Honouring our Local Roots

More than 113 years ago, J.W. Sobey started his business on a foundation of entrepreneurship and supporting local suppliers. Through our local sourcing programs, we strive to be a Canadian leader in supporting and investing in local growers and producers.

Tree Island yogurt supplier demo station set up in a grocery store.

Featured Story

Two women wearing aprons peeling carrots in a kitchen.

Highlights of How We’re Making a Difference

Local cheeses merchandised on a shelf.

From a Product Idea to a Kitchen Staple: Working With Local Growers and Producers

Knowing how difficult it can be to get great products into homes across Canada, we have invested in building a national Local Field Merchandising Team to work with potential growers and producers.

Applying their wealth of knowledge in working with small businesses, and national grocery Read More retailers, our regionally-based Local Development Managers (LDMs) work one-on-one with potential local suppliers. LDMs provide key information such as how to work with different banners across our network, the product considerations and requirements needed to be able to sell in our stores, customer and products insights driven by demand and regional demographics, and the importance of environmental considerations for each new product.

Once a supplier is ready to take the next step, it takes an average of 4-6 weeks to see the product on our shelves. Our LDMs work directly with the supplier to ensure they are set-up for success with ongoing support and guidance.

Through the work of the Local Field Merchandising Team, our fiscal 2020 year has seen an impressive 98% increase in the number of local products offered in our stores compared to fiscal 2019, with 374 new partnerships built with local growers and producers. Read Less

Farm Boy: A Destination for Local Food

Farm Boy began as a local produce stand in Cornwall, Ontario in 1981 and continues to support local producers. Farm Boy maintains strong ties to local businesses today, with buyers working directly with local farmers and producers to source the best quality products. This has made our Farm Boy stores a destination for those looking to buy local food. Our Farm Boy stores Read More have developed strong relationships with more than 150 local suppliers to ensure they uphold our values to continue delivering a fresh and unique shopping experience for our customers.

When we set out to find the best products for our Farm Boy private label products, the search began close to home. We love to work with small, local producers and artisans making top quality, delicious products in small batches – a growing number of which are certified organic and gluten-free. Some of our favourites include our Farm Boy lemon garlic salad dressing, natural tortilla chips, and pure liquid honey. We proudly promote our local partners at all touchpoints, from store signage and weekly flyers, to our website and social media posts. Read Less

Map of Ontario pinpointing Farm Boy's local suppliers.
Watermelon growing in a field.

Seeding Local Supplier Roots

We aim to thrill our customers with a compelling food assortment and authentic local touch. Since 2018, our sourcing and operations teams have hosted a series of cross-country roadshows to engage local growers and producers to bring their products into our stores. The roadshows use informative and interactive presentations to illustrate our commitment to local growers, celebrate our existing local partnerships, and Read Morebuild new relationships. In 2020, we introduced an award component, highlighting some of the outstanding partners we have in our stores. We celebrate our 2020 roadshow winners from across Canada!

We are thrilled to highlight a few of our winners in our 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report. Read Less

2020 Roadshow Winner: A Brew to Boast About

Happy Belly Kombucha, a Calgary based brewery, produces hand-crafted kombucha made with ingredients that are fresh, and sourced locally and worldwide.

Understanding their wider carbon footprint extends to how their product is consumed, founders, Chas and Victoria, help educate customers about smart product packaging, and why some packaging is better than others. Happy Belly Kombucha comes in aluminum cans, which is a recyclable metal. In fact, 75% of aluminum Read More ever produced is still being used today.

This means our customers can not only feel good about consuming a great product but also know that the cans will be recycled and upcycled into new, sustainable products or packaging.

Find them in over 120 Sobeys and Safeway stores across Alberta. Read Less

Happy Belly Kombucha employees standing behind a table wearing red shirts.
Product shot of Splendor Garden organic spices.

2020 Roadshow Winner: Adding The Spices to Life

Female-founded and led, Organic Spice and Herb Company, known as Splendor Garden, based in Watson, Saskatchewan, brings customers 100% organic, non-GMO ingredients that are sure to spice up any dish... Read More

Fueled by creating a product that is not only great for cooking, but one that serves the community and the environment, founder Colleen Haussecker, created Splendor Garden’s Community Social Sustainability Plan. With this plan, a portion of the proceeds from every purchase helps to feed people through the Splendor Against Hunger Initiative which partners with select food banks across Canada. Purchasing the spices also means customers are supporting sustainable food production through organic farming. Additionally, Splendor Garden’s re-adhesive name label on the back of every spice package helps customers reuse their spice containers, rather than having to buy new every time.

Find these delicious spices and herbs in Sobeys, Safeway and IGA stores across Saskatchewan and in select stores in Manitoba. Read Less

2020 Roadshow Winner: Snacks that Give Back

Sustainability and community giving is at the core of Hippie Snacks’ decisions and business model. A few examples of its initiatives include:

  • Conducting an Environmental Footprint Assessment which found its environmental footprint was concentrated in its food production, and how it is transported. The company is now taking action to address these areas. .. Read More
  • Encouraging teammates to take sustainable forms of transit
  • Minimizing its packaging footprint to include: smaller bags, smaller shipping cases, solvent-free lamination bags and recyclable cardboard.
  • Supporting the community through employee volunteering, and donating to community projects and local food banks.

One of Canada’s founding Certified B Corporations, we are a proud partner of this Burnaby, British Columbia company. Pick out your favourite flavour of plant-based crisp or delightful nut cluster in over 55 Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores across British Columbia. Read Less

Person holding a box of Hippie Snacks products.
Viveau product bottles.

2020 Roadshow Winner: Bottling Local Ingredients

Based in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, VIVEAU uses locally sourced ingredients to offer a healthy drink, with no added sugars or preservatives... Read More

The small regionally based team, works with local farmers to create an orchard-flavoured beverage with natural spring water, bottled in environmentally friendly packaging. With no plastic from top-to-bottom, the VIVEAU’s bottles are made of glass and aluminum, and no plastic labeling. The bottles are easily recycled across Canada to ensure the product does not end-up in landfill, and consumers can clean and reuse the bottle multiple times.

Learn more about why we love this product for what’s on the inside, and outside, by picking up a bottle at any Sobeys store throughout the Maritimes. Read Less

2020 Roadshow Winner: A Fresh Start to a Plant-based Diet

Proud to be providing customers with a healthy and delicious alternative to dairy and cheese products, Fresh Start Fauxmage, based in Prince Edward Island, is female-founded and led, and is now available in Sobeys stores across Atlantic Canada. Aligning her business values to her personal values, founder Julain Molnar, aims for her plant-based products to help create a more sustainable future.

Fresh Start Fauxmage vendor set up at a demo station in a Sobeys store.
Carrots and beets on top of a wooden bench.

2020 Roadshow Winner: Digging in with Sustainable Farming Practices

Producing fresh Prince Edward Island vegetables, Brookfield Gardens began as a small, family vegetable farm nearly 30 years ago. Now, with more than 40 acres of land, its vegetables are available in Sobeys, Foodland and Co-Op stores across PEI... Read More

We are encouraged by the work Brookfield Gardens is doing to preserve and protect its farm’s natural resources for generations to come. Examples of its sustainable agricultural initiatives include:

  • Biological pest control methods
  • Controlling drainage, run-off and land erosion through strategic landscaping
  • Encouraging biodiversity and crop protection with hedging
  • Following nutrient management plans, and IPM (integrated pest management) plans which minimizes the use of fertilizers and pesticides
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