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IGA bags drive food donations

Donation bags filled with Compliments private label products

For the second year, all IGA stores in Quebec are asking consumers to buy $10 food bags filled with Compliments private label products as part of its annual La Guignolée food drive for the holidays.

Customers pick up a bag from a shelf, pay for it at checkout and drop it in the food drive box on their way out. The bags are picked up by food banks on a regular basis.

Food drive bags contain seven non-perishable items that were selected by Sobeys Quebec nutritionists, based on recommendations from Quebec food banks.

READ: Food bank use on rise with more children, seniors users

IGA is using Compliments because “we wanted to put forth our house brand which contains products that are needed by food banks,” says Laurie Fossat, communications advisor at Sobeys Quebec in Montreal. But raising brand awareness is not the main goal, she says.

Compliments-branded items in this year’s food bags are apple juice, macaroni pasta (900 g), granola bars, and cans of diced tomatoes, tuna, corn and small peas. The total value of the bags is slightly over $10, Fossat says.

The food drive bag idea was first tested in 12 corporate stores in 2013, with bags selling for $10 and $20.

READ: The towering food waste problem

Last year marked the first time the food bags were sold in all IGAs in the province.  Only the $10 option was available and 20,000 bags were sold, worth $200,000. With cash donations, the food drive raised more than $750,000. This year’s edition hopes to raise more.

This year, some 333 stores in two provinces are participating in the food drive: 282 IGA supermarkets are participating, including two in New Brunswick for the first time. Also taking part for the first time are 51 medium-surface Les Marchés Tradition stores in Quebec and New Brunswick.

The food drive launched Nov. 12 and continues until Dec. 30.

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