How much did that bread cost you?

If you live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, or have visited lately, you’ve no doubt seen the New Lower Prices signs at Sobeys grocery stores. These bright orange arrows decorate the flyers and signs both inside and outside the stores. Sobeys is hoping the campaign will lure you into the store because, after all, who doesn’t like lower prices? We all like a good deal, right?

Lately as I’ve been driving past these signs and walking through the store (yes, I will admit to shopping at Sobeys sometimes), I find myself thinking about food prices. We already have very low food prices in Canada and the United States compared to the rest of the world and now grocery stores such as Sobeys are attempting to lower them even more. Of course junk food is always cheaper than healthy food, but for the most part we can’t complain about the price of our healthy food either. And of course there’s also a difference between urban and rural prices. For example, a jug of milk costs more at the Co-op store in the small town near my family farm than it does at Sobeys or any other grocery store in the city. But regardless, the prices are still not out of reach for most of us.

Approximately one billion people in the world don’t have enough to eat, according to the United Nations World Food Program. In 2010-11 rising food costs pushed about 70 million people into poverty around the world. Food costs seem to be rising everywhere but here. And it’s here that many of us can afford to pay higher prices. The world’s poorest people spend up to 80 per cent of their income on food, while Canadians spend less than 10 per cent, according to a Oxfam report.

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is food. This also happens to be World Food Day, a time to bring attention to the need to alleviate hunger around the world. However this shouldn’t just take place one day of the year, but rather 365 days of the year. While some of us are enjoying new lower food prices, there are hungry people around the world who are facing rising food prices. Remember this not just today but every day of the year, and choose to be thankful for our accessible, affordable food and the farmers who produce it.


5 thoughts on “How much did that bread cost you?

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  1. And remember to put some food in the grocery store’s food bins for Harvest! Btw, what’s wrong with Sobeys? (“I will admit to shopping at Sobey’s sometimes.”)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Candace. There’s nothing wrong with Sobeys. I sometimes shop there because of the convenience (it’s kiddie corner from my place). I just sometimes wonder how they can offer such low food prices. Are they or the processors taking a cut? Or is it the producers who are making even less money? (That’s another blog post…)

  2. Good topic for Blog Action Day, Teresa. I don’t know about Sobey’s in particular, but it sounds as though it, like other big food retailers, is reflecting consumers’ zeal for low prices. I suspect it must emphasize price to stay competitive, despite the impact on farmers.

    1. Thanks for reading, Owen. You’re right. It’s all about staying competitive. Wal-Mart is now selling groceries and Target is coming to Winnipeg soon. This means more competition for grocery chains like Sobeys. I am concerned though about the impact these lower food prices are having on producers.

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