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Sobeys teams up with Nova Scotia berry producer

Haskap berry products could see healthy future in grocery industry

While acai and aronia berries have their moment in the spotlight, it might be the haskap berry’s time to shine in 2015.

Nova Scotia-based producer Haskapa now has its haskap berry products available in 20 Sobeys stores across the province, increasing to 50 stores in Atlantic Canada in 2015.

Liam Tayler, commercial director with Haskapa, says their products are the first commercial haskap berry products to be sold outside of Asia.

“Since we launched the products last year, we have seen a significant spike in interest,” he says. The company plans to triple production levels next year.

Why the interest? These berries, also called blue honeysuckles and honeyberries, have as much vitamin C as an orange and the molecules found in haskap fruits have been used to treat diseases in Northern Russia, Japan and China.

Dalhousie University’s faculty of agriculture announced earlier this month a partnership with LaHave Forest, the farm that produces Haskapa’s products. The research initiative will investigate the cancer-fighting power of the berry.

Tayler says the company felt Sobeys’ philosophy to eat and feel better fits nicely with their emphasis on healthy foods. He also appreciates their emphasis on buying local. Stephen Read, the Buy Local Specialist for Sobeys Atlantic, promotes and sources locally-grown and produced products.

Haskapa gained international recognition last year by winning the "Best New Juice" award at Germany's World Juice Awards.

In addition to its signature juice, Sobey will carry Haskap products such as jam, jalapeno relish and chutney.

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