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Sobeys and Jamie Oliver launch line of holiday products

Sobeys' new holiday offering for its Compliments label with Jamie Oliver features Canadian classics with a twist

Jamie Oliver wants to turn Canadians into star chefs for the holidays, even those of us who don't know how to cook.

That's the idea behind a new line of private label products called "Compliments Presents: Jamie Oliver Discovers Canada." It features 14 holiday-friendly items for the bakery, meat, seafood and deli departments.

Canadian dishes have been given the Jamie Oliver twist and Sobeys product developers worked closely with Oliver's team to create this line of fresh, ready-to-cook solutions, said Gillian Kerr, vice-president of brand marketing at Sobeys.

Deleo de Leonardis, VP of private label at Sobeys says the items in the new line are all designed to be unique. For instance, herby lemon flattened chicken and banoffee cakes.

The range, which hits stores Nov. 7, also includes meat products that meet the animal welfare standards of Humane Farm Animal Care, a not-for-profit organization.

Back in September when Sobeys announced the partnership with Oliver, it said it was the first major retailer in North America to offer certified humane chicken, pork and beef.

Four Humane Farm Animal Care (a non-profit certification organization) producers were chosen as the only meat suppliers to Sobeys' "Better Food for All" program, including duBreton pork from Quebec, and Blue Good Pure Foods poultry from Ontario.

READ: Sobeys unveils its new brand positioning with Jamie Oliver

Kerr said there is only a one-dollar difference between the price of certified humane chicken and regular chicken. The line's pricing–from six to seven dollars for the breads and up to $20 for the roast–positions the line as gourmet offerings at affordable price points.

The 14 products for the holiday will be available only until the end of December or when supply runs out, Sobeys officials said.

Another series of Jamie Oliver Compliments products will launch in time for summer, said Kerr.

She added the products are meant to bring the "wow" to entertaining by offering ready-to-cook solutions.

For example, the line's beef blade pot roast comes with a sachet spice rub and rosemary sprigs all ready for the consumer to simply pop into the oven. Butchers at Sobeys' outlets will make the meats fresh in store everyday. Kerr said marinades will be provided to stores, where butchers will packaged and prepare it.

Breads, such as the roasted garlic and rosemary focaccia or sweet cherry focaccia can be warmed up in the oven or microwave.

The other key feature of the products are the Canadian ingredients that are showcased in dishes: from the three different MSC-certified seafood (smoked salmon, sockeye, haddock) in the Seafood pie that are all Canadian to the Apple and Berry crisp featuring Nova Scotia apples, Quebec wild blueberries and cranberries.

There's also the multicultural Canadian palate featured in the savoury dips, such as the Indian-style dahl dip and Moroccan-style hummus dip.

The co-branded product line took a year to develop, and will be available at all Sobeys banners in English Canada as well as in Thrifty Foods in B.C.

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