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Most Canadian shoppers think grocers and food producers use inflation to ‘price gouge,’ report says

According to the new report from Mintel, three-quarters of shoppers say food inflation is causing them additional stress.

March 20, 2023  By Greenhouse Canada

A new report from research firm Mintel says that most Canadian grocery shoppers are placing the blame for rising food prices firmly on the food retailers and producers.

“A staggering 83 per cent of Canadian grocery shoppers say grocers and food producers are using inflation as an excuse to price gouge,” the March 16 report said. “This comes as Canadians are feeling the pinch with nearly three in five (59 per cent) shoppers more likely to watch how much they spend on groceries during this period of inflation.”

Food inflation is not only impacting consumers’ financial well-being but their mental well-being too, the report said. Three-quarters of shoppers (73 per cent) say food inflation is causing them additional stress, highlighting the need for grocery stores and food manufacturers to address this concern.


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

“In shoppers’ minds, retailers and food producers are leveraging the challenges they are facing to their benefit, giving rise to the term ‘greedflation,’” Joel Gregoire, director of food and drink, Mintel Reports Canada, said in the report. “Addressing food inflation extends beyond just rising prices but also connecting compassionately with consumers and understanding that many are facing financial hardships.”

While food inflation is unlikely to persist at these levels, the Mintel report said, grocers and food producers should recognize the “damage” being done 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,” the report said.

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