Excellence in produce merchandising was recognized Friday with the presentation of the annual Foodland Ontario Retailer Awards.
They were presented at a lunch in Toronto to grocers for displays put up in the last year.
Sixty-nine grocers from across the province were recognized with awards from Foodland, the marketing arm of Ontario’s ministry of agriculture.
Among the top winners was Metro Ontario, which took home Vision Awards for both its conventional Metro format and for its discount Food Basics format.
The Vision Award is given to retailers who have shown an outstanding commitment to promoting local foods.
Metro and Food Basics also picked up eight of the 12 Platinum Awards given to stores for consistently great merchandising of Ontario grown foods through the spring, summer and fall/winter seasons. (Click here to see a full list of winners.)
Metro’s stores also did well in the Award of Excellence category, which recognizes supermarkets that have won Platinum Awards for two consecutive years. Winners included Food Basics #697 in Sudbury, Food Basics #932 in St. Catharines, Metro #147 in Windsor and Metro #453 in Bowmanville.
Two other grocery stores also took home Awards of Excellence: Andrew and Emily’s No Frills in Picton and Stewart’s Town & Country Market in Mildmay.
The Foodland Ontario Retailer Awards have been presented since 1987.
In a speech during the lunch Friday, Jeff Leal, the province’s minister of agriculture, noted that supermarkets play an important part in getting food grown in the province onto dinner tables.
“You are the highways and bridges that bring together rural and urban Ontario,” he told the audience comprised mostly of grocery store managers and executives.
This year, for the first time, Foodland also recognized an individual’s efforts to promote Ontario food.
Brian Langley, director of meat and seafood and Longo Brothers won the Local Food Champion Award. Langley accepted the award, he said, on behalf of “my very hard working team at Longo’s.”
Click here to see a complete list of the winners. To see some of the Platinum Award displays, click on the slideshow below.