Monday, August 15, 2011

Local Produce

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”
 Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass (1872)

Are you a locavore? Someone who tries to buy and eat food that is grown locally? That's a great idea for saving energy and helping the local economy but there is just one problem? What does "local" mean?

Last October, Walmart announced a pledge to double the amount of produce it purchases from local growers by 2015. For Walmart "local" is defined as grown in the same state in which it is sold.

The Wall Street Journal asked three other grocery stores how they define local:

* Safeway (including Dominick's, Genuardi's, Von's, Randall's and others): Produce is "local" if the transportation to the store by truck takes eight hours or less.

* Kroger (including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry's and others):  says local "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): "local" can mean something different at each of the company's subsidiary brands.

Bottom Line

Beware of buzz words like lite, low-fat, and now "local". It can mean whatever the grocery store wants it to mean.

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