Food prices finally starting to stabilize after months of sharp increases

It cost 11 per cent more to fill your grocery cart now than it did a year ago but if you take the time and effort to comparison shop, your bill doesn’t have to be any higher than it was at the end of 2021.

Munther Zeid, owner of Food Fare, the largest Manitoba-based independent grocery chain, says all the major players have a different special every week.

“Corn Flakes might be on sale with us one week and at Safeway the following week,” he said.

It’s particularly important to price shop your produce and meats because the competition in those areas is particularly fierce, he said.

“I’ve used my fresh departments as a way to compensate my customers for groceries,” he said.

Zeid believes grocery prices are stabilizing after months of sharp increases but he’d be “amazed” if they started to fall any time soon.

“In our industry, when prices go up, they try to keep them up,” he said.

Here’s a selection of grocery items that have risen significantly in price over the last 12 months according to Statistics Canada. Coffee and tea (16.8 per cent), eggs (16.7 per cent), cereal (15.7 per cent) and bakery products (15.5 per cent).

One product with a never-ending string of deals is toilet paper, he said. One brand will be on sale one week with another discounted the following week and a third the week after that.

“There are deals happening all the time,” he said.

As national chains cut back on the number of cashiers ringing your groceries through in favour of self-serve check-outs, prices should be falling, Zeid said. Food Fare will not be looking for such savings.

“We’re never going to self-check-out. We’ve built our business on service, so we’ve got butchers cutting your meat and cashiers greeting you with a smile. We’ll carry your groceries out to your car and put them in your trunk. We’re part of the community, we’re creating jobs,” he said.