Greedflation: 83% of Canadian grocery shoppers say grocers and food producers are using inflation as an excuse to price gouge

March 16, 2023
  • 73% of Canadian grocery shoppers agree the pace at which food costs have risen has given them added stress.
  • 94% of Canadian grocery shoppers agree that the steep rise in food costs is particularly unfair to those with lower incomes.
  • 76% of Canadian grocery shoppers agree the rising price of food makes it harder to eat healthily.

As food prices continue to rise at an accelerated rate, new research from Mintel reveals that consumers firmly place the blame in the hands of food retailers and producers. A staggering 83% of Canadian grocery shoppers say grocers and food producers are using inflation as an excuse to price gouge. This comes as Canadians are feeling the pinch with nearly three in five (59%) shoppers more likely to watch how much they spend on groceries during this period of inflation.

Rampant food inflation gives rise to a profound sense of unfairness

Food inflation is not only impacting consumers’ financial well-being but their mental well-being too. Three-quarters of shoppers (73%) say food inflation is causing them additional stress, highlighting the need for grocery stores and food manufacturers to address this concern. 

Furthermore, the emotional hardship Canadians feel relates not only to themselves but also to others. Almost all Canadian consumers (94%) agree the steep rise in food costs is particularly unfair to those with lower incomes. The extent of distress that rising costs are causing consumers is illustrated by the fact that most Canadians (76%) feel ‘trapped’ by the fact that no matter how much food prices rise, they have no choice but to absorb them. 

Joel Gregoire, Director of Food and Drink, Mintel Reports Canada, said:

“In shoppers’ minds, retailers and food producers are leveraging the challenges they are facing to their benefit, giving rise to the term ‘greedflation’. Addressing food inflation extends beyond just rising prices but also connecting compassionately with consumers and understanding that many are facing financial hardships. While food inflation is unlikely to persist at these levels, grocers and food producers must recognize the damage it is doing to the industry’s standing. Brands that can convey how they are taking steps to be transparent and ‘be on the side of consumers’ when it comes to saving money can bolster the brand’s perception both in the short term and beyond.”

Inflation is impacting Canadians’ ability to eat healthily

Mintel research reveals that the rise in food prices has made eating healthily more difficult for many Canadians. Three-quarters of shoppers (76%) agree that food inflation has had a negative impact on their ability to eat well. Finally, the impact of food inflation is also affecting how individuals shop, plan for and eat meals. Three-quarters (74%) say that they plan more of their meals ahead of time so that they do not buy unnecessary ingredients and over half (54%) claim they make shopping lists to help them save on groceries. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Canadians (68%) claim they are cutting back on the amount of food/drinks they buy to lower their grocery bills. 

“With food inflation continuing to rise, many Canadians are reporting difficulty in eating well. Many are looking for ways to cut back on spending at grocery stores such as switching to private label brands or even switching where they shop. The way brands and retailers communicate price increases matters. Transparency and empathy are important in addressing shoppers’ concerns about rising prices. It is also important that customers do not feel as though companies are being inauthentic during a time of inflation,” concluded Gregoire.

Additional research on how Canadians are affected by inflation and interviews with the analyst is available upon request from the Mintel Press Office. For those interested in purchasing the full report, please visit the Mintel Store.

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