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Grocery prices in Canada: Online forum says 'Loblaws is out of control,' as outrageous prices become common

A popular online forum dedicated to exposing exorbitant pricing at Loblaw-affiliated stores is also showcasing just how little your dollar stretches these days.

A popular online forum dedicated to exposing exorbitant pricing on grocery at Loblaw-affiliated stores is also showcasing just how little your dollar stretches these days.

The Reddit group "Loblaws is out of control," which boasts 11,000 members, is "devoted to highlighting the ridiculous cost of living in Canada right now," according to its description. "We’d like to thank our corporate overlord Galen Weston Jr. of Loblaws for continually raising grocery prices so he can get a big fat bonus cheque every year while the rest of Canadians struggle to make ends meet," the group's bio cheekily adds.

Members post to the thread daily about the "insane prices" seen at stores across Canada on everyday items like cheese and chicken, and even household and beauty products like anti-bacterial wipes and razors.

Users on Reddit post their grocery hauls to highlight how little money buys these days.
Users on Reddit post their grocery hauls to highlight how little money buys these days.

Trend alert: Not-very-big grocery hauls

Users regularly — and sometimes facetiously — post how much their grocery hauls of not-very-many items end up costing. User greenlovr shared a $30 haul, which included only two packs of chicken breast, a bag of chips, and a six pack of muffins.

Unlike the popular “haul” trend on TikTok, where people share all the things they were able to buy on a shopping trip to a particular outlet, these hauls show how little one is able to afford on a grocery trip.

User pixiesgal shared a photo of how much $50 covered on a grocery run. That included a pack of hot dogs, a pack of hot dog buns, two packs of blueberries, discounted sliced watermelon, Goldfish crackers, taco shells, frozen coconut shrimp, a cucumber and two boxes of tomatoes.

"I’m appalled. $50 gets you nothing even if you do all the things - sale shopping, price matching, coupons," the user wrote. "My heart aches."

A Reddit user posted a photo of exorbitantly priced Cadbury Mini Eggs to show how grocery prices in Canada have risen.
A Reddit user posted a photo of exorbitantly priced Cadbury Mini Eggs to show how grocery prices in Canada have risen.

Yo-yoing prices week to week

Users on the forum also regularly post photos of puzzlingly prized products, sometimes on items that were significantly less expensive a week or month earlier.

A post from supersuperglue shows a sale for frozen pizzas priced at 2 for $11 (or $6.99 each), which the user claims was going for 2 for $6 a few weeks earlier.

User avedder posted a photo of 200-gram bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs chocolate being sold for $8.99 each.

“Is that at the Loblaws Airport snack kiosk or something,” user nailspaced wondered, referring to the notoriously inflated prices of airport terminal stores.

Meanwhile, deevarino posted a photo of a rack of packaged ground meat at Zehrs, all labeled with 30 per cent off discount stickers. This comes in light of Loblaw's recent decision to decrease its 50-per-cent off quick sale section to 30 per cent, which was soon rescinded after overwhelming pushback from customers.

“If they are awaiting new stickers why not change the cash to ring it in at 50-per-cent off,” deevarino added.

Many Canadians can't 'just go to Costco'

While many in the comments of the forum are quick to advise users to shop elsewhere or skip out on buying items they deem unnecessary, users remind each other that advice like that is misplaced.

“The fight is not amongst ourselves or shaming someone for wanting a treat or something you would never buy, the fight is against the greedy grocery stores for screwing all of us,” user coco_puffzzzz writes on a post titled "Stop shaming people for what they buy."

Others reminded users that not everyone has the luxury of having access to several shopping outlets to cherrypick from, and not everyone can afford the time to shop around.

"Many simply don’t have the option to run around town to get the best price," DunderMittens wrote. "Not everyone has the luxury of a personal vehicle or all kinds of time to [...] run around town to get the lowest price."

"My personal favourite is 'Just go to Costco'," ZapRowsdower34 wrote. "I live in downtown Toronto. I don’t have a car and my 500 sq. ft. apartment doesn’t have the storage space for bulk items."

"We have a handful of choices and if you’re in a smaller town you have even less options," cosmic-kats added. "I lived in a very small town for a few years and we had Safeway, or Save-On. Had to drive almost two hours for a Wholesale Club/Walmart Supercentre, or two hours the other way to the next town for a Costco/Superstore. You’re not saving money at that point, not with gas."

COLCHESTER, VERMONT - NOVEMBER 13: A family moves through the check out lane with its groceries at a Costco Wholesale store November 13, 2023 in Colchester, Vermont. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
COLCHESTER, VERMONT - NOVEMBER 13: A family moves through the check out lane with its groceries at a Costco Wholesale store November 13, 2023 in Colchester, Vermont. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)