Some Canadians are stealing expensive food items from stores as the cost of living continues to rise, and a few have even taken to social media to brag.
Last week, Dalhousie University professor Sylvain Charlebois wrote about the impact of grocery shoplifting.
“Grocery theft has always been a big problem, but with food inflation the way it is, retailers now fear criminals more than ever,” wrote the director of the Halifax Agricultural Food Analysis Laboratory in an article published Jan. 10.
“According to some industry data, the average retail food store in Canada can have $2,000 to $5,000 worth of groceries stolen per week.” With relatively tight profit margins in the food industry, this amount is huge. In order to cover the losses, traders have to raise prices, so in the end we all pay for the theft of food.”
Twitter users were not happy with Charlebois’ words, with some proudly admitting they had stolen and others repeating the phrase: “If you see someone stealing, no, you’re not.”
Charlebois eventually responded to some of the backlash online, standing firm on his stance on grocery theft.
“You think it’s appropriate to shoplift just because you think food prices are too high? Crazy,” he said wrotewhile retweeting another Twitter user.
Since it was posted on Twitter on January 10, Charlebois’ tweet has received more than seven million views and hundreds of replies, most of which disagreed with his stance.
Some people online also called out Charlebeau personally, revealing his income and saying he was “having fun” for Loblaw Companies Ltd. and the family of Galen Weston.
Outrage over rising grocery prices has been a hot topic as inflation continues to affect Canadians.
Earlier in January, a picture of a chicken breast package at a Loblaw in Toronto went viral, as people expressed outrage at its expensive label.
The photo, taken by CTV News reporter Siobhan Morris, shows a five-pack of chicken selling for nearly $27/kg.
In November, both Loblaw and Metro reported sales and profit growth, but shared that they reject continued supplier price increases.
Research from Dalhousie University also found that three of Canada’s leading food companies — Loblaw, Metro and Empire — will post higher profits in 2022 compared to their average performance over the past five years.
Notably, Loblaw beat its five-year average performance, but it also outperformed any of those years individually.
According to a food report released in December, a Canadian family of four will spend about $1,066 more on groceries in 2023, and food prices will rise up to 7 percent over last year.
“Canadians are expected to continue to feel the effects of high food inflation in 2023, and food insecurity and affordability will also be a major issue with rising food prices,” said the report on food prices in Canada.
“Canadians will still need to be prepared to spend more in the year ahead.”