Whole Foods looks for local food suppliers for Lansdowne store
Trendy retailer has strict conditions about what ingredients can be used
Mandi Lunan, founder of Auntie Loo's Treats, has been selling vegan cupcakes, squares and cookies for 10 years in Ottawa and said she's interested.
"It would be wonderful to be there," she said.
"A lot of our target market will probably be shopping there and a lot of folks that don't know about us will probably be shopping there as well."
Different platform than a farmer's market
Savour Ottawa, a group representing about 90 Ottawa-area farmers, said a spot on Whole Foods shelves would help local companies expand their reach.
"Farmers need to know there's a market for them, and not just a farmer's market — a secure, ongoing market," said Savour Ottawa's Jantine Van Kregten.
"By having more people in the marketplace looking for those local goods, that raises demand and that allows farmers to make an investment and improve and expand their offerings."
Lunan said she and other local producers met with Whole Foods in January to go over their guidelines, which include no artificial colours or flavours.
"At the meeting they asked to see an ingredient list, they wanted to make sure everything was clean and that was no problem for us," she said.
"We never use any petroleum-derived extracts, a lot of the little extracts you see at the grocery store like lemon… are actually derived from gas."
She said she hopes to hear this summer about whether the chain will carry Auntie Loo's goods, and if they do, there's a chance they could be sold at Whole Foods in other parts of the country.
A spokesperson for Whole Foods said their search for local goods won't stop when the Lansdowne Park store opens later this year.