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Nationwide rallies call out record grocery store profits amid affordability crisis

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Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) staged a demonstration outside Loblaw Company limited stores across nine cities in Canada, including Halifax, Moncton and Fredericton, to demand an end to price gouging by major grocery chains.

“There’s basically no justification for it because not only are the big grocers raking in record profits, but their profit margins are actually larger than double what they were prior to the pandemic,” said Timothy Allenby, Acorn’s Dartmouth Chapter co-chair. “Meanwhile we’re out here with what essentially used to be maybe an $80 shop is now $160.”

The group said many of its members share the struggle of having to choose between paying their rent and buying groceries.

“We’re hearing from people coming to ACORN that money just isn’t going as far anymore with what little they might have, and they’re left substituting it in lower quality food.”

With many Canadians feeling the pinch due to the affordability crisis, demonstrators say it is exacerbated by the soaring grocery prices at the grocery store, while major chains are reporting record profits.

Loblaw has over 2,500 locations. It represents just one of the major grocery chains dominating the market with more than 20 food brands under its banner.

“People at the top have continued getting obscenely wealthy, while everyone who was at the bottom is suffering more and everyone who was in the middle is being pushed down,” explained Allenby.

ACORN Canada is urging the federal government to take action by taxing excessive profits made by grocery chains and implementing price caps on essential food items. “If they are going to charge these ridiculous prices, that money should then become available to us for social goods like house building, affordability programs, (and) bring that money back into the public purse so that it can be used for the common good,” said Allenby.

Similar measures have been adopted in European countries, he said.

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