Food price spikes will spur more couponing

The latest Field Agent insights show what consumers are expecting to happen on the shelf as costs increase.

A combination of drought and COVID-related supply chain issues is driving up food prices in Canada. And according to the latest Field Agent study, 78% of Canadians are concerned enough about it to make changes to how they shop.

The market research firm polled 1,042 shoppers through its Field Agent Insights Platform from Aug. 24 to 29 to get a better sense of how price fluctuations are perceived by Canadian shoppers and how they will pivot in response.

Among its findings: 85% of Canadian shoppers surveyed have noticed grocery price hikes in the past month, while 84% of respondents feel that brands will raise product prices to pass along production cost increases.

Furthermore, 64% of those surveyed feel brands will adjust packaging sizes, with 52% preparing for fewer deals and promotions.

According to those surveyed, 32% say product quality could be reduced, while 18% report that price spikes could even affect the number of products available at shelf.

In response, more than half of those surveyed are making some changes to their grocery shopping habits. This includes:

  • using more coupons (60%)
  • purchasing some grocery product categories less often (55%), primarily chocolate, soft drinks, salty snacks and frozen foods
  • switching to lower priced – but not private label – brands (53%)
  • buying fewer premium brands (52%)

And about a third of shoppers (32%) also report they might change their grocery banner allegiance.

Finally, shoppers were asked about brand trust when it came to retailers offering the lowest prices for groceries.

No Frills and Maxi emerged on top (29%), followed by Real Canadian Superstore (22%), Walmart (20%) and Costco (14%).

According to Statistics Canada’s consumer price index for July, the cost of food rose 1.7 % cent from the same time last year, with butter up 10% and fresh or frozen chicken prices spiking 8.6% year over year.