4. Balinese New Year (Nyepi)

  • Observed in Indonesia
  • March 11, 2024
  • When you think of regular New Year’s celebrations on January 1st, you more than likely picture people dancing to loud music with a drink in hand. In Indonesia, they celebrate in an entirely different fashion.  On the day of Nyepi, instead of shuffling around hung over from the previous night’s adventures, the Balinese spend the day in utter silence.  Those who follow the religious traditions in full also stay home, don’t work, and avoid engaging in any pleasurable activities.  The objective is to spend the entire day reflecting, meditating, and fasting.
Balinese New Year (Nyepi) - New Years Celebrations Around the World

5. Hindu New Year (Vikram Sawant)

  • Observed in Hindu populations worldwide
  • March 20, 2024
  • India is a multifaceted country, full of different religions, dialects, and languages. Hindu populations worldwide do not all share the same New Year’s Day and rituals.  In fact, there are at least three common dates for New Year’s Day in the Hindu calendar.  While the new year dates differ, many fall in March and April  
  • Exchanging gifts, wearing new garbs, lighting oil lamps, and decorating the house with blessing-inducing, colorful flowers are all examples of some of the traditions.
Hindu New Year (Vikram Sawant) - New Years Celebrations Around the World

6. Persian New Year (Nowruz)

  • Observed by numerous populations worldwide
  • March 21, 2024
  • Nowruz, commonly known as Persian New Year, is a commemoration of spring and fertility, and marks the overcoming of sorrow and darkness. It’s celebrated not only in Iran, but in the likes of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and countries across Central Asia, as well as their diasporas around the globe.
  • Every March, 300 million people from across the world take part in celebrations that involve leaping over bonfires, performing folk music and reciting poems, cleaning every inch of their homes and eating copious amounts of home-cooked food in the process. Nowruz, which means ‘new day’ in Farsi, marks the first day of the Persian calendar and falls at the same time as the spring equinox (usually on 20 or 21 March).
Persian New Year (Nowruz, means new day) - New Years Celebrations Around the World
  • “Haft sin” is an arrangement of seven symbolic items whose names start with the letter “S” (pronounced as “seen”), the 15th letter in the Persian alphabet; “haft” is Persian for “seven”. It is traditionally displayed at Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, which is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

A. Throwing unused plates at the front doors of family and friends for good luck – True or False?

B. Writing your wish on a piece of paper, burning that paper, and then putting the ashes into a glass of champagne and drinking it – True or False?

C. Sprinkling pepper on your doorstep as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day for good luck – True or False?

D. Baking real coins into sweets and eating it on New Year’s – True or False?

E. Filling your surroundings with square objects, wearing clothes with square trim, filling your pockets with ice cubes, or eating square shaped fruit to signify prosperity – True or False?

Click on the question above, submit your answer to Sharon, and you’re eligible to win!

Submission deadline
Friday, February 2nd (Noon)

$25 Tim Hortons, Starbucks or Amazon gift card for the 2 winners
(If more than two contestants have the right answer, we will pick the winning names out of a hat)

Kudos Corner - Universal Logistics

Kudos (Noun) – Praise & honour received for an achievement

Kudos Corner is a forum where Universal employees can recognize the efforts of their co-workers.  Bring forward candidates for Kudos Corner at your next Team Meeting or simply drop your Manager a line whenever you feel someone’s efforts should be recognized in Universal & You.

For this issue we received the following entry from Cathy Fong of our Freight Pricing team:

Mandy Chan of our Freight Solutions team at Head Office worked closely with Legend Rubber, who recently advised us that they lost their Australian vendor who shipped approximately 5 containers per month with us.  Legend spent weeks trying to source a supplier for their product and eventually found one, however, this supplier had no experience shipping cargo.  Mandy took the lead throughout the entire process and offered guidance and direction to Ben Graham of Legend Rubber and their supplier.  Mandy also worked to connect our Freight Agent in Australia, Savi World Transport, with the new supplier.  Thanks to Mandy’s efforts, Legend booked two shipments consisting of 5 containers in November.

Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees.  We have new additions at Head Office.  Please join us in welcoming Stanley Kwong and Andressa Lopes to the team!

Stanley Kwong, Customs Consulting Services - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Name: Stanley Kwong
Team: Customs Consulting Services
Start date: January 2, 2024

Andressa Lopes, Freight Pricing - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Name: Andressa Lopes
Team: Freight Pricing
Start date: January 15, 2024

Book Buzz

Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Author Spotlight: Amy McCulloch

Author Amy McCulloch was born in the UK, raised in Ottawa, Canada, and is now based in London, England.  When she isn’t writing, she loves travelling, hiking and mountaineering.  In September 2019, she became the youngest Canadian woman to climb Mt. Manaslu in Nepal – the world’s eighth highest mountain at 8,163m (26,781ft).  Check out some of her extreme climate thrillers below!

Author Spotlight: Amy McCulloch - Book Buzz

Journalist Cecily Wong is in over her head.  She’s come to Manaslu, the eighth-highest peak in the world, to interview internationally famous mountaineer Charles McVeigh on the last leg of a record-breaking series of summits.

She’s given up everything for this story—her boyfriend, her life savings, the peace she’s made with her climbing failures in the past—but it’s a career-making opportunity.

But when one climber dies in what everyone else assumes is a freak accident, she fears their expedition is in danger.  And by the time a second climber dies, it’s too late to turn back.

Stranded on a mountain in one of the most remote regions of the world, she’ll have to battle more than the elements in a harrowing fight for survival against a killer who is picking them off one by one.

Breathless by Amy McCulloch - Book Buzz
With twenty-four hours of daylight, there is nowhere to hide.

Olivia has always dreamt of spending a “white night” on the frigid Antarctic continent, but as an actuary who assesses risk for a living, she never thought she’d have the chance.

So, when her career takes an unexpected turn after her high-powered art-dealer boyfriend decides to stage an ostentatious, career-making exhibition on a luxury expedition to the polar desert, she is thrilled.

But things soon begin to seem strange; in addition to the wealthy clients, Olivia unexpectedly finds they’ll be travelling with the beleaguered employees of the company running the expedition and their charismatic, divisive CEO. And then ominous connections to her and her boyfriend’s past begin to appear.

The first deaths seem at first a dreadful accident.  But as the situation on board heats up and the temperatures plummet, Olivia starts to wonder if she has booked a one-way ticket to her own demise.

Midnight by Amy McCulloch - Book Buzz
With twenty-four hours of daylight, there is nowhere to hide.
Runner 13

In a race through the unrelenting Sahara Desert with a life-changing sum of money at stake, a group of elite runners find themselves battling the elements – and a killer – for their lives.

Inspired by the author’s real-life experience running in the Marathon des Sables – a 250km ultramarathon through the Sahara Desert billed as the “toughest footrace on Earth” – Runner 13 is a heart-pounding, transportive thriller set against the backdrop of extreme ultrarunning.

Runner 13 by Amy McCulloch - Book Buzz
Releasing in 2025 – It was supposed to be the race of her life, but now she’s on the run for her life.

Culture and Entertainment

Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Adaptations – Books to Screen

Back in 2005, author Rick Riordan released a new fantasy novel titled Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.  The story followed a teenage boy who discovers that he’s the son of the Greek god Poseidon, and he stands accused of stealing his uncle Zeus’ famed lightning bolt.

Alongside his friends Annabeth Chase (the daughter of the goddess Athena) and Grover Underwood (who is secretly a mythical creature called a satyr), he must set out to recover the stolen object while also figuring out who framed him for the crime.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the TV series, premiered on December 19, 2023, on Disney+, with the first season consisting of eight episodes.  The series received positive reviews from critics, who largely praised its faithfulness to the source material, the worldbuilding, and the performances of the cast.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Culture and Entertainment - Adaptations - Books to Screen
Now Streaming on Disney+ – New episodes every Tuesday 9:00 p.m. EST

After months (and years) of anticipation, the latest evolution of The Color Purple has finally hit the big screen.  The film premiered in theaters on Christmas Day 2023—but if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, here are a few sneak peeks into the magic.

