Grocery shoppers looking for value, not price sensitive: Weston

grocery shoppers - Rising food prices

Headline after headline and research study after research study suggest grocery shoppers across North America are being hard hit by skyrocketing CPG prices and are shifting their shopping behaviour to stretch their grocery budgets. 

Case in point, a few headlines from my weekend reading:

  • “Majority of Canadians will change food buying habits amid rising prices”

  • “Foot traffic slows at grocery stores as inflation takes hold”

  • “Consumers likely to trade down to chicken as beef prices soar”

Galen Weston: Shifts in price sensitivity not that dramatic

In contrast, I read an article via Canadian Grocer Magazine titled “Consumers Still Spending Despite Food Inflation” in which Loblaw chairman and president Galen G. Weston is quoted saying “customers are definitely seeking value, but the shift isn’t as dramatic as one might expect”. 

Further, Mr. Weston suggests the company is seeing “a slight swing towards price sensitivity as opposed to a dramatic left turn…an indication of the consumer having more money in their wallets still, than they would have had pre-COVID levels,”

As a frequent grocery shopper, I have more than a “slight swing” towards price sensitivity.  Rather, I am continually shocked at how high prices are getting in every category of product wondering how the vast majority of Canadians can afford to eat.

As an omnichannel marketing consultant I am wondering if Mr. Weston is either out of touch with the challenges average food shoppers are facing today (I like to think not) or just playing to his shareholders.  After all, his quotes are coming on the day Loblaw’s announced its first-quarter results.

grocery shoppers surprised at grocery prices

Rising grocery prices leaving shoppers surprised

Grocery Shopping Behaviour is Shifting

But just in case Mr. Weston needs a reminder, here is some data from a research study in January from Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics Lab in partnership with Caddle, in field long before inflation hit 6.7%, the Russia-Ukraine war which has put additional stress on global supply chains and “shrinkflation” became a thing:

  • 63% per cent of respondents said they intended to change their food buying habits in 2022.

  • 51.7% per cent of Canadians saying they intend to avoid restaurants in 2022.

  • 45.5% said they plan to consult flyers more often before shopping for food in order to find savings offers

  • 30.3% said they will buy in bulk more in 2022

  • 26.8% per cent said they will buy discounted food about to expire.

How are higher grocery prices impacting your household?

Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time, thanks for visiting.

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