Meijer heavily promotes its local produce program and plans to increase volume by another 5% this season.
That brings the company’s estimated total local produce purchases to around $60 million annually, said Frank Guglielmi, director of public relations.
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer has been on a local push since 2009, increasing sourcing 10% in that time period.
“It’s a program we are extremely proud of, and one that is very gratifying in terms of supporting local farmers,” said Mark Stevenson, produce director, in a news release. “Working with suppliers in our own backyard allows us to personally inspect items, keep close track of inventory and maintain our high standards. It’s a mutually favorable relationship that benefits everyone, especially our Meijer customers.”
Meijer’s “Home Grown” produce program includes more than 75 items from 85 farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.
Specifically, the company boosted local buying in watermelons, up 20%, honeyrock melons, up 30%, sweet corn, up 18% and potatoes, up 30%.
Meijer features local growers, including profiles, videos and availability charts, in a special section on its website.