Stop the Squeeze: Is the cost of food about to go up?

For months, Canadians have been criticizing the food costs as they grapple with skyrocketing grocery bills. In our last Stop the Squeeze post, we shared a story showing the spike in grocery prices between 2019 and 2024.

No wonder Canadians have crying about the cost of food.

Shockingly, a new story suggests that, instead of relief, we can expect visits to the grocery store to rack up even higher bills in the coming weeks.

Each year, from late October to early February, the Canadian grocery industry engages in something known as the blackout period. During this time prices for specific national and private brand products are frozen.

During this period, suppliers demand more money for products to keep up with inflation, global supply chain issues, energy costs and international conflicts. When the price freeze ends, the backlog of price increase requests by suppliers catches up.

What those requests catching up means is that Canadians will wind up even more significantly squeezed when paying for their groceries.

Another example of Canadians paying more for less when it comes to groceries.

Back in September of last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a meeting with Canadian grocery giants to discuss lowering food prices and making life more affordable for Canadians.

Given what we’re now hearing, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is calling efforts by companies like Sobeys and Loblaw, “disappointing.”

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says he’s “disappointed” in the lack of transparency Canadian grocery store giants have offered so far when it comes to tackling food inflation.

As a result, he’s sending a letter to Canada’s Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell, to express his dissatisfaction with their lacking cooperation, but so far is stopping short of independently pursuing further remedies such as the once-threatened tax measures.

Citing “record profits” in the grocery retail sector, Champagne says he’s confident the Competition Bureau will be empowered to “further address the concerns of Canadian consumers.”

We think it’s safe to say that Minister Champagne isn’t the only one who is disappointed by the lack of action Canada’s grocery giants have taken on food inflation.

In a recent email to our Safeway members, President Thomas Hesse described the Company’s move to judicially review an arbitration decision that gave top-rate and overscale Safeway workers the largest wage increases they have seen in thirty years “disgusting”.

UFCW Local 401 will continue pushing employers to Stop the Squeeze and give their workers wage increases that make life more affordable.