Safeway launches “locally grown” campaign

California-based grocery chain Safeway will roll out new promotions of locally grown products in its Western Canada stores at the same time as a similar promotion throughout its U.S. outlets.

“Nearly a third of Safeway’s produce comes from local sources. In California, that number is even greater, roughly 45 per cent,” said Geoff White, the U.S. parent’s group vice-president for produce, in a release Friday.

“This new initiative will direct our customers to our extensive selection of premium-quality, locally grown produce at competitive prices.”

Company spokesperson Teena Massingill said the Western Canada version of the campaign will be split into three separate regions: “Manitoba Grown” and “B.C. Grown” will separately profile its suppliers in each of those provinces, while a “Canadian Grown” campaign will promote suppliers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and northwestern Ontario, among others from across Canada, in those provinces’ Safeways.

For example, the “Manitoba Grown” campaign includes a poster of a Manitoba map listing 23 operations, ranging from Winnipeg-based vegetable supply co-op Peak of the Market down to 10 separate potato farms, mostly in Winkler; squash producers Roland and Susan Chaput of Steinbach and Jeffries Bros. of Portage la Prairie; bean supplier Snowland Vegetable Farms of Halbstadt; and onion producers Mayfair Farms, Connery Riverdale Farms and SB Vegetable, all of Portage la Prairie, among others.

In addition to the “quality benefits,” Safeway said in its release, “buying locally grown fruits and vegetables reduces greenhouse emissions by limiting transportation miles.”

Sourcing locally ensures the vitality of local farms, the company said, and that translates into “economic opportunities and development for a broad range of related businesses in the communities Safeway serves.”

“Safeway’s in-store campaign will include a range of material, such as “locally grown” reference maps that geographically show the location of key local farmers, as well as point-of-sale material that “will tell the story of Safeway’s local farmers.”

The company operates 1,739 stores in North America, including 92 in Alberta, 76 in British Columbia, 34 in Manitoba, 15 in Saskatchewan and six in northwestern Ontario, as far east as Thunder Bay.

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