IGA honors local producers (Eastern Townships)

To launch this regional project, grocers and producers met at the IGA Extra Daigneault in Cowansville where the posters were unveiled. In addition to presenting photos of the producers, they highlighted their names, their business, and the municipality where they’re located. “The photo allows us to connect consumers with local producers to personalize local shopping,” said Ghislain Lefebvre, director of the Conseil de l’industrie bioalimentaire (biofood industry council) de l’Estrie (CIBLE), the organization that initiated the project.

The idea behind this approach is to show the human side of local grocery shopping and CIBLE is happy to see so many IGA store owners onboard and proudly showcasing local products. A number of grocers have even decided to take the project one step further. “In addition to the regular posters, we decided to add a poster featuring the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route for the seven surrounding vineyards whose products are available in our stores,” said Céline Daigneault, owner of the Cowansville IGA Extra Daigneault.

Putting the photo of producers on display in stores is part of a process to make it easier to identify local products while shopping. “Consumers are looking for authenticity and a simple and clear identification of local products addresses this concern perfectly. I invite all retailers to join this initiative to promote Quebec food products and producers,” said Pierre-Alexandre Blouin, president and CEO of the Association des détaillants en alimentation (food retailers) du Québec. He was also happy to point out that the project brings all the necessary elements together.

“I’m delighted with today’s announcement. This regional project will increase the growth of our local businesses and their products. Promoting local consumption is definitely a positive factor in the economic development of the entire region’s agrifood sector and why we’re so proud to support initiatives like this,” said Hugues Grimard, chair of the Table des MRC de l’Estrie (TME) and commissioner of the MRC des Sources.

Before implementing the project on a regional scale involving numerous local producers and IGA owners, a pilot project was undertaken to test the idea. The first phase was carried out in November 2017 with IGA Bouchard in Saint-Élie and IGA Cookshire taking part. The results were impressive with sales increases of some 26% for participating producers, and more than enough to justify a more large-scale deployment of the posters.

This project was made possible thanks to a funding agreement between regional county municipalities (RCMs) in the Estrie region, including the City of Sherbrooke, the ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food, the ministry of municipal affairs and land use, and the Fédération de l’UPA-Estrie. Desjardins, Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est, and the Brome-Missisquoi and Haute-Yamaska RCMs also participated in the project.

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