Big Y World Class Markets has revealed its first connections with new local food producers through the New England grocer’s participation in the MassGrown Exchange, an initiative launched last month by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
The MassGrown Exchange is a business-to-business platform helping farmers, fishers, food buyers and agriculture-related businesses to connect, exchange and find products and services across Massachusetts. It was created to facilitate business-to-business connections within the local food system for products and services.
“Our administration developed MassGrown Exchange to serve as an important tool for the commonwealth’s agricultural and seafood industries to expand business opportunities and access new markets, and improve food security for the people of Massachusetts,” noted Baker, adding that that through the platform, various businesses would be able to source locally caught and produced food more efficiently.
Big Y is the first supermarket in Massachusetts to use the exchange to source more local products for their customers. The grocer learned of the MassGrown Exchange through its membership in the Massachusetts Food Association, which served on the state’s task force to develop the resource.
Big Y has already begun working with the following local producers from the MassGrown Exchange to sell their products in local Big Y markets:
- Beverly: New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, organic delicata squash, curly and Lacinato kale, cabbage and tomatoes
- Newton: Tanuk Inc./Meal Mantra, all-natural Indian curry sauces, casein and spices
- Peabody: Giuseppe Argentieri Mozzarella House, all-natural small-batch mozzarella
- Shelburne Falls: Hager’s Farm Market, pure maple syrup
- Topsfield: Elizabeth Mulholland Valley View Farm, goat cheese
- Wellfleet: Field Point Oyster farm, oysters
- Worcester: Alicia’s Homemade Sauces and Spice Co., all-natural, gluten-free sauces and spices
- Worthington: Just a Mere Tree Farm, granola, maple syrup, pancake mix
These producers join Big Y’s existing roster of local partners selling fruits, vegetables, seafood and other artisanal products in the retailer’s stores. More than 3,000 local products are available at a typical Big Y supermarket.
According to Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, although the platform was created to address pandemic-related disruptions to the local food supply, it will continue to benefit the state’s food system long after COVID-19 is no longer a threat.
“We are grateful to all who helped to make the MassGrown Exchange a reality,” said Big Y President and CEO Charles L. D’Amour. “It is a valuable tool for our buyers to enhance our local product offerings for our customers throughout the year. These new local producers will be joining our family of over 500 local partnerships. Our goal is to use all of our resources to continue to add more and more local products to our markets. We appreciate everyone’s role in this important initiative, including the essential work of the Massachusetts Food Association in shepherding this entire process.”
One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Springfield, Massachusetts-based Big Y operates 82 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, including 71 supermarkets, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors, and 10 Big Y Express gas and convenience locations, with almost 12,000 employees. The company is No. 72 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.