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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Local flavors go farther as dips, condiments expand their reach through grocery stores, growing their distribution

A growing number of people prefer to buy food grown or produced close to home.

From Wisconsin stalwarts like beer and cheese to worldly newcomers like salsa and hummus, Chippewa Valley shoppers have plenty of local food options in the area’s major supermarkets.

In an era when much of the food market has gone global, the local food movement has the potential to benefit both consumers and producers in the region.

Eau Claire’s largest grocer, Festival Foods, which now has three supermarkets in the city, has gotten the message.

“Festival Foods loves to support local where it makes sense,” said Brian Stenzel, community involvement director for the Onalaska-based grocer. “For Festival Foods, we are a statewide company and consider products sourced throughout Wisconsin to be local. We give most any items a try that our guests request as long as it is up to the Festival Foods standards.”

While Stenzel acknowledged local food still accounts for a relatively small share of Festival’s overall sales, the company’s North Clairemont Avenue location alone carries more than 100 products from more than two dozen regional suppliers.

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