Canada’s five largest grocery chains have made initial commitments to help stabilize food prices in an effort to combat high inflation, according to a Thursday announcement.
The five grocery chains — Metro, Loblaws, Sobeys, Walmart and Costco — promised more discounts on “key food products” along with price freezes and price-matching campaigns after meeting with Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne in recent weeks. The announcement noted that the grocers are following through on their efforts to propose concrete actions to lower food prices by Thanksgiving.
Champagne met with the grocery executives as well as domestic and international food processors over recent weeks calling for immediate action to stabilize food prices.
The announcement noted that if Canadian officials don’t see tangible results from these efforts, they will take additional actions to “restore the food price stability that Canadians expect.” Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that if the country’s top grocers don’t provide relief, the government will “take further action and we are not ruling anything out, including tax measures,” according to Reuters.
In addition to the grocers’ pledges, Champagne outlined efforts the Canadian government will implement, as well, including strengthening support for consumer advocacy with the establishment of the Grocery Task Force, establishing a Grocery Code of Conduct to better transparency across the industry and improving accessibility of data on food prices and the cost breakdown of Canada’s agri-food supply chain.
Champagne said in a statement that these efforts are “just the beginning” of the country’s efforts to lower food prices. Canada saw the price of food purchased from stores increase 6.9% in August compared to the same period last year, CBC reported, noting that while that is nearly twice the overall inflation rate of 4%, it’s down from a recent high of over 11%.