Bruske: Corporate concentration drives up food prices as a few companies occupy an outsized market share
OTTAWA––As Canadian families struggle to afford their grocery bill and as profits for grocery chains grow, Canada’s unions are calling on governments to take action on greedflation and the role it has played fuelling the ongoing inflation crisis.
“Rising prices on family essentials is making life so difficult for families today. But it’s not a new problem. Food price inflation has led general inflation for decades, with the average grocery bill rising an astounding 70% in the past twenty years,” said CLC President Bea Bruske. “At the root of this problem is corporate concentration. The few companies that control much of the Canadian market have taken advantage – leading to record profits.”
Bruske noted how two companies, Cargill and JBS Foods, slaughter 95% of Canadian cattle. Another two companies, Weston Bakeries and Canada Bread, make up 80% of our nation’s bread market. Meanwhile, Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Walmart, and Costco hold a combined almost 80% of Canada’s grocery-market sales.
“Canada has one of the most concentrated food systems in the world. This means food corporations have the power to raise prices and extract huge profits,” said Bruske. “The government must step in, determine the role corporate concentration and pandemic profiteering is having on rising food prices, and take strong and direct action to address the problem.”
Bruske added that this can start by supporting the NDP’s motion that will be tabled at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food calling for a study on profit-driven inflation in the grocery sector and examining record profits of large grocery chains’ CEOs while employees’ wages are stagnant and the cost of groceries keeps rising.
“We urge the government to work on policies that ensure workers and their families are not made to pay for an inflation crisis they did not create,” concluded Bruske. “It’s time greedy companies that are driving up prices and earning huge profits are made to pay their fair share.”
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