Canadians getting desperate about higher food prices

Almost 24 per cent now cutting back on food purchases, almost 70 per cent of whom are women

Canadians getting desperate about higher food pricesWhile inflation is showing signs of dissipating, food inflation appears to be on a totally different path. Food inflation has outpaced our general inflation rate for over 12 months now. Statistics Canada just announced that the food inflation rate for retail was 10.8 per cent and 7.4 per cent in food service. Canada ranks third…

Has ‘greedflation’ driven up Canadian food prices?

Evidence of ‘greedflation’ is weak at best

Has ‘greedflation’ driven up Canadian food prices?By Sylvain Charlebois and Samantha Taylor Accusations of gouging in the food industry have reached an all-time high. According to a recent survey, 68 per cent of Canadians believe food corporations are taking advantage of the inflationary cycle to increase prices, and it’s not just in retail. Class-action lawsuits have been launched against the beef…

Eat less meat, save the environment and pay less at the grocery store

Flexitarians have decreased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and reduced risk of cancer

Eat less meat, save the environment and pay less at the grocery storeFor a number of years, I talked about becoming a vegetarian. I could see the health and environmental benefits, but completely removing meat seemed a bit extreme for my tastes. I recently discovered flexitarianism, a vegetarian diet where one eats meat occasionally. I limit my intake of meat and seafood, but I can still enjoy…

Why Sobeys had to dump Air Miles

The food we buy is always changing, so keeping customers engaged with brands is challenging

Why Sobeys had to dump Air MilesSobeys recently decided to dump Air Miles and start its own loyalty program. Empire Co. Ltd., Sobeys’ parent company, is joining the Bank of Nova Scotia and Cineplex as co-owners of the Scene+ program. This move by Sobeys is no coincidence. As we brace for higher food prices and cope with a post-COVID-19 workforce still…

Health Canada’s new food labelling makes no sense

Saturated fat in beef, and pork: bad. Saturated fat in dairy products: nothing to see here

Health Canada’s new food labelling makes no senseIt looks like we will see different symbols on food packaging soon, telling us whether a food product at the grocery store has too much fat, sugar or sodium. Health Canada is likely going forward with a policy requiring front-of-package nutrition symbols on foods high in saturated fat, sugars and sodium. It will provide clear,…

Befriending self-checkouts seems inevitable

Consumers used to love to hate these machines. But things have changed

Befriending self-checkouts seems inevitableSelf-checkouts have long been an unloved tool in the world of retail. In the beginning, nothing worked as it should, especially at the grocery store where an order for 20 items brought a new form of despair. But even if the mere presence of self-checkouts bothered many consumers, Canadians have apparently befriended them in some…

Why is StatsCan deleting its food inflation database?

Move raises questions about motive and why the announcement was so quiet

Why is StatsCan deleting its food inflation database?All eyes are on inflation these days, especially at the grocery store. Food is the one thing we need every day and the food choices we make matter a great deal to our budget. To know what's going on with food prices, we turn to Statistics Canada for details. But without fanfare, we just learned…

Would you eat chicken raised on a diet of insects?

Consumers who are environmentally aware warm to the idea

Would you eat chicken raised on a diet of insects?Eating chicken raised on a diet of bugs or algae may sound downright unappetizing to some, but there are ways to make the idea more palatable to at least one type of food shopper. Consumers who are environmentally aware will likely warm up to the idea of using alternative proteins like insect meal in poultry…

Canada’s food industry needs to up its couponing game

Compared to Americans, Canadians have far fewer options to save on groceries

Canada’s food industry needs to up its couponing gameThe food inflation rate in Canada in February was 7.4 per cent, the largest yearly increase since May 2009. With much higher food inflation, consumers are desperate to find new ways to save at the grocery store. In the United States and Canada, consumers are increasingly using food rescuing apps, going for the “enjoy tonight” deals, trading…

The potato chips war is just the tip of the iceberg

PepsiCo’s move signals that the sector is tired of - and desperate to stop - supply-chain bullying

The potato chips war is just the tip of the icebergWe recently learned that Frito-Lay, a brand owned by giant PepsiCo Canada, stopped selling to Loblaws after the retailer refused requests by Frito-Lay to increase their prices. Food manufacturers, when selling products to grocers, suggest retail prices. With low profit margins, labour shortages, packaging issues and supply-chain woes, inflation has been violently disruptive to manufacturers.…

