Staying true to our roots is one way we create better products for Canadian families. Sobeys began as a local family run business in Atlantic Canada. To honour this heritage, we strongly support local producers, growers and suppliers across Canada. And we’re always on the lookout for fresh ideas, collaborating with local and national partners who share our passion for innovating to find better choices for our customers and communities.

Our Approach

We’re committed to building supplier relationships that drive innovation and support strong and diverse local economies. In fiscal year 2021 we added more than 2,500 new local products to our shelves nationwide, growing our number of local producers and suppliers by 30 per cent.

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How We’re Making a Difference

Connecting with local suppliers

We know our customers want to enjoy and support locally sourced food and products — and we do too. Since 2018 we’ve 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 build new relationships. Even though we needed to move to a virtual format this year as a result of the pandemic, we were excited to showcase winners from each province across a range of categories to over 1,000 road show participants. Some of our most recent winning suppliers include:

  • karma karma-logo

    Province:

    British Columbia

    Category:

    Innovation

    Local Supplier:

    Farming Karma

    Hailing from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Farming Karma has developed a refreshing product line that has become extremely popular with our customers who are looking for a healthy alternative to other carbonated beverages. What started with a single variety of Apple Soda has grown into five amazing flavours as the team at Farming Karma continues to base their growth model on innovation.

  • twigz twigz-logo

    Province:

    Alberta

    Category:

    Overall

    Local Supplier:

    Twigz

    This Calgary-based supplier launched into our stores in 2019 and has seen nothing but growth since. Initially only selling into a couple of stores, this brand is now in over 100 Sobeys, Safeway and IGA stores in Alberta and has their sights set on crossing borders and making a name for themselves in the snacking category. A true family business, this supplier has worked closely with our stores, making sure their products are in stock and is always looking for opportunities to grow.

  • parkerview-brews parkerview

    Province:

    Saskatchewan

    Category:

    Overall

    Local Supplier:

    Parkerview Brews

    Parkerview Brews Kombucha has been a proudly woman owned and family operated business since 2017. What began as experimentation using various brewing methods became a goal of using science, skill and creativity in creating functional beverages that were clean, balanced and refreshing.

    They worked diligently in following steps required to be listed as part of the local program and became HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) certified during the summer of 2020. Following the listing process, the team worked quickly and closely with our stores in gaining space in most Saskatchewan stores.

  • spenst-bros spenst-bro

    Province:

    Manitoba

    Category:

    New

    Local Supplier:

    Spenst Bros. Premium Meats

    Spenst Bros. Premium Meats is a family owned and operated business from Winkler, Manitoba, founded in 2003.
    In 2020, the company’s thin-crust, locally produced pizzas were listed in our Sobeys, Safeway and IGA stores and quickly became a customer favourite. Their success has been fueled by their strong promotional market launch strategies and their active engagement and support to our store teammates. With increased customer demand, they continue to grow into more stores throughout Manitoba.

  • mema-food mema

    Province:

    Ontario

    Category:

    Overall

    Local Supplier:

    MEMA Foods International

    MEMA Foods is a great success story — experiencing tremendous growth within our business. Recently they have increased their output by 20%, creating more jobs within their community. Thanks to the MEMA Foods team perseverance and direct store visits, the demand for their product grew quickly. Not only do they show tremendous support to our stores, they also support the community, donating all overstock soups and sauces to several food banks.

  • killer-krumers killer

    Province:

    Ontario

    Category:

    Best Overall Local Supply Partner

    Local Supplier:

    Killer Krumbs

    Located in Kenora, Ontario, the company’s three varieties of coating mix are inspired by the seemingly endless lakes of Northern Ontario. Killer Krumbs is a family-owned small business that handcrafts its products in small batches.

    The team works hard in keeping store product fresh and in-stock within our north-western Ontario IGA and Safeway stores. Their products continue to grow in popularity with our customers.

