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Grocery prices in Canada: Price on historically cheap deli meat goes viral — 'pure baloney'

It seems that even bologna, the historically cheap deli meat, isn’t immune to inflation, with the latest eye-popping price going viral on Reddit

It seems that even bologna, the historically cheap deli meat, isn’t immune to inflation, as one Ontario-based Loblaw-affiliated store is selling it for $32.90 per kilogram.

A picture posted to Reddit forum "Loblaws Is Out of Control" shows a package of about 500 grams of sliced Maple Leaf bologna selling for $16.78, though the container is stamped with a 50 per cent off sticker.

“There wasn’t even enough in there to make a regular package of bologna,” n8brav0, the original poster wrote.

The meat was packaged on Feb. 14, the day the photo was posted. Its expiry date was listed as Feb. 19. It was sold at an Ontario-based Independent Grocer, which are franchised stores affiliated with Loblaws.

Canada groceries: It seems that even bologna, the historically cheap deli meat, isn’t immune to inflation, as one Ontario-based Loblaw-affiliated store is selling it for $32.90 per kilogram.
Canada groceries: It seems that even bologna, the historically cheap deli meat, isn’t immune to inflation, as one Ontario-based Loblaw-affiliated store is selling it for $32.90 per kilogram.

The history of bologna: 'A big hot dog that's then sliced thin'

Historically, bologna has a reputation for being a food for lower income demographics.

According to food historian Jeffrey Pilcher at University of Toronto, it derives from a type of sausage known as mortadella, that originates from Bologna, Italy. The original version is generally made up of ground pork, chunks of fat and spices. Pilcher admits it’s not typically known as a high-class type of meat from where it originated, but doesn’t have the same reputation as it does in Canada and the U.S.

“It’s occasionally made with pistachios, so it doesn’t have the same low class image that bologna does in North America,” he tells Yahoo Canada.

The basis of the bologna found at the local deli is similar to a hot dog, in that it’s a mix of processed parts of meat. In the early 20th century, technology was developed to grind up meat into a slurry and then extrude it into various kinds of wrappers. That technology is now used for a broad range of food products.

“Essentially bologna is a really big hot dog that’s then sliced thin,” Pilcher says. “It’s one of the early versions of food processing that later came to be applied to all kinds of things like chicken nuggets.”

In terms of the parts used in deli bologna, Pilcher says it’s generally made of whatever’s cheapest and can often be a blend of different kinds of meat like beef, pork and chicken.

“You can vary the recipe and still have the same outcome,” he says. “Whatever’s cheap gets used up that way. You grind it into a non-distinct whatever and then add fat and spice mix.”

It’s one of the early versions of food processing that later came to be applied to all kinds of things like chicken nuggets.

Canadians react: 'That price is pure baloney'

Many in the almost 200 comments on the post were stunned to see what is traditionally known as a low-grade type of processed meat sold at such an exorbitant price — even with the sale sticker.

“Even with 50% off, 8 bucks for a pound ... is still a ripoff,” user Platotron wrote.

Loblaws recently reverted back to 50-per-cent discounts on some clearance items after their announcement that discounts would be reduced to 30 per cent drew the ire of Canadian shoppers.

“They're just adding those stickers to make people impulse purchase, thinking you're getting a deal when it's just regular price,” Routine_Breath_7137 wrote.

User eraserhead said: "This is the most egregious thing I have seen on here." The subreddit, "Loblaws Is Out of Control," now has 19,000 members, nearly doubling its numbers over one month. The thread is a popular place for Canadians to vent about grocery prices and products at Loblaw-affiliated stores.

User connect-locksmith-41 wrote: "I feel like the butcher is trolling this subreddit with those prices."

Others in the comments couldn’t resist the chance to use a good pun.

“That price is pure baloney,” ActualDepartment1212 wrote.