The labels will read ‘Made in Alberta by Albertans’
By Diego Flammini
The Alberta government will be engaging with farmers, processors and consumers this summer on new local food labels.
The new labels will read ‘Made in Alberta by Albertans’ for farmers and processors to use on their products.
These labels will help consumers identify locally produced food while shopping.
“These days, people want to know where their food comes from, and this will make it a lot easier for them to choose food from Alberta,” Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s agriculture minister, said in a July 10 statement. “When you buy Alberta food, you are supporting another Alberta family. It keeps money in your community and in our province.”
Minister Dreeshen also announced the labels at the Millarville Farmers’ Market.
The summer consultations will include the label design and rules for using the label on different food products.
The food and beverage processing sector is one of the largest employers in Alberta.
It employs about 28,000 workers and recorded food manufacturing sales of $15.5 billion in 2020.
Other provinces have similar local food programs in place.
The Ontario government, for example, set up Foodland Ontario in 1977 with the ‘Good Things Grow in Ontario’ slogan to draw consumers to Ontario products.
And as of 2016, 93 per cent of Ontario shoppers recognize the Foodland Ontario symbol.
But setting up such a program is no small task.
Rules must be developed and enforced to ensure the products showing a logo are adhering to the standards set out by program organizers.
“It’s not trivial to set up such a program because you need to have criteria for what constitutes local,” Ellen Goddard, a professor and ag economist at the University of Alberta, told CBC’s Edmonton AM. “You need to have a process for vetting people applying to be able to use the logo on what they sell.”
Farms.com has contacted members of the Alberta ag community for comment.