Farmers Forum staff
HALIFAX — Canadian consumers aren’t too keen on having the government intervene in the grocery marketplace as a solution to high food inflation. A minority of respondents in a recent survey indicated the government should regulate the prices of certain food staples (44 %), and an even smaller group supported the establishment of a state-run, Crown corporation grocery chain to increase competition (just 4.5 %). Only 19.1 % supported imposing a windfall tax on the grocery retailers.
The survey of 9,884 Canadians was conducted by the Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics lab in March and used the online survey app Caddle. The survey was launched at the end of March to gauge public attitudes on food prices after major grocery-store CEOs were questioned on the topic at the Standing Committee in Agriculture and Agri-Food in Ottawa. Only 35% of respondents followed the proceedings, but of those that did, only 32.9 % felt the grocers were either very convincing or convincing in their testimony. Only 24.7 % felt the grocers were transparent and forthcoming enough by the data they shared.
A total of 30.3 % of respondents blamed price gouging by grocery retailers as the main reason for the recent rise in food prices, while 29.9 % attributed it mainly to inflation produced by monetary and fiscal policies.
Nova Scotians were most likely to blame the retailer as the main reason for rising grocery prices (51.8 %) while Quebecers were least likely (21.8 %). Among Ontarians, 31.7 % blamed the retailer.
Of those respondents aware of Canada’s proposed “Grocery Code of Conduct,” 68.1 % were in favour. An update on the code’s development is expected from the federal agriculture minister in April.