I have been reading some threads on my local Facebook groups complaining about rising prices in our Carleton Place grocery stores. Did you know since February that all your grocers have faced a stiff 7.5% jump in how much they’re paying for fruits, vegetables, and produce in general? Of course the prices for fresh food always jump in the winter because the produce is imported from the United States and Mexico. But this years rise in prices has little to do with the Winter seasons. Over 80% of our imported produce is bought and sold at the wholesale level only in U.S. Dollars. You can put the blame on our crashing Canadian currency along with competitive pressures. To put it simply, a decline in our dollar means it costs more to import food.
But with the sky-falling loonie, it has put pressure on supermarket owners to either absorb the higher costs, or pass it on to us shoppers. In February Loblaws had no choice and had to raise prices and cut back on promotions. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Some say our Canadian loonie might fall as low as 75 cents U.S. before it even recovers.
Customers are extremely value conscious these days and discount supermarkets are continuing to attract more customers. Walmart is said to be going on a huge reduction campaign in their supermarkets, but now that Target has left Canada, it remains to be seen what they will do. .
I have also noticed the price of a pack of ground beef originally $14 to 16 is now up to $23 to $27. Why? Well there seems to have been some sort of past protein shortage which passed on the resulting spike.Then you have to figure the nation-wide droughts caused a shortage in corn.The major use of corn is livestock, and the cost of keeping livestock alive got more expensive. But, word on the street is that should end soon. But the farmer reps still want the highest price and want a high-low price cycle of doing business. How long is it going to be before the processors move out of this province and country ?
Grocers have to become more creative and less-than-desirable produce that many of us are quick to discard will now be sought out and sold in its own special section at certain Loblaw banner stores in Ontario and Quebec, Bravo Loblaws! We are an imperfect species. Embrace imperfect produce!
In closing I say, take it easy on your local grocers–they have a nightmare on their hands.They don’t even set the prices on our weekly flyers-the head office does. There is no way I would want to be in their shoes, but my personal view still is, if prices keep rising, do the hungry today become the starving tomorrow? Where does it end?