Starting this week, grocery shoppers across the Island will have a better sense of where their food comes from. For the next six months, shoppers can look for the Island Good sticker on produce, meats, breads, drinks, and more — all thanks to an initiative by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA).
The VIEA has been touring the Island, with stops in Courtenay, Nanaimo, Victoria and Port Alberni, to promote the initiative. The program has four grocery partners: Thrifty Foods, Country Grocer, 49th Parallel Grocers and Quality Foods.
Tammy Averill, marketing manager for Country Grocer, said when employees were putting stickers and labels on Island products this Monday, “people were really curious as to what we were doing, and were thanking us for making it easier to pinpoint Island products.”
Each grocery partner has some latitude in how they promote Island products. At Country Grocer, they have large-format posters on aisles, “shelf-talkers” (large labels affixed to shelves) and stickers. There are also pricing signs with the logo. Averill said 85 per cent of Country Grocer’s eggs come from the Island, “so when you can visually look at that, it makes it a lot easier.”
The event was hosted in Central Saanich by Portofino Bakery, located in the Keating Business District on Kirkpatrick Crescent. Their “Maltygrain” Artisan Loaf uses spent grain after Phillips Brewery is finished with it. The grain is grown on the Island as well. Products from Hertel Meats, Phillip’s Brewing Company, Paradise Island Foods and many more were on site.
George Hansen of the VIEA said the program has been a year in the making. Eventually, he said the program will expand to industries like manufacturing. He said Vancouver Island is a destination for travelers from around the world, and that name-recognition will only increase when world markets connect the scenic sights with products they can buy.