ASHEVILLE NC – In 2012, Ingles’ shoppers can once again be sure that locally grown produce will be abundant at Ingles stores. The Buncombe County, NC, based grocer recently renewed their local food buying commitment through ASAP’s Appalachian Grown™ branding and certification program. The renewed partnership says not only that Ingles will continue to purchase products from area farms for the seventh year in a row, but that they’ll also continue to increase their local food buying.
“Ingles’ founder, Bob Ingle, had a deep commitment to local farms, and we continue that tradition today,” says Ron Freeman, the grocer’s CFO. “We’ve been an Appalachian Grown partner since ASAP began the program in late 2006, and our commitment has only grown over the years.”
Through ASAP’s Appalachian Grown program, area farms become certified as local family-owned operations. Businesses like Ingles become Appalachian Grown partner retailers to assure their customers that they buy fresh foods that support family farms, strengthen the local economy, preserve rural culture, and protect the region’s natural beauty.
“It’s important today as local becomes more and more popular—and often removed from its original meaning—to note that Ingles is committed to buying ‘certified local’ Appalachian Grown products. ASAP started Appalachian Grown so that Ingles’ customers and other area shoppers could be sure that ‘local’ food does in fact come from a local farm in WNC and the Southern Appalachian Mountains,” says Charlie Jackson, ASAP’s executive director.
In addition to the local food on shelves, Ingles’ relationship with ASAP and area farmers can be seen in farmer profiles created by the grocer and nonprofit. The profiles help shoppers “meet” the face behind their food. “Profiles hanging in the produce department speak to Ingles’ longtime dedication to local, and some even note that the farmers have been selling to Ingles for decades,” Jackson says.
ASAP’s 2011 consumer survey shows that shoppers care about that relationship—both with their food and that their grocer has with area farmers. Seventy-seven percent of respondents deemed local food an important consideration in choosing a grocery store, with over 55 percent mentioning Ingles as their grocery store of choice for locally grown food. The nonprofit estimates $62 million of local food was sold in the area in 2010. Says Jackson, “It’s clear that Ingles is a large contributor to that figure.”
Ingles Markets, Incorporated is a leading supermarket chain with operations in six southeastern states. Headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, the Company operates 203 supermarkets. In conjunction with its supermarket operations, the Company also operates 70 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 12 of which contain an Ingles supermarket. The Company’s Class A Common Stock is traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market’s Global Select Market under the symbol IMKTA. For more information about the Company, visit Ingles’ website at www.ingles-markets.com.
ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282. Browse their online Local Food Guide, in which Ingles is included, at buyappalachian.org.