Higher Food Prices Coming

CBJ — The CEOs of three of the country’s largest grocery chains say they expect to see food prices going up in the near future.

The increase to minimum wages in some provinces, increased fuel and transportation costs and an ongoing trade war with the U.S. are all cited as reasons for the pending price increases.

Metro CEO Eric La Fleche said consumers should eventually see a return to more normal inflation levels.

Empire CEO Michael Medline echoed those sentiments.

Cost pressures have been building over the past year, beginning with Ontario’s minimum wage hike from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, followed by rising fuel and transportation costs.

Then came the Canadian government’s retaliatory tariffs on July 1 on a wide range of American products, including coffee, maple syrup, salad dressing and other foods.

However, Loblaw CEO Galen Weston says the price increases are likely to be moderate in a historical sense. He foresees food inflation of up to 1.5%, which is in the normal range as opposed to higher 5% range.

In any event, it seems apparent the grocery chains will pass on any additional costs to consumers.