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.

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