Supermarket chain Meijer, Michigan State University partner on 'Made in Michigan' initiative, featuring Michigan-made food products in dedicated sections of stores

EAST LANSING, Michigan , January 25, 2012 () – The Michigan State University Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Meijer launched the “Made in Michigan” initiative to strengthen the state’s economy by supporting Michigan small businesses.

The initiative will launch Jan. 29 when nearly 50 new items – including marinara sauce, blueberry butter, gluten-free baking mixes and gourmet seasoning – fill designated areas in Meijer stores from Grand Rapids to Metro Detroit and Gaylord to Ann Arbor. These items will join dozens of other Michigan products available throughout the store, including locally grown produce.

The initiative is expected to be an ongoing feature within Meijer and is expected to have a $400,000 economic impact statewide, said Matt Birbeck, MSU Product Center project manager.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this program,” Birbeck said. “Working with Meijer to implement a dedicated Michigan section for its customers is a win-win situation for everybody. MSU Product Center clients have a unique opportunity to be seen on a larger scale and increasing the selection of fantastic Michigan products at Meijer. Customers can truly buy local in their neighborhood Meijer stores.”

Meijer worked with the MSU Product Center for about a year to bring the project to fruition. Meijer selected 22 Michigan vendors to participate in the inaugural launch with the help from the center to ensure all the suppliers had the right food protocols and supply chain procedures. The items are expected to remain on the shelves for a year and may eventually branch out chainwide. The Michigan items will further be promoted to Meijer customers in weekly ads.

“Meijer is always pleased to support Michigan businesses,” Meijer Co-Chairman and CEO Hank Meijer. “Also, there is tremendous interest from our customers to buy local and to support local businesses. That is why we continuously increase the amount of products we purchase from local suppliers and companies. This partnership with the MSU Product Center presents a great opportunity to enhance our selection of Michigan made products and produce, further making Meijer the place for one-stop shopping.”

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