Government should boost grocery competition at home, not seek outsider: experts

  • Canadian Press

TORONTO — Experts say instead of enticing a foreign grocer to come to Canada, Ottawa should look at ways to support smaller and regional grocery companies to boost competition.

Industry Minister François−Philippe Champagne said this week that he’s been reaching out to foreign grocery companies in the hopes they will come to Canada and help strengthen competition in the industry.

But Peter Chapman, founder of consulting firm SKUFood and a former Loblaw executive, says it’s not easy for a foreign chain to come to Canada.

The country’s relatively small population and spread−out geography make it a challenge for companies to build up a network of stores and distribution centres.

Chapman says there are already lots of smaller and regional grocery companies in Canada that the government could be boosting in the name of competition, instead of reaching out to bigger fish across the border.

Gary Sands from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers agrees, adding that the grocery code of conduct being developed could help level the playing field for small− and medium−sized grocery companies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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