Could more competition reduce costs?
Food prices in Canada are rising faster than just about any other sector and the federal government is shopping around for explanations and solutions. The Competition Bureau announced on Monday that it's launching an investigation into the most effective ways to boost grocery store competition and combat unsavoury food costs.
"Competition benefits all Canadians. Greater competition means lower prices, more choice and better convenience for consumers," the bureau wrote in a release.
"This study is not an investigation into allegations of specific wrongdoing. However, if we find evidence during this review that someone is breaking the law, we will investigate and take appropriate action."
Food-related inflation in Canada hit a 40-year high at 11.4% in September, more than double the 5.4% inflation rate for non-food-related goods.
The food retail industry has come under fire recently with widespread accusations of food price fixing. Some economics experts claim that supermarkets control prices and make strategic pricing decisions based on what they think the market can handle.
Meanwhile, grocery stores point to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, global instability due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and extreme weather patterns for spiking food prices.
The Competition Bureau is relying on "publicly available information" to complete its study and has invited Canadians to send written or oral responses on any matter "relating to competition in the retail grocery sector in Canada." The deadline to submit comments is December 16.
The bureau is planning to publish its report in June 2023.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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