Vaccine mandate for truckers puts extra pressure on grocers

Robbing the industry of the oxygen it desperately needs

Vaccine mandate for truckers puts extra pressure on grocersIn many parts of the country, Canadians report a growing number of empty grocery store shelves. It’s also happening in the United States and many other parts of the industrialized world. Before the COVID-19 Omicron variant arrived, empty shelves were visible but few shoppers noticed. They were sporadic in the fall as supply-chain woes continued,…

How to guide to combatting rising food prices

Here are our strategies to help you save

How to guide to combatting rising food pricesSince 2022 is almost here, it’s time to reflect on what has happened the past year and anticipate what lies ahead. Food inflation obviously affected most food categories this year, which is why the last 12 months have been challenging for Canadians, at the grocery store and at restaurants. Canada’s Food Price Report 2022 was…

Dark stores on the rise as part of the campaign to deliver groceries

SkipTheDishes is building 38 dark stores across the country to support its online food delivery strategy

Dark stores on the rise as part of the campaign to deliver groceriesWe recently learned that SkipTheDishes is building 38 dark stores across the country to support its e-commerce renewal. Its strategy includes selling food online like any grocery store. Company CEO Kevin Edwards claims the online food market will be worth $120 billion in a few years. That number is a little ambitious, but many observers…

The rise of the once-silent, once-hidden food worker

Given our heightened consciousness about food systems, workers have more political capital than ever

The rise of the once-silent, once-hidden food workerWorkers across the food supply chain are expressing concerns about their livelihood. Last weekend, workers at the online grocery retailer Instacart went on strike for better conditions and higher wages. Instacart is a symbol of the new gig economy in food – you use a phone app to have someone else pick up your groceries…

How serious is food inflation in Canada?

Very. But you wouldn't know it from StatsCan data

How serious is food inflation in Canada?If you think food prices are increasing at a much faster pace than what Statistics Canada suggests, you’re likely not imagining it. For a few years, many Canadians have suspected that the federal agency was either underestimating our food inflation or there was some lag between what was going on at the grocery store and…

Why Canadians are walking away from the meat counter

Meat is a luxury in most countries and it’s becoming one in Canada. The good news? Canadians can deal

Why Canadians are walking away from the meat counterThe cost of living has understandably been one of the current federal election’s top issues. Most major parties have included proposed measures to help Canadians, especially those with less means. However, recent data suggest consumers are taking matters into their own hands to save a few bucks. Meat represents a big portion of anyone’s food…

O’Toole offers a thoughtful strategy to tackle food inflation

If you feel you’re paying more for food, it’s not an illusion

O’Toole offers a thoughtful strategy to tackle food inflationThe Conservative Party of Canada recently promised to control food inflation for Canadians. It’s an odd promise for a party typically known to embrace market-free conditions but it holds great potential. What makes this promise even more atypical is that Canadians have access to one of the most affordable food baskets in the world, 18th…

We’re all paying a COVID-19 tax at the grocery store

Groceries are about to get expensive. Food inflation should be a key issue in the Canadian election

We’re all paying a COVID-19 tax at the grocery storeCanadians’ ballot decisions in the Sept. 20 federal election will likely differ depending on what you really care about. But since everyone eats and most of us try to manage a limited food budget, the most important electoral issue will likely be inflation. Or at least it should be. Everything is costing Canadians more, including…

Grocers face dramatic changes in wake of pandemic

Nobody really knows how the economy will look as a return to normalcy progresses

Grocers face dramatic changes in wake of pandemicGrocers racked up millions of dollars in profits as they increased revenues during the first year of the pandemic. But numbers this year tell us tougher economic times await them. And the economy is just one part of the story. Nobody really knows how the economy will look this fall and winter as a return…

Food industry code of conduct finally gains traction

Recognizes that manufacturing - including farmers - are the anchor to the entire food supply chain

Food industry code of conduct finally gains tractionA new coalition led by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has presented a roadmap to peace within the food industry. It’s a positive step forward for the food production industry and consumers. For years, grocers have unilaterally imposed fees on their suppliers, with questionable excuses. While grocers maintained a hard line to protect margins,…

Are self-checkouts winning the machine-versus-human battle?

