Powell’s touting Canadian food
Federal pilot project under way in Carbonear, Harbour Grace and Bay Roberts
Take a quick look through your cart the next time you go grocery shopping. How much of your food comes from Canada?
A new federal pilot project bets that you’re not sure — but you want to know.
Eat Canadian, a program already tested in Ottawa and running in Vancouver, hit Powell Supermarket locations in Carbonear, Harbour Grace and Bay Roberts this past weekend.
The project runs from Feb. 5 to March 11, and sees maple leaf-festooned stickers placed on foods — ranging from canned vegetables to fresh beef to dairy — that are produced in Canada. Stores will also feature moving displays called wobblers in the aisles pointing shoppers towards Canadian foods.
Support for the industry
The goal of the campaign is to support the Canadian food processing industry, and Powell’s Supermarkets general manager Brent Bugden said he thinks customers will gravitate towards Canadian items over similar products that come from other countries.
“I think it’s a fantastic project in the sense that it’s going to bring awareness to Canadians as to how much product is actually produced, manufactured, right here at home,” said Bug- den.
Over the six-week trial period, Bugden said, sales of the Canadian items will be monitored. He expects to see a spike in Canadian product sales, but added it likely won’t increase overall sales — a shopper will just buy, for example, Primo pasta instead of Barilla — but the point is to support the country’s food industry.
“If I’m shopping down the aisle and I saw a wobbler sign, which you will see in our store over Primo, for example, I probably would buy it,” he said.
Jason Baillargeon, a senior research co-ordinator for Canada Brand, which developed the Eat Canadian tagline for the project, said there are several reasons why Canadian consumers want to buy homegrown products, including food safety, traceability, quality and environmental sustainability.
“ Our research has shown that although Canadian consumers want to buy Canadian food products, they oftentimes have a great deal of difficulty identifying Canadian food products at the retail level. We also have research that shows that if products are prominently identified as Canadian on the label, it will result in an increase in sales.”
The campaign will also include consumer surveys, said Baillargeon, and get feedback from store owners and suppliers to see how effective it was.