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Canada’s grocery giants reveal new plans to stabilize food prices

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Almost two months ago Canada’s grocery chain giants promised Ottawa they would roll out plans to lower food prices under threat of new taxes. But for weeks, almost no one would say what those plans were or what they would mean for consumers around the country. Now, the major chains are starting to reveal plans for steeper discounts on staples and price freezes on thousands of packaged goods. But according to some industry observers, it’s not clear if those moves will make a serious dent in inflation, or whether the big grocers are just benefiting from good timing as cost pressures subside. On Monday, Sobeys’ parent Empire Company Ltd., Canada’s second-largest grocer, told the Star it is freezing prices on thousands of products, mostly in the centre aisles of its stores, until early next year. The price freeze, however, only builds on an existing tradition in the Canadian grocery business, where major retail chains often refuse to accept price increases from suppliers in an attempt to simplify their operations for the holiday sales blitz.

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