Growing local content in Quebec

As part of a pilot program, Metro is creating branded videos that put regional, family-owned food producers front and centre.

Metro is producing a series of branded videos that puts the products of regional, family-owned food producers front and centre as the chain continues to position itself as a provider of locally-produced food.

In a series of three videos, farmers and suppliers from Quebec’s Eastern Townships are profiled, showing the work that they put into the products that end up on store shelves. The campaign was developed internally at Metro, with assistance from local grower support organization Aliments du Québec, as well as Conseil de l’industrie bioalimentaire de l’Estrie, an organization promoting bio-food growth in the Eastern Townships region. The videos will appear on YouTube and the websites of Metro and the partner organizations, and will also be pushed through Metro’s Quebec Facebook page and the newsletter sent to members of the store’s loyalty program.

“We really wanted a communication strategy that is grassroots,” says Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director of corporate affairs and corporate responsibility at Metro. “We really want to understand the human story behind the products and hope that will drive engagements between these growers and our customers. It also [drives] customers that are already looking to buy more local products to find ways to encourage their community to eat and buy local.”

Bacon says that once her company sees how these three videos perform, it will explore the possibility of producing more, not only for suppliers in the Eastern Townships but in the Lanaudière and Chaudiere Appalache regions of Quebec. The three regions were all the focus of a pilot project Metro launched last year with help from the regional food boards to promote locally-produced products, a method of differentiating the grocery chain in a way that is similar to what is being done at Metro stores in Ontario.

While some of the suppliers profiled are only available in their local Metro locations, Bacon says the hope is that they will see the opportunity to grow their business as the chain grows its connection with them.

Metro currently has 131 locations and 89 larger Metro Plus stores in Quebec. One of those is a newly-opened location in Lac-Mégantic, which is why the nearby Eastern Townships were chosen as the focus of the first series of videos.

Bacon says that a digital video series pushed online is a good opportunity for Metro to reach its audience because if they’re online, they’re looking for information about their interests.

“It’s not everybody, but if it’s on our website, Facebook page and we push it right to the loyalty members, it’s people who are looking for that information,” she says. “It’s also social and it could be a mass audience but it allows us to be very targeted. It’s going to be relevant to the people that do see it and because they like it, they are going to share it with others.”