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Volume 38, No. 2

What is Local?

Major grocery chains make their own definitions

Walmart recently announced a pledge to double the amount of produce it purchases from local growers by 2015, with the three-pronged goal of saving on fuel costs, reducing spoilage and catering to a growing consumer appetite for local produce.

But while Walmart defines "local" as grown and sold in the same state, your grocery store might have a different definition for the term.

The Wall Street Journal's recently provided definitions of "local" produce at three major national grocery chains:

Safeway (including Dominick's, Genuardi's, Von's, Randall's and others): Produce isn't "local" if it requires more than an eight hours on the road to reach the store.

Kroger (including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry's and others): Doesn't put a strict definition on the term, saying it "can refer to produce grown in the same state or within the same region of the country."

Supervalu (including most Albertsons stores, Acme, Shaw's Jewel-Osco and others): Though Supervalu tells the Journal that it buys between 25-40% of its produce locally, "local" can mean something different at each of the company's subsidiary brands.

Whole Food's website states: "Local produce is by definition seasonal.  While only products that have traveled less than a day (7 or fewer hours by car or truck) can even be considered for "local" designation, most stores have established even shorter maximum distances. Ask a team member for your store's definition of "local."



For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