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Industry NewsGroceries more expensive despite food inflation slowing down

Groceries more expensive despite food inflation slowing down

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians feel that grocery store inflation is worsening, despite recent signs of cooling food prices, according to a new Leger survey.

The poll found that almost 30 per cent of Canadians believe grocery stores are primarily responsible for food inflation by attempting to boost profit margins. Another 26 per cent attribute it to global economic factors, while 20 per cent blame the federal government.

In April, grocery inflation listed at 1.4 per cent, contributing to a decrease in overall inflation to 2.7 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. Despite this, prices continue to rise, with grocery costs climbing 21.4 per cent over the past three years.

Major grocery chains have denied profitting unfairly from inflation, facing mounting political and public scrutiny over escalating food prices.

Consumer frustration has led to organized actions, including a boycott of Loblaw-owned stores in May. The Leger survey indicates that 70 per cent of Canadians are aware of the boycott, with 58 per cent supporting it. However, only 18 per cent reported that they or someone in their household has participated.

The poll also highlights differing perspectives between urban and rural residents. Urban respondents are more likely to support and participate in the boycott compared to their suburban and rural counterparts. Approximately half of Canadians feel the boycott unfairly targets Loblaw alone, and nearly two-thirds doubt it will affect grocery prices. Urban residents are more optimistic, while nearly three-quarters of rural Canadians believe the boycott will have no impact.

Boycott participants are diversifying their shopping habits: 40 per cent are turning to big-box stores like Costco or Walmart, 31 per cent are choosing other national chains like Sobeys or Save-On-Foods, and 23 per cent are opting for independent local grocery stores. Rural participants are more inclined to shop at independent stores than their urban and suburban counterparts.

Leger surveyed 1,519 Canadians from May 17 to May 19 about grocery inflation, the Loblaw boycott, and grocers’ profits. As this survey was conducted online, it cannot be assigned a margin of error.

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