Southeastern Grocers LLC, parent company of Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores, has introduced a local sourcing policy under which the company will source produce only from local Southeastern farms and orchards, whenever possible. Currently, up to 30 percent of Southeastern Grocers’ fresh in-season fruits and vegetables are sourced directly from the region.
“We are focused on providing our customers stunning fresh produce, which has been grown by our own neighbors, families and communities in the Southeast,” said Ian McLeod, president and CEO of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers. “Our new Local Sourcing Policy is a commitment to local farms and growers that will guide how we source produce from both market and farms directly.”
Added McLeod: “The numbers clearly confirm our customers prefer locally sourced produce. We sell more than 1 million pounds of local strawberries each month and more than 1.1 million pounds of local red potatoes a month each season!”
In keeping with its commitment, the company revealed set standards for fresh produce:
- Working with growers to provide a high standard of fresh produce planting, growing and harvesting.
- All produce to be inspected by the company’s growers, distribution centers and stores to provide the best-quality product for customers.
- Organic products to be sourced from certified-organic farmers who follow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for organic farming.
- Southeastern Grocers stores currently carry more than 150 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables sourced from the Southeast.
To help promote the new policy, celebrity chef Curtis Stone has embarked on a 700-mile tour of the region, visiting farms and growers.
Southeastern Grocers employs nearly 60,000 associates in about 750 grocery stores, 140 liquor stores and 500 in-store pharmacies throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.