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Shoppers in Ontario purchased more produce in the discount channel in the first quarter of 2023, but while the average trip to the grocery store increased, average spend per trip decreased as consumers continued to seek out deals due to high prices.

That’s the findings of a quarterly survey conducted by Numerator on behalf of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) from January to April.

During the period, the average Ontario household made 24.2 trips to the grocery store for produce and spent $284 on produce. The number of households buying produce in the discount grocery channel increased by 0.7 points compared to last year, and shoppers are buying produce in discount grocery more frequently. However, spend per trip for produce in discount grocery decreased by 1.7 per cent.

Paying more, buying less

The rising prices meant that consumers overall paid more for many types of fruits and vegetables but purchased less. For instance, shoppers paid 12 per cent more for fresh cucumbers but 3 per cent fewer households purchased them. Consumers paid 29 per cent more for fresh celery but 10 per cent fewer households purchased it.

There were some categories in which even though they paid more for produce and they also purchased more. Among the winners were fresh lettuce, grapes and blackberries.

The report’s findings on consumer sentiment were not surprising with 65 per cent of Canadian consumers saying they’re concerned about rising prices on essential goods and services and that rising gas prices are impacting their ability to afford other things. And 63 per cent of consumers expect the economy will worsen in the next few months, while 75 per cent think inflation will increase in the next few months.

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