Safeway's 'Buy Alberta' campaign seems to have good intentions – to encourage shoppers to purchase locally grown or manufactured food items – but one Reddit user says mislabelled items are misleading the consumer.
Reddit user faithlovehappiness posted three photos to the link share site, titling the post "Safeway Blatantly Lies to Its Customers! Their whole "Buy Alberta" campaign is BS!!"
According to the store's "Buy Alberta" signs, shoppers can "look for this icon to discover delicious Alberta foods," but faithlovehappiness has found multiple instances where advertised items don't appear to be local at all.
"In July I went into Safeway (813 11 Ave SW, Calgary) to purchase groceries and noticed the “buy Alberta” sign. I was going to buy the plums no matter what but I thought what a wonderful bonus, however, as I was putting them in the bag I noticed the USA tag on the actual plum (well, duh....should clued in before that)," faithlovehappiness wrote.
A month later, the observant shopper noticed an incorrectly labelled jar of peabutter that appears to come from Ontario. (To be fair, the contact information for the manufacturer of the peabutter is listed in Alberta, so perhaps the distribution company is located in Ontario.)
Similarly, a few weeks back, faithlovehappiness found kale advertised as a "Product of Canada," but the accompanying tag shows the produce, in fact, comes from Oxnard, CA.
Dozens of other commenters have weighed in on what could possibly be causing the mixup.
"I figured out they were just putting tags on those things at random when they had one on Mountain Dew," wrote Aquatakat.
"Welcome to the crazy labelling laws in Canada," wrote datainpeakperformanc.
"Grow a veggie in the States, ship the entire plant to Alberta, cut the greens off, now it's 'produced' in Alberta."
Perhaps Safeway is not paying close enough attention to where their labels go, or as hypr2013, a former grocery store worker explained:
"oh i might have an answer, if it is in a grocery store, 'the product of wherever' actually has to be accurate the may have failed to update when they forgot that the produce wasn't coming from Alberta, and if a food inspector checks the store can get in trouble for a mismatch or discrepancy of where the item comes from. (Can Confirm I used to work in produce) when we had apples coming from the US, we had to make a new sign printed off reflecting the new area it is from.)"
UPDATE: 3:55 p.m. – Canada Safeway responded to the Huffington Post Alberta, admitting the sign placement for the peabutter was, in fact, human error.
"Whether it was a result of human error, customer placement or employee placement, we are sorry for the confusion," said Betty Kellsey, public affairs spokesperson with Canada Safeway.
She said the company is addressing the issue with its stores, but said customers should be looking for signs attached below the item for indication of 'Buy Alberta' – the picture with the sign above plums is merely an program promotion and not necessarily indicating the plums are from Alberta.
When in doubt, she said a list of participating foods can be found at buyalbertafoods.com.
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