The “Why” behind Our Products

Have you ever wondered how we, here at Jo Anne’s Place Heath Foods, go about bringing in the products that we do?

What are the criteria our team of Buyers considers with every product? Well, I can tell you – there is a lot of critical thought that goes into these decisions, as our mission is to be a champion for wellness in the communities we serve. One way in which we can achieve this is the “distinctive quality of products we select” for our customers to buy.

Meet Sarah Smeenk, Purchasing Manager at Jo Anne’s Place Health Foods…


“I have personally spent a good part of my life in the health food industry. I grew up working alongside my grandmother, Jo Anne Fallaise (the Founder of Jo Anne’s Place) from the early age of 9. I have cultivated a love and passion for so many of the products we offer, and it brings me immense pleasure to be a part of the buying process. I am the Purchasing manager for Jo Anne’s Place Heath Foods, as well as a loyal customer. Both myself and my family use products from every category that we offer…

Our mission statement helps to highlight 2 of the most important criteria we consider when bringing in products – to be a champion for wellness in the communities we serve. Wellness is a holistic approach to all states of health and an extremely vital part of our health includes the ingredients we put into our mouths. One of the most important criteria for JPHF is that our products be “certified organic” and secondly that we are supporting the communities we serve by purchasing locally made products. Our definition of local changes depending on the first criteria mentioned and availability. When sourcing local products we search within our own cities and surrounding areas first and move our radius circle as necessary. As a company we source Canadian made products wherever possible and as a consumer you may not see certain American brands on our shelves if there is a Canadian option.

Why are “certified organic” products important to us as a company? By buying organic we believe that you are not only supporting and fortifying your bodies, but the planet as well. Even if you do not know the farmer or producer your food/ingredients are being scrutinized by a third party agency (Procert, Ecocert, USDA Organic) to ensure the following: the use of natural organic fertilizers and soil amendments, no sewage sludge used, no chemical post-harvest treatments, no chemical insecticides, pesticides or weed-killers, no irradiation, GMO-free, supports the preservation of heritage and heirloom varieties, the use of sustainable farming practices.

Some other criteria that goes into the products chosen for our locations are Industry research surrounding efficacy, this is especially important when choosing supplements for our shelves – what studies have been done and is there third-party testing involved. As well as company practices, whether items are fair-trade certified or ethically made, does the company use sustainable practices. Along with the criteria I have outlined above there are other factors such as packaging type and design and of course when it comes to food – TASTE!!. As a team we are diligent in our pursuit for the right products for our company and ultimately our customers.

At Jo Anne’s Place Health Foods, we have an amazing team of people working (often behind the scenes) to find the ‘distinctive products” our customers have come to love. For 45 years, we have made it our priority to serve our community with quality products and service, with the health of our customers and the planet in mind.”

  • Sarah Smeenk

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