ince the fall of 2023, The Hoser Grocery Tracker has been building and expanding an online tool that collects and compiles price data from grocery store websites across the GTA. Although the main function of the tool is to be used directly by consumers to check prices on key grocery items at stores in their area, the tracker is also meant to create a historical record of grocery item price changes over time. 

This is an ongoing process; now that some time has passed, we’re able to start analyzing grocery prices across a longer timeframe. 

We have created some data visualizations (that just means graphs!) for some items we found interesting. The graphs illustrate average monthly price changes at Loblaws-owned stores (Loblaws, NoFrills, Real Canadian Superstore) over a period of about six months. We have grouped trends into three categories: price decreases, price increases and pizza. 


Let’s start with price decreases because the idea of food prices going down is such a novelty, it’s like we’re taking a trip to the circus. Plus, the items we’ve seen decreasing in price are surprising in themselves.


Since December, prices for 1lb packs of strawberries have steadily fallen. In March we saw a pound of strawberries selling for as little as $1.75! Although Ontario does grow its own strawberries on farms and in greenhouses, peak growing season isn’t until June. Many of the available strawberries come from California and Mexico. We’ve been following this for several weeks, reaching out to many large distributors. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet determined why strawberry prices have fallen, or even been able to convince our local fruit market lady to admit that it’s kinda weird that they’re so cheap. But it is!


Avocados are symbols of ephemeral decadence – how many times have you heard someone make the (serious) joke that they just want to be rich enough to order guacamole on their burrito? And despite their luxurious reputation, avocados are on our list of items that have seen price decreases since last September.  

In Loblaws-affiliated stores, prices for individual avocados have been gradually reducing over time. Individual Avocados have been priced anywhere between $0.99 and $2.99, but over the past few months you can see the average cost per ‘cado drop from about $2.40 to about $2.00, as if it’s rolling down a sloped sidewalk. All that to say, the price may be going down, but your avocado still probably won’t be ripe on the day you want to eat it. 


Next, should we do something dark or something dirty? Because ever-increasing grocery bills while retailers rake in record profits is both of those things!

However, as we discussed in a piece about the Consumer Price Index earlier this year, the rate of inflation for grocery items has been going down after hitting a peak in 2023. Over the past year, the decreasing rate of food inflation has been getting closer to the (still bananas) rate of everything-else inflation. Still, we wanted to shout-out a few items for keeping it real by getting more expensive. 

English Cucumbers

*Takes English cucumber and holds it like a microphone* Why do they call them English Cucumbers anyway – do they rely heavily on prepositions and erratic spelling patterns?

English cucumber prices have been inching upward pretty consistently. In October, the average price of an English cucumber was $1.69 per unit. Since then, the price has climbed by just less than 30 cents and currently stands at $1.98. That’s a 17 per cent increase! In just over half a year! For a very boring vegetable (that’s technically a fruit)!

Frozen Berries

The items listed above are notorious for going bad before they’re sold (let alone eaten!) Not the case for the rest of the items on our list, which are all found in the frozen section.

President’s Choice Frozen 4-Berry Blend is another item which has slowly but surely increased over time. The average price for a 500g bag has increased by just under a dime each month, going from an average of $5.14 last December to $5.46 in March. Each increase seems modest on its own, but over time it adds up to an over 6 per cent price increase in four months.

It’s sort of like when someone says, “If I had a dime for every time the Weston Family mysteriously increased the price of a food item, I’d have a net worth of approximately $16 billion.

Price averages for these frozen berries did go down slightly in April, as this item was put on sale at Loblaws and NoFrills locations last week.


Frozen Pizza

We wish this project could have started a year earlier, because if it had, these graphs would look pretty different. We have it on good authority (from a pizza-loving food data analyst) that frozen pizza used to be considerably less expensive. Meanwhile, the data we have for the past half-year, show that prices have gone up and down, but the average today is not far from where it was in September.

What’s interesting about this pizza data is that two different pizzas by Dr. Oetker show identical price fluctuations over the months. Regardless of the toppings (Spinach or Pepperoni) and weight (390g or 320g), a price change in one is always reflected in the other as well. What does it mean? That all pizza flavours are made from the same food-adjacent substance? Only more graphs across time will tell. 

Apr 30, 2024
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