Food Facts: Localize goes National

Meghan Dear’s business, Localize Your Food, has (ironically) thrived by going national

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Founder Meghan Dear says Localize’s national scope is the key to her success Photo Cooper & O’Hara

Megahn Dear founded Localize Your Food in 2011 as a way to quench ­customers’ thirst for knowledge about their foods. Based in Edmonton, ­Localize works with food producers, manufacturers and grocery stores to provide on-shelf labelling programs that identify where food has come from and how it was produced. The labels involved with these programs come with QR codes that customers can scan with their smartphones to view a summary about the products they want, and a food score based on how the product is produced.

Thriving during Alberta’s current economic downturn has not been an issue for Dear. “We can serve clients anywhere, and so for us that presents a lot of flexibility in terms of how we can respond to economic changes,” she explains. “We don’t have to be geographically bound, and so the crisis that is rooted in Alberta’s oil and gas, we are not largely impacted by that. We are the other face of Alberta, the technology and services-focused Alberta.”

Last year, the company more than doubled its staff, and it has opened an office in Toronto. Localize partnered with The Big Carrot, Toronto’s largest organic grocery store, in March of this year. Dear admits that although Localize is headquartered in Edmonton, the opportunity to open up a second office out east was necessary for the company to grow and prosper. This growth is nothing to sneeze at considering that Localize is still in its startup mode, Dear says.

Even with plans to expand, Meghan praises Alberta for becoming a haven for her business. “I really don’t think Localize would be here if we hadn’t started in Alberta,” she says. “People were willing to take a greater risk with us at an early stage than I think they would have elsewhere.”

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