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Jagmeet Singh - Grocery CEOs defend ‘reasonable profitability’ in grilling over soaring food costs - - Canada - county Weston
Grocery CEOs defend ‘reasonable profitability’ in grilling over soaring food costs
inflation and are doing everything they can to keep prices low for Canadians, pinning the blame on suppliers and the global market.But many MPs on the House of Commons agriculture committee were not buying what the CEOs were selling, repeatedly asking the executives to square rising profits with grocery costs that are forcing families to make hard choices at the checkout aisle.“How much profit is too much profit?” asked NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who has made food inflation and alleged “greedflation” by grocers a top issue for his party.“Is there no limit to how much profit you can make on the backs of Canadians that are struggling because they can’t afford their groceries?”“Reasonable profitability is an important part of operating a successful business,” said Loblaw Companies CEO Galen Weston Jr., who stated several times during his testimony that his company makes $1 in profit for every $25 sold.Singh, who’s not a regular member of the committee, advertised his showdown with Weston in a slate of social-media posts ahead of the meeting.Weston appeared alongside Metro Inc. CEO Eric La Fleche and Michael Medline, CEO of Empire Co., which operates chains including Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo.All three companies and their executives have been increasingly under scrutiny for the prices of the food on their shelves.While headline inflation has shown signs of cooling in recent months, prices for food purchased from the grocery store were again up 11.4 per cent in January, according to Statistics Canada.An analysis from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab published in November found all three top grocers beat their five-year averages for profit in the first half of 2022, with Loblaw beating its previous best results