Loblaw Companies has apparently grown tired of taking the brunt of Canadians’ frustrations over soaring food prices, replying defensively to a barrage of angry tweets after the company ended its price freeze on 1,500 No Name products on Tuesday.
Last fall, Loblaw Companies said it would freeze prices on all its in-house No Name products until Jan. 31, while Metro Inc. said it would hold prices of most private-label and national brand products steady until Feb. 5.
While the company acknowledges it has become the “face of food inflation,” it insists suppliers are to blame.
“Food inflation is a global issue,” it stressed. “Suppliers are raising costs, and it’s costing us billions more to put food on our shelves. This is where higher prices come from.”
Loblaw also took aim at the perception that its own insatiable appetite for profits is fueling soaring grocery bills, saying it profits less than $4 for every $100 spent on groceries.
We get it. It’s easy to blame grocers for higher grocery prices. But on a $100 grocery bill, our profit is less than $4.— Loblaw Companies (@loblawco) February 1, 2023
When someone posted a news headline from last fall highlighting a 30 per cent increase in profits for the company, it said those profits were led by sales in pharmacy and beauty products, not food.
Per the rest of that headline, our increased profits have been led by sales of pharmacy items (cough/cold, beauty). Not food.— Loblaw Companies (@loblawco) January 31, 2023
While price hikes are expected after ending the No Name freeze, Loblaw stressed that the cost of many of its No Name products will remain unchanged and says it’s ‘not done cutting grocery bills’ despite its many skeptics.
We froze prices to help customers at a time they needed it most. Food inflation continues and we’re seeing a lot of big cost increases from vendors, but hundreds of no name products will not go up.— Loblaw Companies (@loblawco) February 1, 2023
One expert CityNews spoke to on Tuesday seemed to back up the grocer’s claim that it’s under pressure from suppliers who are hiking prices.
“Suppliers always get increases in February,” explained Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “So, they’ll likely be paying more for those products. Pressures are absolutely real, and they’ll have to increase prices because the volume of sales of these products is quite high.”
The No Name brand is sold in more than 2,400 stores across the country, including Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, T&T, and Shoppers Drug Mart.