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Metro Quebec sets out local food policy

Grocery chain aims to sell more regional food at its stores

Metro Inc. says it has adopted a formal local purchasing policy for Quebec foods. The policy is aimed at providing clear guidelines for the sale and promotion of Quebec fare in its stores.

“While we already had promotional activities for Quebec products in our stores, what is new is that we have a clear policy,” said Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director, corporate affairs department at Metro.

The policy provides definitions of what Metro means by regional, provincial-scale and innovative products or suppliers.

Metro also intends to increase the in-store visibility of the Aliments du Québec (Quebec foods) and Aliments préparés au Québec (food products processed in Quebec) programs.

The policy does not set objectives in terms of the number of Quebec agri-foods that Metro will sell, or what percentage of Metro's products are to be locally sourced.

“It does not relate to any goals on the number of Quebec or regional products that we carry in our stores,” Bacon said.

In a statement, Serge Boulanger, senior vice-president, national procurement and corporate brands at Metro, noted that as a major food distribution company with a head office in Quebec, “we are convinced that we can make a real difference for local producers and in meeting our customers’ needs.”

Metro is the only major food player in Quebec with a head office in the province.

One of the main actions associated with the policy is a pilot project aimed at increasing the presence and visibility of regional products.

It will be carried out in 14 stores in the Lanaudière, Centre-du-Quèbec and Chaudière-Appalaches regions. Among other things, the project will determine whether it is more effective to merchandise regional products together or by category.

Bacon said the policy is not in response to plans by Loblaw to expand the presence of Quebec foods in its Quebec stores, noting the Metro policy has been in the works for more than 18 months.

Metro aims to adapt the policy to Ontario in 2015.

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