By Steve Hubrecht
The Invermere branch of Sobeys is showing its support for the valley-grown products by labeling local food on its shelves.
Local Sobeys owner and operator Brad Bromley hired Edmonton-based shelf labeling service company Localize to identify and scrutinize all local (or in some cases regional) food in the store, an initiative that was officially unveiled on January 15th.
Customers really want a connection to their food, said Localize chief executive officer Meghan Dear. They want to support local businesses. But they also want transparency in knowing exactly how local locally-labeled food is.
The labels rank the foods on just how local they are, using a one-to-10 scale, taking into account where the product was made, where the ingredients were sourced and how many local jobs were created in the making of the product.
The food on the shelves at Sobeys will also have two bar codes customers can scan with their smart phones. Doing so will bring up a webpage on the phones with even more information on different local attributes of the food products whether is locally made, B.C.-made or made elsewhere, whether the company that produces it is locally-owned, B.C.-owned or owned elsewhere, for instance.
You the customer can really understand how local that product is to you, standing in that specific store (in this case the Invermere Sobeys), said Ms. Dear.
Localize started operations two and a half years ago in Alberta and the Invermere Sobeys labeling project is the start of the companys expansion into B.C.
It highlights what we have in the store, shows that we support the community and lets local vendors know that were open to any possible products, said Mr. Bromley. You have to reciprocate local support. We need to support each other so the whole valley prospers.
Mr. Bromley said he was surprised at just how many local food options there now are on his shelves.
There was more than I thought, he said, adding there were in fact too many to list them all off the top of his head.
As many as there are, the valleys local food industry is substantial enough that there is potential for more local food on Sobeys shelves, said Ms. Dear.
Id love to see some local cheesecakes get in there, she said.
After blazing a path into the province here in Invermere, Localize is set to
continue expanding across B.C. as some Vancouver-area grocery stores are already showing interest in its services.