The pandemic is changing our unease when using self-checkout counters

Are self-checkouts winning the machine-versus-human battle?Only a few years ago, self-checkouts were seen as job killers by many Canadians. Grocers just didn’t know what to think of self-checkouts. And consumers had a love-hate relationship with them. Some saw them as job killers, replacing humans who desperately needed employment. Others quietly used them, either preferring a speedy exit or simply avoiding…

Canada’s food security depends on significant policy shifts

Food manufacturing lacks investment, suffers from thin margins, faces additional grocers’ fees and must deal with aging facilities

Canada’s food security depends on significant policy shiftsBy Sylvain Charlebois and Amy Hill Dalhousie University Canadian food and beverage manufacturing plays a key role in supporting farmers and the rest of the food supply chain. The second largest manufacturing sector, food and beverage, contributed $26.5 billion to Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. Just 10 manufacturing sectors –  including food manufacturing…

Do Canada’s grocers need a code of conduct?

While food prices continue to climb in Canada, grocers’ fees, in addition to low margins, haven’t helped manufacturers benefit

Do Canada’s grocers need a code of conduct?Many Canadians are oblivious to the fact that, in the food industry, suppliers need to pay grocers to conduct business. Fees were justified by merchandising costs and shelf space – things anyone would expect. But in recent years, things changed. Companies like Loblaws, Walmart and Metro used infrastructure and capital projects to justify new fees.…

Independent grocers are a dying breed

Most Canadians wouldn’t know that a lot of the innovation we’ve seen in food retailing in Canada has come from independents

Independent grocers are a dying breedMost of us wouldn’t know if we were in an independently owned and operated grocery store unless a notice is posted somewhere as you enter the store or you ask someone. Canada regularly loses an independent grocer these days. Last week, we learned that Empire (Sobeys) would purchase one of Canada’s top premium independent grocers,…

Canadians still love meat, regardless of COVID-19

Recalls and plant shutdowns due to COVID-19 couldn’t keep Canadians away from the meat counter. But prices did reach the sticker-shock point

Canadians still love meat, regardless of COVID-19The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone on Earth one way or another, which is why the moment we are in is so unique. The way we consume food has also changed: how and where we buy it, and where we consume it have seen tremendous changes over the last 11 months. Proteins play a significant…

Why a convenience store giant wants to be a grocer

Couche-Tard has a reputation of generating value by polishing hidden gems in companies like Carrefour

Why a convenience store giant wants to be a grocerWe heard this week that Alimentation Couche-Tard is looking at acquiring European-based Carrefour, the seventh largest food retailer in the world. Buying a grocery chain would be a significant departure from what Couche-Tard is known for. A non-binding, friendly offer of $25 billion was sent to Carrefour. Couche-Tard is all about the convenience store economy.…

The year’s top food-related stories

From lab-grown meat to grocery store staff bonuses to the food-service crisis to gardening and cooking at home to panic buying

The year’s top food-related storiesThe year 2020 was as unusual as they get, with no shortage of stories. Some flew under the radar because of the pandemic but this list is based on how some food-related stories will probably have long-term implications, whether they were related to COVID-19 or not. At No. 10, the apparent end of Tim Hortons’…

Eliminating humans from the food supply chain

Loblaws will be able to move food from automated picking facilities multiple times a day to support its online grocery service

Eliminating humans from the food supply chainLoblaws is partnering with Gatik, an autonomous vehicle provider from the United States, to launch the first autonomous food delivery fleet. This is a solution to the ‘middle mile,’ assuring links between distribution centres and stores. Consumers won’t see autonomous vehicles drive up to their homes yet but that day will surely come soon. These…

Loblaw’s joins Walmart, Metro in supply chain bullying tactics

Major grocers are off-loading in-store and digital operations costs unto suppliers

Loblaw’s joins Walmart, Metro in supply chain bullying tacticsMajor Canadian grocers in Canada are at it again. After Walmart and Metro, it was Loblaw’s turn to make changes to its vendor policies, implementing new fees to support a $6-billion plan to improve its in-store and digital operations. A letter written by Loblaw Companies president Sarah Davis was leaked to the media. Over the…

Your grocery bill is rising and Covid-19 will make it worse

It’s high time to evaluate the possibility of a guaranteed minimum income, for greater financial equity for all

Your grocery bill is rising and Covid-19 will make it worseEvery month, Statistics Canada reminds us that life is getting more expensive. But for food, the situation has been unique over the last few decades. Based on numbers released recently, the price of a typical grocery basket has increased by about 240 per cent since 2000. Some will think such a percentage is expected, given…
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