Bashas’ has teamed with Forager, a company that connects local farmers with grocers, on a new pilot partnership at the retailer’s stores across Arizona to significantly increase its number of suppliers and product offerings of locally sourced food.
“Partnering with Forager will support our expansion of suppliers and products, focusing on growing ‘hyperlocal’ sourcing to deliver on our customers’ expectations for local food direct to our stores as part of our ongoing commitment as Arizona’s Hometown Grocer,” noted Steve Mayer, SVP of merchandising, marketing and procurement of Bashas’. “Forager can help us scale a large local program across our entire network of stores after our pilot launch, and we are excited about the budding partnership and the positive impact that we can make in our local communities.”
After re-engaging widely with farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) and e-commerce beginning last spring amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers expect to see more local options across all categories at their neighborhood supermarkets.
“We are excited to partner with Bashas’ to help bring consumers closer to the wonderful and growing diversity of local growers and makers in Arizona,” said Joe Blunda, CEO of Portland, Maine-based Forager, which “allows grocers to overcome the challenges that have hindered their local purchasing in the past to finally meet consumers’ demand for locally sourced food. We continue to close the gap between grocers and suppliers to build direct relationships, and help our partners like Bashas’ build a lasting competitive advantage that will drive foot traffic into stores to get these products as society continues to reopen in the coming months.”
According to a recent Forager survey, 93% of Americans think that grocers have a key part to play in supporting local farmers and food producers.
Providing efficient ordering processes and program management for independent grocers, Forager has doubled both its served store footprint and active supplier base since this past summer, adding 50 new vendors across both fresh and nonperishable suppliers and product bases. The company works with retailers in 13 states, including New England grocer Roche Bros., with hundreds of local farmers, fishers, and makers in its network, and considerable additional growth of the program is anticipated this year.
Bashas’ Market Inc. is a family-owned company based in Chandler, Arizona. Its brands include Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets. The company is No. 73 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food retailers in North America.