fter two months of tracking the prices of hundreds of grocery staples across more than 70 retailers in the Greater Toronto Area, our team has been able to identify a few medium term trends.
Perhaps surprisingly (at least it was to us) it seems that Loblaws may not be the most expensive mega-retailer in the city, as Metro’s prices seem to be significantly higher for many items. Metro’s website has been hard for The Hoser’s data journalist Eric Wickham to collect data from, and for some reason it’s the only retailer in the GTA we’ve come across that prevents tracking.
Luckily we were able to analyze specific grocery staples from a recent Real Canadian Superstore receipt and compare those items to the same grocery staples found at Metro. We also looked at items from No Frills and Loblaws for useful context.
Gatorade’s GZero Grape drink, for example, is $6.99 at Metro, versus $4.99 at Loblaws, a 40 per cent difference. Yop drinkable yogurt is also most expensive by volume at Metro at $0.60/100ml, though it should be noted that Loblaws sells packs of 8 for $11.99 while Metro’s smaller packs of 6 are $7.99.
Beef is among the most expensive popular staples across households in the city. As with most items, buying in large quantities nets savings by weight. A club back of stewing beef is 20 per cent more expensive at Metro versus Loblaws: $26.43 versus $22.02 per kilogram respectively. Real Canadian Superstore beats them both. A club pack of stewing beef there costs $19.82 per kilogram, making Loblaws’ offering 33 per cent more expensive per kilogram.
A 454g pack of white mushrooms is $3.99 at No Frills and $5.00 at Real Canadian Superstore, while Metro’s is most expensive at $5.49. (Data was not available for Loblaws).
Buying eggs in large packs is a simple way to cut down on costs, especially in multi-person households. Here, Loblaws is marginally the most expensive. Metro, No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore sell their 30 packs of white eggs for $9.29, compared to Loblaws’ pack at $9.69.
Metro’s sale on sweet potatoes (data collected Nov 25) brings the price lower than Real Canadian Superstore. Much more significant however is the dramatic difference in price between Loblaws and No Frills. Some No Frills locations have sweet potatoes on sale right now ($1.94/kg at Luciano’s No Frills until Nov 29), which is less than half the price of the average across Loblaws.
Our interest in Metro is partially piqued by their price premiums, but also the difficulty encountered by our data journalist when attempting to collect data from their site, specifically. In the meantime, we will keep an eye on Metro’s price differential versus the other major chains. Future reports will include information about trends leading into the holidays as well as profits announcements. We will also include year-end information about the rates of food bank use in the city.