Canada-based food retailer Loblaw Companies is planning to invest $150m per year in sourcing local fresh produce until 2025.

The decision is aimed to reduce dependence on international farmers, which are often relied on due to the short growing seasons and climate in Canada.

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As part of this initiative, the food retailer will work directly with local farms to implement innovative growing methods and plant non-traditional crops. The local fresh produce will feature a ‘Grown in Canada’ label.

Loblaw Companies chairman and CEO Galen G Weston said: “For decades, we have worked with local farmers to feed our national appetite for Canadian-grown food.

“We’re investing in Canadian innovation, supporting local farmers, extending shelf life to offer fresher goods, serving new tastes, and helping the environment.”

“We are applying new resources to accelerate that work, helping Canadian farmers find new opportunities to provide global products and year-round freshness, grown right here at home.”

Loblaw is also working with Canadian indoor farmers and greenhouses to ensure a steady supply of fresh local produce in all seasons.

The company sources a large amount of its produce from Canadian farmers, working with around 300 domestic growers. The retailer already sources Canadian-grown berries through its President’s Choice brand and has introduced a pilot programme with a vertical farm operation in Newfoundland to deliver fresh produce to its store shelves.

Loblaw Companies produce procurement lead Frank Pagliaro said: “This effort is a large and logical extension of commitments we’ve been making for decades.

“We’re investing in Canadian innovation, supporting local farmers, extending shelf life to offer fresher goods, serving new tastes, and helping the environment by reducing food waste and the carbon footprint generated by international shipments. And, our customers love every one of these details.”

Loblaw Companies currently operates more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations under various brands, including Loblaws, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills.