Introducing Localize

Launching March 1st – Localize: an exciting new way to find local products and support local businesses at The Big Carrot.

Long before the rise of farmers’ markets and niche food delivery services in Toronto, The Big Carrot has been the go-to-grocer for purchasing unique, Ontario foods and products in Toronto. They are pioneers in the organic sector, becoming Ontario’s first certified organic retailer in 2009. As of March 1st, they will continue to lead by example by supporting local producers with the launch of Localize, an award-winning shelf-labelling service that will highlight over 1100 Ontario-made products from 116 Ontario-owned businesses.

According to Maureen Kirkpatrick, Standards Coordinator, the program will “help feature, not only our local growers, but also the many Ontario manufacturers and businesses that we work with at the Big Carrot. Our Shoppers want more local food and Localize makes it easier than ever to identify these brands.”

The Big Carrot is the first store in Ontario to work with Localize

In fact, the Big Carrot is the first store in Ontario to work with Localize. “It’s a complement to our organization’s vision of building a service that shares better food information at the shelf’s edge,” says Meghan Dear, Founder and CEO. “We’re giving Torontonians the ability to shop without worry, armed with the right information at hand. We’re honored to be partner with a like-minded retailer who values transparency and exemplifies strong support for the local community.”

About Localize

It all started with one question: “Where does our food come from?” Amidst the rise of the ‘farm-to-table movement’, Meghan realized something was missing – the retail shelf. Frustrated by the lack of information available in-store, her team created a quick and easy way for shoppers to get the food facts that matter most: the Localize shelf-label. Founded in 2011, we are based in Edmonton, with an office in Toronto and preliminary expansion into the US.  A social enterprise, Localize has grown to work with over 250 (mostly co-operative) retailers, 600 producers with 10,000 products. The company won the Fast Growth Grand Prize in 2014 at the Venture Prize awards in Alberta, and Good Deals Canada in 2013 as best social business case. We are a proud B-Corporation and WageMark certified company and care deeply about how we care for our employees and the impact of our work.

So far we have seen an average 9.6% increase in yearly sales of products with the Localize.  This means an increased shift towards locally owned companies and our local economies. But we’re not just a shelf-labeling service and we are not only about local. Behind Localize is a dedicated team that’s passionate about transparency. No grey areas or awkward pauses – just straight up facts to make food shopping simple.

How The Localize Label Works

Look for the Powered by Localize labels in all departments of The Big Carrot!

At first glance, you will see where the company is owned and where the product is made.  The score provides an overall measure of how local a product is compared to the location of the store on a scale of 0-10. Additionally, bonus points are awarded for products that are certified organic, certified fair-trade and Marine Stewardship Council approved. Using a smartphone, shoppers can scan the QR (Quick Response) code to instantly get the story of how the product was made, what went into, who made it and where.

The Localize Score breakdown

The bottom line is that we aim to provide a service that shoppers can use to learn more about where their food is from and to give them the choice to support local products and companies more easily at grocery stores.  Since only producers that score 7/10 or higher have been invited to ‘get Localized’, you can be confident that by purchasing a product that is powered by Localize you will be making a positive impact on communities throughout Toronto and Ontario.

To learn more about how Localize or to find a Localized product, please visit our website:  http://www.localizeyourfood.com


Spencer Fowlie – Producer Relations Manager

(1) Serecon Services Inc (2014). Localize’s Impact in Calgary Co-op. Download Study