Thrifty Foods Launches Artisan Bakery

Smart businesses understand that the way to evolve is by listening to their customers. That’s exactly why Thrifty Foods has launched The Hearth, an in-store artisan bakery at Thrifty’s Admirals Walk location in Greater Victoria.

“Our community of food enthusiasts has told us that flavour matters, and the pedigree of each product matters,” says Thrifty Foods’ director of marketing Ralf Mundel. “Now, we have true artisan breads in store that begin with our Red Seal Bakers and end with food discovery.”

The Hearth 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.

Mundel, along with San Francisco-trained Red Seal Baker Seth Gustavson and Thrifty Foods senior and bakery category manager Meghan Parkhouse, were joined at the June 12 launch by a crowd of onlookers, samplers and staff at Thrifty Foods Admirals Walk for a ceremonial “breaking of the bread,” where a large artisan crust was cracked in honour of the opening of The Hearth.

During the launch, Gustavson 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,” Gustavson says. “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.”

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.