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Metro launches local buying program in Ontario

Pilot project will eventually roll out across entire province

Metro is launching a local purchasing program in Ontario that is similar to the one it's run with suppliers in Quebec since 2013.

The program will involve buying fresh food and grocery products from small regional suppliers who would not normally gain a presence and visibility in large Metro and Food Basics grocery stores.

“When we first launched it in Quebec three years ago, it was our objective from the start to have a local program in Ontario as well,” Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director of corporate affairs at Metro in Montreal, said.

“Our customers are looking more and more for local products,” making a program that supports local suppliers in the communities in which the grocer operates ideal, Bacon said. The program also helps differentiate Metro from its competitors, she added.

Metro will partner with Foodland Ontario and associations that work to highlight specific categories of food to help promote Ontario products. Metro said it will use the Foodland Ontario logo to make it easier to identify products on the shelves and in weekly flyers.

The program kicks off this fall with a pilot project in a yet-to-be-named region of Ontario. It will eventually roll out across the entire province. Quebec’s program also started with pilots in several regions.

Pictured L to R: Paul Bravi, Food Basics senior VP; Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Joe Fusco, Senior VP of Metro

Pictured L to R: Paul Bravi, senior vice-president of Food Basics; Jeff Leal, Ontario's minister of agriculture; Joe Fusco, senior vice-president of Metro

Bacon said one of the differences Metro has found between the Ontario and Quebec is that Quebec has a network of regional organizations—the tables de concertation agroalimentaire du Québec—that support local agri-food industries with which the grocer can work.  “In Ontario, these organizations don’t exist so we’ll have to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture’s business development sector.”

Since its launch in Quebec, Metro's local buying program has been implemented in eight out of 12 regions in the province. More than 827 new products from 133 suppliers have reached the shelves of Metro and Super C stores as a result.

“It’s going very well,” she says, noting that some suppliers are now seeing their wares sold in Metro and Super C stores in two, three or even more regions. “We’ve seen real results. It’s a program that has real impacts.”


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