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Group boycotting Loblaw over rising food prices

Fed up with the ever rising price of food, an online movement has sprung up to fight back in the form of a boycott.

The group has turned its sights squarely on one target –- Loblaws — the company that owns Superstore and No Frills here in Winnipeg, along with Shoppers Drug Mart.

According to organizers, the plan is to boycott the Loblaw-owned stores for the entire month of May. They’re asking for prices to be reduced by 15 per cent.

Loblaw chairman Galen Weston called the boycott “misguided criticism,” saying his company alone can’t be blamed for rising costs because inflation is a global issue.

“The real problem to me has always been up the supply chain with vendors. That’s really where the problem is,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University

Charlebois explained that vendors have to negotiate a price with the grocery chains like Loblaw to get their products on the shelves.

When those fees go up, the price of the food goes up too.

“Is Loblaw part of the problem? Absolutely, but the boycott is aiming at the wrong problem,” Charlebois said.

Charlebois said that vendor fees are partly due to low competition in the Canadian grocery sector.

He believes if consumers want to make a difference they should boycott all big box stores and shop instead at independent grocers as much as possible.

Ed Cantor from the independently-owned Cantor’s Quality Meats and Groceries doesn’t know if he will benefit from the boycott

He says they’re always trying their best to give customers a good deal.

“You try and give the best customer experience and price for the consumer at the end of the day. That’s all you try,” he said.

Food prices are still going up, but not as fast as they once were.

According to Statistics Canada, the food inflation rate in March was up 1.9 per cent compared to the year before.

In late 2022 and early 2023, grocery inflation peaked at 11.4 per cent.

  

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