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Canadians feel grocery inflation getting worse, 2 in 5 boycotting Loblaw

Almost two-thirds of Canadians believe that grocery store inflation is worsening, according to a new Leger survey. This sentiment persists even though food inflation has been slowing down. 

The survey revealed that nearly 30 percent of Canadians think grocery stores are raising prices to increase their profit margins. Another 26 percent blame global economic factors, while 20 percent point to the federal government. 

Despite inflation on groceries being just 1.4 percent in April, prices have risen significantly over the past three years, with an overall increase of 21.4 percent. Major grocery chains insist they haven’t unfairly profited from inflation, despite mounting public and political pressure.

In response to rising prices, a group of consumers organized a boycott of Loblaw-owned stores in May. The poll found that 70 percent of Canadians are aware of the boycott, and 58 percent support it. However, only 18 percent have joined in or know someone who has.

The survey highlights differing views between urban and rural residents. Urban Canadians are more likely to support and participate in the boycott, while rural residents find it harder to avoid Loblaw stores. About half of Canadians think targeting only Loblaw is unfair, and nearly two-thirds believe the boycott won’t affect grocery prices. Urban residents are more hopeful, with almost three-quarters believing the boycott might help lower prices.

For those participating in the boycott, 40 percent are switching to big-box stores like Costco or Walmart, 31 percent are choosing other national chains such as Sobeys or Save-On-Foods, and 23 percent are shopping at independent local grocery stores. Rural participants are more likely to support independent stores compared to their urban and suburban counterparts.

Leger conducted the survey with 1,519 Canadians from May 17 to May 19, gathering opinions on grocery inflation, the Loblaw boycott, and grocery store profits. The online survey does not have a margin of error as it wasn’t randomly sampled.

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