  • oyster-kings oyster-king

    Province:

    New Brunswick

    Category:

    New

    Local Supplier:

    Oyster Kings

    With the closure of many restaurants during COVID-19, Oyster King recognized many customers would still be looking to enjoy oysters at home within their family bubbles. They developed the new Acadian Pearl oyster pack, consisting of 20 fresh, choice oysters, which was launched in late July 2020 in time for New Brunswickers day. This pack has not only proven to be a favourite for long weekends and holidays, but an everyday favourite in most Sobeys locations across New Brunswick.

  • shivanis-kitchen shivani-kitchen

    Province:

    Nova Scotia

    Category:

    Innovation

    Local Supplier:

    Shivani's Kitchen

    In 2019 Shivani Dhamija launched her Indian Spice Blends in Sobeys under her Shivani’s Kitchen brand. In 2020, Shivani took the convenience of Indian cooking to the next level with the launch of her innovative, ready-to-use Indian sauces. The sauces are made from fresh ingredients sourced from local farms and are based on her grandmother’s recipes. All are salt, gluten, and dairy free. With so many people re-discovering home cooked meals, these sauces are a perfect complement to complete a restaurant-style meal at home.

  • skir skir-logo

    Province:

    Newfoundland & Labrador

    Category:

    Innovation

    Local Supplier:

    Skir Enterprises

    Over the last year many local companies stepped up and began making hand sanitizers to help protect the public from COVID-19. The Skir Enterprises team from Grandfalls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, made a critical decision to not only make hand sanitizers but to start a new business. In addition to wanting to help protect the public, they took it a step further to produce innovative and convenient packaging. This gave rise to the credit-card format spray bottle that is proving popular with customers.

  • anne-of-green-grables chocolates

    Province:

    Prince Edward Island

    Category:

    Innovation

    This year Anne of Green Gables Chocolates and Cows thrilled our customers with their offer of innovative occasional gift baskets throughout the year. Our PEI customers had the opportunity to purchase Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation and Canada Day gift baskets that featured items from Anne of Green Gables, Cows, Lucky Fox and Island Spud brands. This success led to an expansion for the holidays where gift baskets could be found throughout the Maritimes.

Local-Love-Local-Boxes /Local_Love_Local_Boxes

Local Love, Local Boxes

At a time when farmers’ markets have been on pause and local producers hurting during the pandemic, we’ve been sharing our love of local by offering Local Boxes to customers in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario in fiscal year 2021. Based around various themes including summertime and the holiday season, these boxes give our customers the opportunity to discover and explore around 20 provincially produced products, including everything from tea and popcorn to lip balm and hand wash. For example, to celebrate International Women’s Day last year, Sobeys teammates in Ontario partnered with the woman-owned business Nature Knows to showcase products from local women-owned businesses inside a specially designed biodegradable box — making it even easier to buy local in an eco-friendly way.

italian-basil italian-basil

Partners in Innovation

Our suppliers help us to innovate and grow as a sustainable business. For example, we’ve partnered with the Montreal-based company Alvéole to roll-out rooftop urban bee farms at stores across the country, where bees are busy producing hyper-local honey for our customers and contributing to healthier ecosystems in our cities through pollination. We’ve also partnered with infarm, one of the world’s most advanced and fastest-growing in-store farming platforms, to grow and harvest a range of fresh produce in select Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores across Canada. Each vertical farming unit is a stand-alone ecosystem that creates the ideal conditions plants need to flourish, and which is enabled by machine learning and AI technology. This win-win initiative for customers and the environment delivers delicious fresh greens while dramatically reducing water and energy use, and other impacts.

We’re inspired by the smart minds behind start-ups like Alvéole and infarm — and we’re working to encourage more entrepreneurs and innovators in our communities through our partnership R-Purpose MICRO, an intensive 12-week program designed to help local companies accelerate their growth and build resilience through purpose, sustainability and circularity. In fiscal year 2021, we helped 15 small-to-medium businesses in Ontario get the benefit of in R-Purpose MICRO and we’re excited to roll this initiative out in all our regions in fiscal year 2022.

Our-work-to-support-innovative-suppliers. Our-work-to-support-innovative_suppliers
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Our work to support innovative suppliers is helping us achieve our goals to reduce plastics and take climate action.