(Aug. 27, 11:18 a.m.) Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. is giving Canadians what they want — local produce.

According to surveys conducted in July by Loblaws, an overwhelming majority of Canadians — 86% — said they prefer to buy Canadian-grown produce if they have the option.

But, according to the survey, only 28% believe that major grocery stores carry a wide selection of Canadian-grown produce.

To counter that, Loblaws has launched a promotion, “Grown Close to Home,” which features 150-180 Canadian-grown produce items in its stores.

The program runs through Sept. 12, said Diane Sidik, a public relations representative for Loblaws.

Loblaws spent more than $750 million on Canadian-grown produce in 2007, about 25% of its produce selection at a given time.

To promote the program, the company filmed a series of advertisements on location with growers from across the country that are scheduled run nationwide in Canada.

All stores feature signage for the program along with special displays in key areas.

“They are really giving that a push and produce will be featured at the front of the store,” Sidik said.

The company also put new content on its Web site that includes information about growers supported by Loblaws divided into regions — West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. About 10 growers per region are featured.

The site features different types of Canadian-grown produce, a food guide with historical and nutrition information and selected recipes.

Loblaws promoting produce ‘Grown Close to Home’
In its “Grown Close to Home” program, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. is promoting Canadian-grown produce through in-store displays, television spots and Web content that features about 10 growers per region.