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Farm Boy—a holistic approach to sustainability

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Consumers typically have two options for groceries: to either shop at a big box store or visit a small local market. Enter Ottawa-based, fresh market grocer, Farm Boy a retailer that provides an interesting bridge to this gap. The company doesn’t consider itself a grocery store, but would rather be considered a “fresh food experience”. Farm Boy places major emphasis on taking a collaborative, open approach with local farmers. In 2015, CEO Jeff York told Canadian Grocer: “We’re dedicated to putting the products out in a way that people should be consuming them and leading a better lifestyle.”

READ: Farm Boy’s Jeff York on mega growth and succeeding in fresh

Farm Boy recently opened its latest store in Pickering, Ont., with major plans to expand in the downtown Toronto core. As new locations pop up, it is evident the company is creating a dominant role for itself in the grocer industry in Canada. The reason? Farm Boy is tapping into two mega trends: a healthy, clean, local diet and sustainability. These trends are brought to life throughout the company’s operations. It’s this kind of innovative thinking that’s dramatically contributing to the company’s bottom line. Farm Boy is leading the charge in the sector with its holistic approach to looking at purpose, innovation and sustainability.

Consumers are increasingly using their purchasing decisions to reflect the values and issues they would like to make an impact on, and it’s the companies that have responded to these trends that have gained recognition in the marketplace. For Farm Boy, sustainability is at the core of its business. The company places emphasis on working with local farmers and suppliers, and the products tap into trends on simple and fresh quality foods.

Farm Boy’s ability to engage with local farmers is unprecedented. Consumers want information about what they’re eating and, as a response to this, Farm Boy has created an open door policy with local community farmers so they can come into the store and demo their products.

Farm Boy demonstrates the importance of looking at your market in a completely different way. At Kruger Products, we’ve taken a similar approach. We’ve seen firsthand the potential for innovation in sustainability to dramatically improve both the top line and bottom line.

As companies continue to grapple with building relevance and meaning, while facing increased demands among consumers and employees, it is increasingly clear that sustainability needs to be looked at from a holistic approach—rather than an afterthought.

As companies we must ask ourselves: how are we going to be relevant in five years? And how are we going to meet consumers’ demands to sell products that reflect their values?

Buckle up. There is a whole new world coming.

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