Canadian Redditors Revolt Over Grocery Chain's Gouging

Reddit group Loblaws Is Out of Control does not want to pay $9 for butter, thank you very much
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2024 5:45 PM CDT
Canadian Redditors Up in Arms Over Grocery Chain's Gouging
   (Getty / Kwangmoozaa)

When you're pushing a cart through the grocery store, the effects of inflation can be seen down nearly every aisle. But a group of Redditors in Canada is calling foul on the country's biggest grocer, Loblaws, for continually raising prices in a way they suspect is padding the registers. Per Modern Farmer, the Loblaws Is Out of Control page was started in November by Emily Johnson of Ontario, and it first served as a sounding board to complain about the grocery chain charging $9 for butter and $28 for feta cheese. Things went from complaining to more serious in May, when Loblaws announced its 2024 first quarter earnings: up 10% from the same period last year. A boycott ensued.

"People feel voting with their dollar is the best way of showing companies that they've had enough," Johnson told CBC. While the boycott was initially slated for one month, the group recently decided to extend it "indefinitely," after polling members, who "overwhelmingly" agreed to continue. "The community has spoken and shown great support for extending the boycott and remaining focused on Loblaws. We look forward to seeing our impact once Q2 financials are released," they wrote. The Reddit group ballooned to 82,000 members at the time of this writing, though they say it's closer to 100,000 on all platforms.

Modern Farmer walks through how the boycott has increased traffic and sales to farmer's markets and locally sourced commerce sites, but not everyone thinks it will move the needle. Nicholas Li, an assistant economics professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, cited a previous tiff between Loblaws and PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, where the grocer dug in its heels instead of raising prices, showing "it is willing to leave shelves empty in a fight over money with suppliers." Others say it will be difficult for the chain to ignore the demands, which include reducing prices, implementing price caps, and signing a grocery code of conduct. (Inflation finally moved in the right direction in April.)

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