Welcome to The Hoser’s Grocery Tracker FAQ page. Living in Toronto is hard. Intersecting with the crushing crises of unaffordable housing costs and withering government systems like health care and public transit, is the ever-increasing cost of food. We feel it every time we go for a shop, whether it be your local big box No Frills, Metro or Sobeys, or your neighbourhood fruit market. We’ve felt the prices rise, we’ve seen our grocery bills keep getting more and more expensive while our load of groceries gets smaller and smaller. This is why our team at The Hoser created The Grocery Tracker, as a way to keep a record of the cost of groceries in the Greater Toronto Area.
What is it?
The Hoser’s Grocery Tracker is a web application created by data journalist and podcast producer Eric Wickham. Every week the tracker collects and records the changing prices of hundreds of grocery items at over 20 (and counting) different stores across the GTA.
Why are you tracking grocery prices?
That food prices are going up is no secret; most people feel the effects that increasing prices on food has on their daily lives. The goals of the Hoser’s grocery tracker are both investigative and practical. We want to track how food costs are changing over time and how they differ across the city, to gain a comprehensive understanding of this ongoing crisis and to determine where accountability should lie. As a more immediate offering to people trying to survive in this city, we also want to provide data on the most affordable places to buy grocery staples at a given time. The findings of the scraper will be published on the The Hoser’s Grocery Tracker page and The Hoser’s journalists will then analyze that data and provide readers with a summary of our findings on our site, as well as in our newsletter and on TikTok. We’re starting small, with questions like ‘Where is milk most affordable this week?’ and ‘How much more expensive is it to shop at Loblaws than at No Frills?’ If you have questions about food costs that you’d like answered, follow us on TikTok and ask us in the comments, or write an email to us here
. The Hoser’s team will also publish periodic investigative pieces, sharing key findings from the found data.
Which items are you tracking?
You tell us! We’re starting with some common grocery staples (like milk, flour and eggs) but we know Toronto is a diverse city and that people’s ideas of a staple will vary. If there is a particular item you have noticed getting more expensive, let us know at email@example.com.
Why aren’t you tracking prices at small, independent stores?
We want to! Unfortunately, the most accessible price data is from large, corporate grocery chains. We understand that this will not generate a complete picture of the grocery landscape, and the cheapest prices among our data, may not represent the absolute cheapest options in the city. But the project is new and its scope and applications are still growing. We have plans for expanding our tracking to smaller businesses. The best way to stay informed about our progress and to potentially engage directly in this data collection will be to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on these platforms.
How can I be involved?
Although the team is open to future collaborations and community contributions, right now the best way to get involved is by supporting the project by subscribing or donating to the Hoser here
. The Grocery Tracker is made possible by the DDRP.