Oprah joined forces with Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones, and Scott Sanders to bring The Color Purple musical—which premiered on Broadway in 2005—to life.  “To reinvent the movie at this time is to reinvent a phenomenon,” says Oprah.

It tells the story of Celie, an African American woman living in the American South during the early 1900s.  It received positive reviews from critics and has grossed $54 million.  The film earned several accolades, including Golden Globe Award nominations, and five nominations at the 29th Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Picture.

The Color Purple - Culture and Entertainment - Adaptations - Books to Screen
Now Playing in Theatres

Lessons in Chemistry is a 2023 American period drama television miniseries developed by Lee Eisenberg, based on the novel of the same name by Bonnie Garmus.  It stars Brie Larson as chemist Elizabeth Zott, a sometimes wooden, but always sympathetic heroine, who begins hosting her own feminist cooking show in 1960s America.

The cast does a lot of heavy lifting here.  Larson holds the show’s center with ease, giving way to her supporting cast effortlessly.  Even the dog is perfectly cast!  Lessons in Chemistry is a joy to watch, an escape with a clear-cut and righteous perspective.  With Larson leading the way, the show challenges us to rise to our best possible selves, even as it presents a simplified view of the challenges women of all races encounter.

The series began streaming on Apple TV+ on October 13, 2023.  It received positive reviews from critics, and received nominations for two Golden Globe Awards, Best Limited or Anthology Series, and Best Actress – Miniseries for Larson.

Lessons in Chemistry - Culture and Entertainment - Adaptations - Books to Screen
Now Streaming on Apple TV+

Health and Lifestyle

Contributor: Veena Ramesh

Save on groceries & eat healthy – without stress.

Happy New Year!  As the new year begins, most of us develop resolutions such as getting into healthy eating; taking care of bodies; getting our beach bodies ready for the warm weather; or simply wanting to feel great as our best selves.

The one thing we can all unanimously agree with is that inflation has caused an increase in money spent on groceries every month or week.  The increase in prices may be out of our control, but what we can control is the amount that we spend, by working on some meal planning and prepping.

Meal planning and meal prepping sound great, but are not easy to follow or maintain.  However, it is a blessing for all of us, after a tiring day, to get home and not have to worry or think about preparing a healthy meal for dinner.

Meal planning:

Planning your meals is one way to ensure that you are getting what your body needs. We are all aware that putting good food into our bodies means that it will operate more efficiently – you are what you eat – in the same way that the type of fuel affects how our vehicles operate. When meal planning, we need to ensure that our daily calorific needs are being met, as well as our intake of macronutrients. The whole meal prep should concentrate on including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and good fats. Be mindful of your own dietary needs and prepare accordingly.

Set aside one day for meal planning.  Each plan should prep for 3 days at a time per week.  Meal prepping is essential to meal planning in that you must prepare the ingredients – chop, marinate, pre-cook, portion – ahead for your plan to be successful, easy, and balanced for each meal.

Intermittent fasting (as addressed in previous articles) helps us to control our urge to eat when we don’t really need to.  So, listen to your body and eat only when necessary.  In other words, practice mindful eating.  However, minimizing the intake of processed and refined foods does not mean depriving yourself of foods that you love, you should enjoy treats and indulge in moderation.

There are a lot of resources available to assist in meal planning and prepping.  There are many phone apps available that can be used, many of which are free.

  • Pantry Check inventories your food and household essentials to prevent food waste, also indicating best-by/expiry dates, to simplify your shopping lists and prevent overbuying.
  • Mealtime provides personalized meal plans tailored to the number of people that you are cooking for. It also generates a shopping list based on these plans.
  • Yummly offers personalized recommendations based on your taste and dietary restrictions, it’s a great place to explore new recipes. You can create shopping lists and access cooking guides as well.
  • Paprika Recipe Manager does what the other apps do, but also syncs across your devices so that it can be accessed anywhere at any time.
  • Plan to Eat imports recipes from other websites and has a drag and drop calendar for easy planning!
  • Eat This Much generates meal plans based on dietary goals, budget, and preferences. With this app, you can better achieve your personal fitness and weight loss goals.
  • Cook Smarts provides meal plans with recipes, nutritional information, and shopping lists. They also teach you how to cook!
Meal prepping - Save on groceries & eat healthy - without stress
Meal planning - Save on groceries & eat healthy - without stress

