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Artisan bakery matches ciabatta with Camembert at Thrifty Foods

June 12, 2014
Thrifty Foods Red Seal Baker leads the way with new workmate, "Oscar"

Victoria, B.C. - San Francisco-trained Red Seal Baker Seth Gustavson, Thrifty Foods Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Ralf Mundel, and Bakery Category Manager Meghan Parkhouse were joined by a crowd of onlookers, samplers, and staff at Thrifty Foods Admirals Walk Thursday for the "breaking of the bread". A large artisan crust was cracked in honour of the opening of the new Thrifty Foods Bakery Department, known as The Hearth, and Gustovson explained what gives the new Thrifty Foods bread its local terroir.

"Just like with wine, where each vineyard has specific qualities that contribute to the flavour and body of the final product, artisan bread starters have their own unique profile," said Gustovson. "We made Oscar from whole-grain flour and water. But that's only the beginning! Other factors such as wild yeast, location, and elevation also play a role in the flavour of our hand-crafted artisan loaves."

The new bakery at Thrifty Foods Admirals Walk is a pilot project that the team plans to bring to more stores on Vancouver Island in the near future, and - if successful - may expand to all 26 Thrifty Foods locations in years to come. The Hearth marks Thrifty Foods as the first grocery retailer in Canada to make and sell true artisan breads from scratch, in-store, using their own starter.

"The Hearth is all about our customers," said Mundel. "We've been taking note of our Thrifty Foods customer comments, suggestions, preferences, passions - you name it - and all of that wonderful input has fed into this project. Our community of food enthusiasts has told us that flavour matters, and the pedigree of each product matters. Now, we have true artisan breads in store that begin with our Red Seal Bakers and end with food discovery!"

Thrifty Foods ( was founded in 1977 in Victoria, BC. Today, Thrifty Foods, a banner of Sobeys Inc., has a total of 26 retail grocery stores across the Lower Mainland, throughout Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island.

About Sobeys Inc.

Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians for 107 years. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX:EMP.A), Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton's Drug Stores as well as more than 330 retail fuel locations. Sobeys and its franchise affiliates employ more than 124,000 people. The company's goal is to be widely recognized as the best food retailer and workplace environment in Canada. More information on Sobeys Inc. can be found at


For more information, please contact:

Erin Coulson
Manager, Communications
Thrifty Foods
Tel: (250) 483-1659   Cell: (250) 216-7007

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