10 grocers and food purveyors Loblaws should buy next
Last week came the news that Loblaws acquired Arz Fine Foods, meaning that kefta and kadaifi might soon be as ubiquitous as sushi and edamame at your neighbourhood grocer. In 2009, the company bought Asian supermarket chain T&T, the first clear sign our country's largest grocer was aiming to expand its offerings and capabilities to appeal to a more diverse range of Canadian palates. Which got me thinking...what would be my fantasy list of local grocers and food purveyors that could continue to add a little spice and flavour to Loblaws' current inventory - and whose goods I wouldn't mind seeing more widely available to the masses?
Here's my list of 10 Toronto grocers and food purveyors Loblaws should buy next.
Sure T&T stocks kimchi and bonito broth, that doesn't mean the giant retailer shouldn't sharpen their focus on more specifically Korean foodstuffs. The GTA's largest Korean grocer with locations on York Mills and Yonge and Steeles stocks savoury pancake mixes, fermented seasonings and prepared banchans that may have become commonplace in my diet, but not yet at my nearest grocer.
The Mexican food mart supplies fresh tortillas to most of the taquerias in town. Loblaws might already have Weston and Ace Bakery but a fresh tortilla stand mixed in with their bread counter sure would make me happy. If Walmart can make this work in Mexico I'm sure Galen Weston and the brains at Loblaws can find a way to get it done here.
The Polish supermarket chain operates on a large scale that Loblaws might find especially attractive. With locations in Mississaugua and Hamilton, this chain would greatly add to Loblaws' current repertoire of kielbasa and paczki. Just imagine the endless bags of frozen pierogi layed out in the freezer beside the PC Organics Canadian Wild Blueberries.
Since we're talking Europe, we might as well include Yummy Market in the conversation. Their stores in Maple and North York specialize in Eastern European goods like traditional Russian rye breads, kefir products and cured seafoods. The selection of pickled fishes and caviars sold by weight would fit in nicely next to the self-serve oyster bars that have been popping up at some Loblaws locations.
Filipino food is slowly pushing its way into the mainstream so it's about time Loblaws got with the program and acquired a Filipino grocer like FV Foods. With six locations in the GTA, they've got the goods to help strike a deal with Loblaws to introduce specialities like banana ketchup and cassava cake to soccer moms the city over.
Sultan of Samosas
Now that Loblaws has gotten a dose of China and the Middle East it's about time they turn their focus to the Indian Subcontinent. And what better way to bulk up on the selection of Indian goods by starting with a selection of freshly friend fritters and samosas. Whether available at a hot counter for immediate consumption or frozen for take-home, these tasty treats would offer a savoury alternate to the grocer's endless rows of colourful cupcakes.
The Australian meat pie company has secured their first retail outlet on Duncan St. after a successful crowdsourcing campaign. But while we wait for the store to open, let's dream about how awesome it would be if the flaky buttery shells filled with butter chicken or steak n' bacon were conveniently available citywide.
Mexican baked goods are more than just tortillas. If this Mexican bakery were to be acquired by Loblaws the joy of hand-wrapped tamales and fresh empanadas would be a major upgrade from the current line-up of sub-standard sushi, BBQ chicken, meat and potato-heavy prepared foods on offer.
Along the same lines as expanding Loblaw's Mexican offerings, it'd be great to bulk up the current selection of Carribean food stuffs. Locally-made Jamaican patties, coco buns and even bottled hot sauce would find themselves on my shopping list more frequently if only they were more readily available.
Loblaws has already, in recent years beefed up the availability of traditionally raised meats at its butcher counters. While it might not be plausible to roll out Canada-wide, a network of like-mind suppliers could mean exceptional meat would available without the separate shopping trip.
How did I do? What local grocers and food purveyors do you think could up the shopping experience at your local Loblaws?