Saving on groceries:

A budget helps – create one and stick to it.  I don’t know about you, but I get easily distracted when I shop for groceries.  I end up buying things that I might already have, or that I will not have time to use that week.  Creating a budget might be easy, but if you don’t have your meals planned, or create a strict shopping list, you may find yourself succumbing to making those impulse purchases.  It is advisable to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Nonperishable items can always be stocked.  Bear in mind, if you are buying products that are out-sourced, we are also bearing the cost of shipping – who better than all of us to understand and realize that.

Buy generic brands, buy in bulk, and keep an eye out for discounts.  There are phone apps that can be used to compare prices for products; it helps to price match.  Always keep in mind that we have to pay a premium price for convenience and pre-packaged foods.  This is where our buzz words “meal planning” and “meal prepping” come into use.  When we take the time to plan and prep, we minimize the amount of food waste that we generate.  If there are leftovers, we can have them the next day, or consider freezing them for a future quick re-heat meal. 

Check out Flipp – “Flipp is your one-stop marketplace for savings and deals.  Browse weekly digital flyers from retailers near you, or search for the items you need.”  Flipp works in Canada and the United States, and is a great place to plan your weekly/monthly shopping trips as you browse the best deals based on your preferred stores. 

Get acquainted with these helpful apps and look forward to the next part of this series where we will look at tiering our food groups (produce, proteins & grains) to get you started on planning your meals in a way that best benefits your body.

Save on groceries & eat healthy - without stress
Coupons - Save on groceries & eat healthy - without stress

Educational Achievements

Knowledge is what can separate you from the pack. It can take you as high as you want to go if you put it into action.”

The employees of Universal Logistics regularly receive industry training that is paid for by the company.  We are proud to recognize the achievement and success of our latest course and program graduates.

CIFFA Certificate Program
Jheysson Sanchez, Freight Solutions - Universal Logistics - Head Office

Jheysson Sanchez
Freight Solutions
(Head Office)
completed first portion of CIFFA Certificate Program
International Transportation and Trade.

Congratulations Jheysson!

IT Corner - Universal and YOU

IT Corner

Slam the Scam! – Protect Yourself Against Fraud

We’ve published this Tip before, but since it’s important, we thought it to be worth revisiting.  It’s tax season and this is a popular time for scammers to try to get some money out of unsuspecting people.  They will use email, text or phone calls, some threatening to get you to pay “taxes” you owe.  Nowadays, it’s getting harder to spot the scam, as they are getting better at spoofing the email or text.  They look very legitimate.

Here are some things to look out for to help you slam the scam!  The CRA will never do the following:

  • Give or ask for personal or financial information by email
  • Email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • Send you an email with a link to “your refund”
  • Demand immediate payment by Interac E-transfer, Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards

Threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence

Text Scam - Slam the Scam! – Protect Yourself Against Fraud - IT Corner
Email Scam - Slam the Scam! – Protect Yourself Against Fraud - IT Corner

If you receive an email, text or phone call similar to any of the above, it’s a SCAM.  Here is a link to the CRA website with more information on this and what you should do if you suspect a scam.

Calling all Universal Employees!

We are looking for volunteers to contribute short articles to Universal & You. Topics can be team or industry-related or you might want to share a personal experience (e.g. volunteer work or travel) with your fellow employees.

Please forward your ideas to Sharon Fong.

Universal & You is produced bi-monthly for the employees of Universal Logistics. Reader comment and story ideas are welcome. Comments of general interest to all Universal & You readers will, with the permission of the writer, be published. Copyright © Universal Logistics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction for any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

Universal & You is produced by Universal Logistics, Editor: Sharon Fong, email:

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained herein, Universal Logistics accepts no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions.

Professional business people team meeting and working in corporate office concept

Register now to learn more about our

101 Logistics Quick Tips

Available exclusively from Universal Logistics