Advertisement

Grocery prices in Canada: $40 pack of chicken riles up shoppers — 'Seriously, who's paying for this?'

"Don’t care if the chicken is college trained with a master’s degree," a Redditor wrote. "Not paying that much."

A viral Reddit post about a $40 pack of chicken breasts at an Ontario Longo's store is more fuel on the fire that Canadians feel toward grocers and the increasingly limited affordable grocery shopping options.

Simply titled “Seriously, who’s paying for this,” the post shows a photo of a pack of five boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a price tag of $40.51. Many in the nearly 400 comments of the post were shocked to see such a price on what is considered a more affordable protein option.

“It must be golden. Does it lay golden eggs too,” Poetic_Dew wrote.

“I can get a half dozen live ones for that price,” Necessary_Arm3379 joked.

"Don’t care if the chicken is college trained with a master’s degree," 59_Pedro wrote. "Not paying that much.”

Grocery prices in Canada: A $40 pack of chicken breasts at an Ontario grocery store has riled up Canadian shoppers.
Grocery prices in Canada: A $40 pack of chicken breasts at an Ontario grocery store has riled up Canadian shoppers.

Inflation in Canada slows: Latest stats

In January, food prices continued to rise, albeit at a slower rate than economists expected, with grocery store prices increasing 3.4 per cent.

Statistics Canada said the deceleration of grocery prices was broad-based, with meat (up 2.8 per cent), dairy products (up 1.5 per cent), bakery products (up 4 per cent) and fresh fruit (up 1.9 per cent) contributing to the slower year-over-year increase.

Plagued by chicken prices

Back in October, a viral TikTok comparing the price of Canadian chicken to that of the U.S. showed organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs, priced at $13.65 from Loblaws, compared to a pack of chicken thighs bought from a Target store in the U.S. for $3.55.

At the time, Nicholas Li, an assistant professor of economics at Toronto Metropolitan University, told Yahoo Canada that comparing the price of that specific product between Canada and U.S. was a complicated issue.

That’s because certain industries here, like poultry, dairy and milk, fall under supply management, which impacts how much suppliers are allowed to produce in the country, along with how much importers can bring into the country. According to the National Farmers Union, this helps prevent shortages and keeps under-priced imports from being “dumped” into Canadian markets.

Canadians react: Some explanations for the high price

Some in the Reddit post noted that how the chicken was raised and packaged — “Local Ontario,” “grain fed” and” air chilled” according to the packaging — added to the high price.

“Every marketing word they add to the name adds $10,” chris_ots wrote.

“Significant upcharge for local and grain fed,” munsuro wrote. “Like double.”

User Impressive_Ice3817, who said they raise their own chickens, pointed out that the term “grain-fed” is a marketing tactic, since all chicken is fed with grain.

“That's what chicken feed is,” they wrote. “It's not healthier, either — chickens are naturally omnivores.”

Others pointed out that grocery stores can justify high prices since people are still shopping there.

“This isn't a discount grocery store, and shoppers in these places aren't very price sensitive,” Loose-Atmosphere-558 wrote. “I am a great example. I never go to more than one grocery store. It's not worth my time to save a bit of money.”

Forum a place to vent about groceries of all kinds

The photo of the $40 chicken was posted to the forum “Loblaws is out of control,” which is meant to be a place for Canadians to vent about grocery prices, even though the chicken in question was from a Sobeys-owned Longo’s store. Many in the comments noted that shoppers could find the same item for less at Costco or Walmart.

“I always get the Costco pack. Or the Walmart pack,” falsekoala wrote."They can put all sorts of fancy words in front of it, I can’t justify 40 bucks for chicken when I pay 10-15 bucks less at other places.”

The Reddit forum has proven a popular place to spotlight jaw-dropping prices at many grocery stores across the country, including a $16-pack of 500 grams of bologna, and $16 for one watermelon.

TORONTO, ON - June 15  Grocery prices continue to rise across the country ahead of inflation and economic distress.   Shoppers are seen at a Loblaws on Milwood in the East York area.
June 15 2023        (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - June 15 Grocery prices continue to rise across the country ahead of inflation and economic distress. Shoppers are seen at a Loblaws on Milwood in the East York area. June 15 2023 (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Grocery giants own multiple stores and brand names

What stores does Loblaw own?

Stores and brands owned by Loblaw, parent company of Loblaws and more:

Atlantic Superstore

Beauty Boutique

Dominion

Farmer’s Market

Fortino’s

Loblaws

Maxi

No Frills

No Name

President’s Choice

Provigo Le Marché

Real Canadian Superstore

Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix

T&T Supermarket

Valu-Mart

Wholesale Club

Your Independent Grocer

Zehrs

What stores does Empire Co. own?

Stores and brands owned by Empire, parent company of Sobeys and more:

Compliments

Farm Boy

Foodland

FreshCo

IGA

Lawtons Drugs

Longo's

Marché Tradition

Marché Bonichoix

Needs Convenience

Rachelle Béry

Safeway

Sobeys

Sobeys Urban Fresh

Thrifty Foods

Voila grocery delivery service

What stores does Metro Inc. own?

Stores and brands owned by Metro, which operates in Quebec and Ontario and is the third largest grocer in Canada:

Adonis

Brunet

Irresistibles

Jean Couto

Life Smart

Marché Richelieu

Metro

Metro Plus

Personelle

Première Moisson

Selection


With files from Alicja Siekierska, Yahoo Finance Canada