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Giant Food Stores, LLC has received the Leadership Award for Excellence in Agriculture from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, recognizing the Ahold USA-owned chain for its strong partnership with the department's "PA Preferred" program, which promotes foods grown or processed in the state.
"Giant has been a part of the buy-local movement for the past 85 years, and we're proud of this long-standing tradition of supporting local growers and manufacturers," said Giant e.v.p. for sales and merchandising Jeff Martin. "As a food retailer, we take seriously our commitment to keeping local agribusiness in business."
Giant, one of four award recipients, and the only winner hailing from the retail sector, has participated in the program since its inception in January 2004.
Giant and PA Preferred, together with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and St. Joseph's University's School of Marketing, also host an annual spring trade show, introduced in 2007, at which local vendors introduce their products to Giant buyers.
Additionally, since November 2007 the chain has displayed PA Preferred products on exclusive racks in all of its Pennsylvania locations. Featured products rotate every 120 days, thereby enabling smaller producers to have a presence in the marketplace. The grocer employs signs in its stores to lead shoppers to local products and continues to support advertising efforts highlighting Pennsylvania agriculture.
Giant was last recognized for its leadership in the program by the state of Pennsylvania when it received the first-ever PA Preferred "Retailer of the Year" honor in 2006.
Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant operates stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia under the Giant Food Stores, Martin's Food Markets, and FoodSource banners.