Local grocer heading in fresh new direction

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Sobeys Morinville franchise Stuart Trenchard holds his new Better Food For All concept store flyer prior to the launch Friday. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Mornville – Sobeys franchise owner Stuart Trenchard is excited about a new fresh direction he and fellow Sobeys stores are unveiling for their customers this week. The company has teamed with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to bring a healthier choice to the grocery chain.

“We weren’t taking control of people’s food,” Tranchard said of the industry’s position of straddling the fence. “We weren’t giving them the healthiest options. What Sobeys chose to do is jump off the fence. They got on board with Jamie Oliver and created this Better Food For All rally.”

The initiative takes a similar approach to Oliver’s work with schools and brings it to the grocery aisle. Trenchard said the initiative includes some commitments to shoppers: 100 per cent guarantee on food that is a sustainable product that is better for consumers. “Our produce department is our big jumping off point,” he said, adding his new produce manager is working hard to ensure the store carries the freshest products possible. “He’s working hard with all our people to make sure they understand what top quality produce means. We had some issues with quality before and we’re making sure we are not leaving our shrink out on the counter. We are making sure we have the top quality produce in town and then making sure we’ve expanded our assortment so we have everybody’s cooking needs taken care of.”

Trenchard said the program continues to what they are calling their three humane proteins – pork, chicken and beef, the latter from a ranch just outside Calgary. “It’s humane meat. No growth hormones, no steroids, and the animals are allowed to do what they are built to do, to go out and enjoy just eating off the range,” he said. “Nobody was taking control of the food. Nobody was making sure that our food resources were sustainable. Nobody was taking a big stance on it and we felt somebody needed to step forward and take control of making sure people had good affordable food that was good for you. That is what Sobeys has decided to do.”

The Morinville Sobeys will now carry a larger variety of health foods, including chia seeds, hemp seeds and a variety of natural source foods. The Deli will carry a new line of Schwartz’s Montréal smoked meat sandwiches and the bakery is launching a new line of 24 varieties of Artisan breads.

Local cooperation

Beyond the expanded offerings of healthier and fresher products, the Morinville store is taking a fresh look at local collaboration. Trenchard is partnering with local chef Mark Swerda who will come to the store on a regular basis to teach people some recipes. Those recipes extend beyond customers to Trenchard’s staff as well. “It’s about teaching our team how to cook better and how to recommend with passion,” Trenchard said.

But it is more than employee and customer passion Sobeys is catering to locally. Tranchard has partnered with Morinville Community High School teacher Neil Korotash and his new Urban Agriculture class to offer assistance and will be working with Notre Dame’s Green Team and a new program at Primeau. Trenchard said the Urban Agriculture class would grow fresh herbs for Sobeys who will sell them to help fund the program at the high school. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re doing and it fits in with the Town’s [slogan] Growing Together,” he said. “How much better can you get.”

Sobeys will be launching the new Better Food For All approach Friday at the store with a customer barbecue with entertainment and plenty of in-store demonstrations.

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7 Comments

  1. I think this program is fantastic and I’m really glad to see somebody who is so understanding of the needs of the community, Stu, being the store owner to bring this type of commitment to Morinville. I can’t wait to see our local Chef teaching local residents recipies and about healthy living. Stu is another reason why Morinville is such a great community to live in and how important sustainability is. I look forward to great quality foods and an expanded variety of options at the store.

  2. Just wanted to thank Sobeys for moving in this new and exciting direction and becoming involved.
    Linda and Cliff

  3. This is fantastic! Sobey’s and their staff need to be applauded for caring about not only my health and well being but that of the entire community. A lot of people are still unaware of the company called Monsanto governing our food sources with genetically modified organisms (GMO), that are literally, insidiously, and slowly killing us. One does not have to research very far to find the evidence. Thanks also for bringing attention to the condition of our meats and the way in which they are cared for. Again, most people are not aware of all the hormones and chemicals ingested by factory farmed animals, much less the way they are slaughtered. Scientific study has shown that even the way the animal is slaughtered has a deep impact on our health.

    Sobey’s is the first in our community to step up and take the lead in making the shift to better health and well being for us all. I am honored to shop there.

    Thank you Stuart!!

    Cheryl Brown CFLC

  4. Stu, I am really looking forward to the changes. It will be great to be able to access local, healthy products! What an excellent idea to partner with the Urban Ag. Class! You and your staff are to be commended to not only raising the bar on quality and service but also to your commitment to the community. I wish you all the best in this new direction.

  5. Absolutely awesome.
    It’s about time a grocery chain takes initiative to change what people are consuming.
    Education is essential in ‘teaching old dogs new tricks’ per say. Love the concept of the local chef taking stage in Sobeys. Hats off to hormone free meat.
    Sobeys is a leader. You’ve set the Bar, now execute and excel. Change the Pepsi generation!!

  6. This is WONDERFUL!! Stu – I commend you for drawing outside the lines, your store will certainly become a successful new focus. Thank you for saving us trips into the city 🙂

  7. FANTASTIC!! I saw the new commercial this morning actually with Jamie Oliver and Sobey’s. Congrats to the owner Stu for doing these changes. Your store and the products you offer are NOT just a benefit to Morinville. Many Gibbons,Bon Accord and county residents are regular shoppers at Sobey’s in Morinville………including me. I am regular shopper. I also have been a HUGE fan of Jamie Oliver for many years already. Watched all his shows and own 4 of his cook books. I look forward to seeing the changes and additions in the store as I shop there. Hmmmm, maybe it’ll be time soon to add on to your store? you may need the additional room.

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