Independent grocers defend chains against food inflation accusations

OTTAWA — An unlikely alliance between Canada's independent grocers and the country's three largest chains is forming amid accusations that grocery stores are to blame for higher food inflation.

Lawmakers took turns lambasting executives of Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Metro Inc. and Empire Co. Ltd. during a parliamentary hearing in Ottawa on Wednesday, accusing the retailers of driving up food prices to pad profits.

The allegations have prompted a usually vocal critic of Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys to defend the chains.

Gary Sands, senior vice-president of public policy with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, says he's aligned with the big grocers on the issue of food inflation.

He says independent grocers are receiving the same staggering price increases from food suppliers that big chains are receiving.

While suppliers may have previously sent one price increase a year, he says they're now raising prices two or three times a year — often by double digits.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023.


The Canadian Press