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Grocery shoppers switching supermarkets to find savings: survey

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With a seven-month-old daughter, saving money on groceries has taken on new importance for Jarrett Martin of Tarbot, N.S.

That's why he makes the roughly one-hour drive into Sydney each week from his home along the Cabot Trail.

"Pretty much everything in the cart has got a sale on it, or we come back next week and wait until it's on sale”, Martin said Wednesday before purchasing groceries at the Walmart in Sydney River, N.S. “And when it's on sale, we buy four or five of them."

Keeping a sharp eye out for discounts these days is not uncommon.

"We look at the flyers, and wherever the deals are that's where we go”, said another Walmart grocery shopper.

"Once upon a time you would just go to Sobeys and get my groceries”, said another shopper outside the Sydney River Sobeys next door. “Now, I check it out before I leave and see what's on."

New numbers reveal more about how grocery shoppers are changing their habits to try and save money.

"More than three in five Canadians have actually switched grocery stores as a result of that, ”said Sylvain Charlebois, head of the Dalhousie University Agri-Foods Lab.

A recent survey headed up by Charlebois found more than 62 per cent of Canadians polled switched primary stores to secure better deals.

It also found people are heading to the grocery store more often.

Roughly 45 per cent say they shop for groceries weekly, 36 per cent more than once a week and roughly five per cent go daily.

Also, more than 59 per cent say they consistently seek discounted food products while shopping

Charlebois said grocery giants should pay attention to these numbers.

"If you're not seen as a grocer that's offering some good deals, you're going to lose some customers, especially right now,” Charlebois said.

Some food banks, like Loaves and Fishes in Sydney, are also shopping wherever they can find a deal.

"I go through the flyers like everybody else,” said Loaves and Fishes general manager Marco Amati. "So if I go on Sobeys' website or No Frills’ website, I'll find out. They have their flyers online."

Martin said he's not married to one particular store; he will go wherever the deals are.

"We tend to come to Walmart more often for our bigger shops,” Martin said. “We go to Sobeys for selected items and whenever we can't get something cheap at Walmart, it's always at the Dollar Store."

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