More than 80% of Canadians believe grocers are using inflation to hike food prices

Mar 16 2023, 7:32 pm

Food inflation is hitting Canadians hard, and prices for daily essentials and pantry items continue to rise. Around three-in-five Canadians are keeping a closer eye on their spending at the grocery store.

Most believe the food price hikes aren’t only because of general inflation but also because grocers and food producers are using inflation to fatten their profits out of greed.

A new report by market research firm Mintel found that 83% of Canadians think inflation is being used as an excuse for price gouging.

The trend of high food prices has left a profound impact on consumers’ well-being — both financial and emotional. Around 73% of Canadian shoppers surveyed by Mintel said food inflation is causing them “additional stress,” and food manufacturers need to do something about it.

More and more (74%) are planning their meals ahead of time so they don’t buy unnecessary ingredients on their grocery run, resulting in wasted money. Nearly 70% are taking extra measures to lower grocery bills by not buying certain foods and drinks.

“Almost all Canadian consumers (94%) agree the steep rise in food costs is particularly unfair to those with lower incomes,” the report reads. “The extent of distress that rising costs are causing consumers is illustrated by the fact that most Canadians (76%) feel ‘trapped’ by the fact that no matter how much food prices rise, they have no choice but to absorb them.”

Of course, food inflation also impacts Canadians physically in a major way. Fresh produce, meat, eggs — everything nutritious is expensive.

Mintel’s Director of Food and Drink, Joel Gregoire, noted that many people have switched to private-label brands to lower bills. He said that in shoppers’ minds, retailers and food producers are “leveraging the challenges they are facing to their benefit, giving rise to the term ‘greedflation.'”

“Addressing food inflation extends beyond just rising prices but also connecting compassionately with consumers and understanding that many are facing financial hardships,” Gregoire said in a statement.

He added that while food inflation might not last at such high levels forever, grocers and food producers should recognize the damage it is doing to the industry’s standing.

“Brands that can convey how they are taking steps to be transparent and ‘be on the side of consumers’ when it comes to saving money can bolster the brand’s perception both in the short term and beyond,” Gregoire concluded.

Read Mintel’s full report here.

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