Keeping food prices as low as possible is the top priority for Canada’sgrocers since inflation surged at the end of the pandemic. That focus is evidenced by the fact that Canada has experienced lower food inflation over the last 12 months (6.8%) versus other developed countries, including the UK (13.6%), Australia (7.5%), and France (11.2%).
Looking forward, we are starting to see abatement of some of the input costs that have impacted food prices for the past many months. Statistics Canada has already found that food prices in stores dropped from July to August and grocers anticipate further progress over the next few months and into 2024.
In recent weeks, there have been good faith discussions with government about what grocers are doing to assist Canadians with food price affordability. The grocers are unique entities, with different business models and distinct approaches. They also abide by competition law principles requiring them to not discuss prices as a collective. This is why each grocer has made its own individual submission to government and will deploy its own approach to the challenge.
However, as food distributors, grocers buy goods from suppliers and then sell them to customers, meaning that they are heavily dependent on what manufacturers charge for their products. In fact, 70% to 80% of grocery checkout prices arise from vendors before the food even gets to Canada’s grocers.
It therefore remains critical that all members of the complex supply chain address their respective roles in food pricing. We are encouraged that Minister Champagne made several clear references to the need for manufacturers to step up with regard their central role in food pricing and we look forward to seeing some concrete deliverables from those government-manufacturer discussions.
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Senior Vice-President, Public Affairs