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Over half of Canadians would pay more to support small grocers



Over half of Canadians would pay more to support small grocers

58% would choose to pay more for items and services to support a small business

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More than half of Canadians would pay more to support a small grocery business despite the current cash and credit crunch, according to a new study by Wagepoint, a North American payroll provider.

The survey, which interviewed 1,000 Canadians, found that 58 per cent would choose to pay more for items and services in order to support a local grocery store with less than 200 employees. The report comes as the country’s largest grocery retailer, Loblaw Companies Ltd., is being targeted for a month-long boycott organized on the online forum Reddit.

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More than three quarters (78 per cent) wish they could do some or all of their shopping at a small business. Currently, 40 per cent do so weekly, 31 per cent do so monthly and 6.5 per cent do so daily.

Most respondents believe Canadians aren’t doing enough to support small businesses post-COVID-19. Almost 65 per cent said that perceived higher prices are holding them back and 13 per cent admitted that they can’t afford to spend more at smaller businesses right now. Meanwhile, over half (56.5 per cent) believe they are doing enough to support local businesses.

The survey found that Canadians’ most-loved small grocery businesses from across the country are Gateway Meat Market (Dartmouth, N.S.), Ferraro’s Foods (Trail, B.C.), Foody Mart (Markham, Ont.), Langley Farm Markets (Vancouver, B.C.) and London Road Market (Lethbridge, Alta.).

Their most trusted are also several of the same grocers: Gateway Meat Market, Langley Farm Market, London Road Market, Commissio’s Fresh Foods (Niagara Falls, Ont.), Ferarro’s Foods and Foody Mart.

Wagepoint chief executive Shrad Rao pointed to a lack of choice and funds preventing local grocery stores from gaining more popularity.

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“We found an interesting juxtaposition with our survey, the majority of Canadians truly wanted to support SME grocery stores and other businesses in spite of rising food costs, but many said that they didn’t have a SME grocery store option … many also said they simply weren’t aware of any SME grocery stores in their area,” he said in a press release. “So perhaps it’s a combination of lack of choice and lack of funds to spend on marketing that are keeping SME grocery stores from thriving.”

A separate study by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, which surveyed 9,109 Canadians throughout April, found that rising food prices are also leading people to consume potentially unsafe food.

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians said they were more inclined to consume food close to or past its “best before date” simply because they couldn’t afford to waste it.

Nearly half have also changed their approach to conserving food to extend the shelf-life of products.

“As food prices climb, more Canadians are taking risks with their food safety. This behavior, driven by economic necessity, exposes a critical vulnerability in our food system where food security and food safety intersect,” Sylvain Charlebois, director of Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, said in a press release.

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“It’s imperative that we address these issues collectively to ensure that no Canadian must choose between economic hardship and their health.”

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Weaker Loonie Has Small Impact on Inflation | When the loonie fell by nearly 30%, core inflation rose by about 1%

The Bank of Canada’s policy interest rate may fall 100 basis points below that of the United States Federal Reserve’s “without policymakers batting an eye,” according to economists at one of the country’s largest lenders. That’s because the Canadian central bank can ease rates more aggressively than markets are currently pricing before it would see a “material” weakening of the loonie, National Bank of Canada economists Taylor Schleich and Warren Lovely said in a report to investors Thursday. “We don’t deny that a weaker C$ boosts import prices but the pass-through to consumer prices is smaller than widely appreciated,” they wrote, adding that the central bank’s research and model suggested that a 10 per cent loonie shock might add 25 to 30 basis points to core inflation. Bloomberg

  • Today’s data: Toronto home sales for April, Canada and U.S. S&P global services PMIs for April, U.S. employment report for April, U.S. ISM services PMI for April
  • Earnings: Brookfield Renewable Corp., TC Energy Corp., Magna International Inc., TransAlta Corp., Hershey Co.

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Today’s Posthaste was written by Noella Ovid, with additional reporting from Financial Post staff, The Canadian Press and Bloomberg.

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