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Localize debuts in Toronto helping shoppers get the food facts that matter most

March 11 Ashley Cattell

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A new partnership with The Big Carrot brings our innovative grocery shelf labelling program to Toronto March 18th making it easy to know where food comes from

Getting the facts behind local food while everyday shopping is about to become easier for Torontonians. We are thrilled to announce we are bringing our innovative local food shelf labelling system to Toronto, through a new partnership with The Big Carrot, making our official debut in Eastern Canada. Beginning March 18th, shoppers will find more than 1100 Localize labelled products in The Big Carrot representing 116 regional producers across all categories of the store.

Through our smartphone-enabled labels and unique ‘Localize Scores’ that rank how local a product is on a scale of 0 to 10, Toronto shoppers can obtain a wealth of information about the who, what, where, and how behind the products they buy.

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In the past four years we've seen Localize really take off. Since the idea was first born in 2011, by founder and agriculturalist Meghan Dear, Localize has expanded across Western Canada into over 250 retail grocery stores. More than a community, social and environmental initiative, research by the Serecon Consulting Group released earlier this year revealed Localize labels helped Calgary Co-op shoppers shift more than $1.5 million to local food – and now we're making our first step into Eastern Canada by bringing our labelling system to Toronto.

“Our partnership with The Big Carrot is a complement to our organization's vision of building a service that shares better food information at the shelf’s edge. We’re giving Torontonians the ability to shop without worry, armed with the right information at hand. We’re honoured to be partnered with a like-minded retailer who values transparency and exemplifies strong support for the local community.” - Meghan Dear, CEO Localize

As Toronto’s first certified organic health food store specializing in organically grown, non-GMO and environmentally safe products, The Big Carrot has been wholeheartedly investing in the local community since it opened its doors in 1983.

"Our partnership with Localize is a natural fit, and it means delivering on a promise to consumers to provide local food options and the knowledge of where that food is coming from, how it is produced and who is behind it. The program helps us feature, not only our local growers, but also the many Ontario manufacturers and businesses that we work with at The Big Carrot. Our shoppers want more local food and Localize makes it easier than ever to identify these brands,” says Maureen Kirkpatrick, Standards Coordinator at The Big Carrot.

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A walk through aisles of The Big Carrot in Toronto will introduce you to Ontario owned and Ontario made products like Sweets from the Earth Apple Beet Loaf just one of many 100% plant-based egg- and dairy-free baked goods made in their Toronto facilty, Giddy Yoyo's handmade organic wild heirloom raw dark chocolate bars made in Orangeville,  and 23 Degree Roasterie hand roasted coffee blends.

The stories behind these local businesses are not only accessible, they're celebrated in store. The concept behind 23 Degree Roasterie was first born in 2011 when Benjamin Yu and his business partner Ben Safa teamed up to form a local Toronto business intent on bringing freshly roasted certified organic and fair trade coffee to the Toronto scene. Their name? It's inspired by the Bean Belt, the land 23° north and south of the equator, where most of the world's coffee – and the best coffee – is grown. Recognizing more than the importance of where and how the beans are harvested, Benjamin and Ben aim to share their passion for roasting and love for great-tasting coffee by using a small batch roasting technique to coax out the beans’ subtle flavours, offering their customers a premium coffee experience.

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Localize today, has evolved into much more than a simple shelf labelling service. Behind the lines at our head quarters in Edmonton and satellite office in Toronto is a dedicated team with an incredible passion for food transparency, and an unwavering commitment to deliver the straight facts that make food shopping simple.

Local food producers love it for the awareness, transparency and trust it instills in consumers, while forward-thinking grocers like The Big Carrot, the first Ontario retailer to get behind it, is confident in the impact it will have on its community of local shoppers and producers.

For Toronto, The Big Carrot and legions of local shoppers, the ability to invest in the community, shop responsibly and support regional farmers, producers and the environment through their purchases – without sacrificing quality – is an exciting reality!

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