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Latest Weston Foods News
Jun 27, 2023
Tue., June 27, 2023timer2 min. read Canada’s competition watchdog will release the findings Tuesday morning of its study looking into rising food prices and industry competition, as Canadians continue to grapple with food costs increasing at the fastest rate in four decades while grocery stores report record profits. The Competition Bureau launched its market study of grocery store competition in October with the aim of examining whether the highly concentrated sector is contributing to soaring food costs. The federal regulator said at the time that it plans to study various issues “with the goal of recommending measures that governments can take to help improve competition in the sector. “More competition means lower prices, more choices, and better convenience for consumers,” the statement said. Canada’s food retail market is highly consolidated with five leading retailers, including the country’s top three grocers — Loblaw Companies Ltd., Empire Co. Ltd. (owner of Sobeys, Farm Boy and Longo’s), and Metro Inc. — commanding more than 75 per cent of the market, according to a 2021 report from the United States Department of Agriculture. Canadian consumers have seen their purchasing power decline and food costs climb, which has been blamed on several factors including supply-chain disruptions, the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather, rising inflation and the conflict in Ukraine. But the supermarket chains are facing mounting scrutiny, with critics saying they are hiking prices faster than necessary and profiting from inflation. Food prices have increased by 18 per cent over the past two years, and as of April, food prices were still 8.3 per cent higher than a year ago, according to a recent RBC report. Over the last several months during the study, the federal regulator was set to consult with stakeholders including grocery retailers of all sizes, industry experts and government officials. It also invited Canadians to provide written or oral statements on the matter. However, the watchdog said it would not be looking into specific allegations of wrongdoing nor does it have the formal investigative powers to “compel information for the purpose of market studies. “If we do find evidence during this study that someone may be doing something against the law, then we will investigate and take appropriate action,” the bureau said. The Competition Bureau investigates anti-competitive practices that create price increases, including price-fixing, fraud and restrictive trade practices. But the bureau does not have formal investigative powers to get information from grocery chains for the purpose of market studies. Last week, Canada Bread admitted to colluding with rival Weston Foods to set Canadian bread prices, marking a major development in the Competition Bureau’s seven-year investigation into one of the largest price-fixing scandals in the country’s history. The plea agreement from Canada’s largest producer and distributor of fresh bread and bakery products includes a record $50-million fine for co-ordinating price hikes with Weston Foods in 2007 and in 2010-11. This is a developing story. Ghada Alsharif is a Toronto-based business reporter for the Star. Reach Ghada via email: email@example.com SHARE:
Weston Foods Team
1 Team Member
Weston Foods has 1 team member, including former President, Gaetan Lussier.