Zehrs Markets®, valu-mart®, Your Independent Grocer® and BloorStreet Market™ grocery stores increase Ontario beef offer

BRAMPTON, ON, May 25, 2011 /CNW/ - As long-time advocates of Ontario beef,  Zehrs Markets®, valu-mart®, Your Independent Grocer® and BloorStreet Market™ grocery stores  in Ontario ─ corporate and franchised retail stores of Loblaw Companies Limited ─ have taken their current partnership with Ontario Cattle Feeders Association (OCFA) to a new level by featuring a significantly increased Ontario beef offering.

This evolving relationship between Loblaw and OCFA means that an increase from 240 Ontario beef farmers to approximately 500 farmers will be supplying Ontario Corn Fed Beef, the OCFA's signature beef brand, to more than 150 stores. The beef is marked with a special logo making it easy for customers to find product grown in Ontario.

"We know our customers want to buy products that are sourced locally from Ontario, so we are thrilled to be able to advance our partnership with Ontario farmers to deliver products that can meet demand and our high standards," said Rodney Koning, vice-president of Meat and Seafood, Loblaw Companies Limited. "By featuring Ontario Corn Fed Beef in more than 150 corporate and franchised stores in Ontario, we've raised the bar on our commitment to Ontario cattle farmers and our customers - it's a win for everyone."

According to the Government of Ontario, 63 per cent of consumers said support for Ontario farmers was a reason for buying Ontario produced or processed foods.

"Having Ontario Corn Fed Beef featured in Zehrs Markets®, valu-mart®, BloorStreet Market™ and Your Independent Grocer® is a tremendous show of support for Ontario farmers and we are going to make sure we deliver on the commitment," said Dale Pallister, president, Ontario Cattle Feeders' Association and fifth generation beef farmer. "Nothing brings me more pride than knowing I'm feeding my neighbours across the province and that my grandson is the seventh generation of my family, since 1873, to enjoy life on the farm."

As Canada's second largest beef producing province, Ontario's cattle and beef sector supports more than 13,000 jobs and contributes approximately $4 billion dollars to the provincial economy.

"It is wonderful news that the Loblaws group will be carrying Ontario Corn Fed Beef in their stores.  Not only does it support our cattle producers and our beef industry, but now families will be able to enjoy more of our province's delicious, nutritious, locally Ontario produced beef," said the Honourable Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The announcement with OCFA represents one way Loblaw and its corporate and franchised stores demonstrate their commitment to support local, regional and national Canadian producers and to give customers fresh, wholesome food. In 2010, the Company ran its highly successful Grown Close to Home™ program for the third year in a row. In July and August of 2010, up to 40 per cent of produce in Loblaw stores was sourced from Canadian growers.

"We are encouraged by how our corporate social responsibility activities are positively impacting our customers, our business and the larger community," said Bob Chant, vice-president of corporate affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited. "As we look to the future, we continue to seek new ways to improve, and lead by example."

Among the innovative initiatives the Company believes will serve as building blocks for its long-term vision to improve the sustainability of our food, Loblaw granted a $3 million gift to the University of Guelph to establish the Loblaw Companies Limited Chair in Sustainable Food Production, and took a leading role in the development of the Conference Board of Canada's Centre for Food in Canada, which aims to develop a framework for a national food strategy.

Loblaw's approach to business is guided by five corporate social responsibility pillars: Respect the Environment, Source with Integrity, Make a Positive Difference in our Community, Reflect our Nation's Diversity and Be A Great Place to Work.

Loblaw's 2010 CSR report can be found online at loblaw.ca/csr.

About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 136,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited

For further information:

Loblaw Public Relations Department
905-459-2500 or pr@loblaw.ca


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