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Loblaw Cos. Ltd.'s customers should soon find an even better shopping experience at its produce departments across Canada.

The country's largest retailer recently implemented a new "Field-to-Fork" program, with "the end goal being to put fresher, higher-quality product in the hands of our customers," the program's director, Mike Mauti, told The Produce News Feb. 11.

Mr. Mauti, who has been with Loblaw since 1995 and most recently served as a senior category director of the produce business unit, said that "we have been looking at most of the pillars of the business including our vendors, product assortments, product quality, logistics, merchandising and operations - essentially, from once it gets picked in the fields to what we do until it is purchased by our customers."

He said that the company has been working on the project for the last couple of months and expected it to last for a year.

"We have been doing exploratory research and will be working on development and implementation over the next year," he said.

While there have not been any discussions on a consumer-marketing program to publicize the initiative, Mr. Mauti said that Loblaw "hoped to achieve a higher level of freshness and quality that the customer will see at store level, specifically, an eating experience superior to the industry's current standard."