News Briefs

  • 10/18/2022

    Soaring prices at the grocery store fuelled Canada's inflation in September

    vector illustration on the theme of rising food prices. The rise in prices for products. grocery set, food basket, stack of coins and up arrow. trend illustration in flat style

    OTTAWA - Canadians are continuing to feel the pinch at the grocery store as food prices soared last month at the fasted rate since August 1981.

    Statistics Canada's latest consumer price index report shows that while overall inflation cooled slightly to 6.9% for the month of September from 7.0% inflation in August, food prices were up a staggering 11.4% compared with a year ago.

    Statistics Canada says food prices have been increasing at a faster rate than all the items the consumer price index tracks for 10 consecutive months.

    Statistics Canada says on a year-over-year basis, Canadians paid more for items such as meat, which was up 7.6%, dairy products, which rose 9.7%, bakery products, which rose 14.8%, and fresh vegetables which were up 11.8%.

    The agency says unfavourable weather conditions contributed to food price increases.

    Higher prices for important inputs such as fertilizer and natural gas, as well as geopolitical instability stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine also contributed to the increases, Statistics Canada says.

    -The Canadian Press

  • 10/18/2022

    Metro says it won't accept supplier cost hikes over holidays to keep prices stable

    Metro Ontario inc. office in Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada. Metro Inc. is a Canadian food retailer operating in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

    MONTREAL - Metro Inc. says it will not accept cost increases from its suppliers over a three-month period in order to keep grocery prices stable during the holidays.

    The grocer says this is a long-standing practice at Metro to avoid retail price changes during the busiest time of the year.

    Marie-Claude Bacon, a spokeswoman for the Montreal-based company, says this applies to Metro's private-label brands and national brand products and runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 5.

    Metro's comments come a day after Loblaw Companies Ltd. said it would freeze prices on all its No Name products until next year as double-digit food inflation sends grocery bills spiralling.

    Loblaw said it locked in prices of the popular house brand, which includes more than 1,500 grocery items, until Jan. 31, 2023.

    However, Metro's comments suggest it's not without precedent for grocers to hold the line on prices during the holiday shopping season.

    -The Canadian Press

  • 10/15/2022

    Voters to decide on California ban on flavored tobacco

    vaping ice cream cone, signifying flavours

    SAN DIEGO (AP) - Two years ago, California banned flavoured tobacco products such as menthol cigarettes and cotton candy vaping juice, arguing that they mostly attracted kids and were especially dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic when youth deaths spiked from respiratory complications.

    But the law never took effect. Tobacco giants, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA, spent $20 million on a campaign that gathered enough signatures to put the issue to the voters.

    Californians now will decide on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot whether to toss out the law or keep it.

    The issue has set off a fierce fight. The tobacco companies are pushing hard to keep from being shut out of a large portion of California's vast market. Meanwhile, supporters of the ban, who include doctors, child welfare advocates and the state's dominant Democratic Party, say the law is necessary to put a stop to the staggering rise in teen smoking.

    However, the California Republican Party wants to repeal the law, saying it would cause a giant loss in tax revenue. The independent Legislative Analyst's Office estimates it could cost the state tens of millions of dollars to around $100 million annually.

    If voters approve, California would become the second state in the nation to enact such a ban after Massachusetts. A number of cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, have already enacted their own bans.

    It's already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates of the ban say flavored cigarettes and vaping cartridges are still too easy for teens to obtain. The ban wouldn't make it a crime to possess such products, but retailers who sold them to kids could be fined up to $250.

    The ban, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, would also prohibit the sale of pods for vape pens, tank-based systems and chewing tobacco, with exceptions made for hookahs, some cigars and loose-leaf tobacco.

    The tobacco industry's campaign has painted the ban as being especially bad for Black and Latino people, who use menthol at higher rates than others.

    "It's unfair for communities of colour. Bad law. Bad consequences,'' said one online banner ad paid for by RAI Services, a subsidiary of Reynolds American, which is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

    But the ads drew a backlash from some Black leaders who call the campaign offensive.

    "I am insulted that the tobacco industry would make an effort to make us believe that mentholated cigarettes are part of African American culture, and that this is a discriminatory piece of legislation against Black people,'' then-Assemblywoman Shirley Weber said before the Legislature voted on the ban. Weber, a San Diego Democrat who chaired the California Legislative Black Caucus, is now California's secretary of state.

    So far the campaign to allow the law to take effect has raised more than $6 million, nearly four times more than the effort to stop it, according to state campaign finance records.

    Some small neighbourhood market owners favour repealing the law, calling it another blow to their businesses as they struggle to recover from a drop in sales during the pandemic.

    -The Associated Press

  • 10/14/2022

    New online grocery service now delivering in Iqaluit

    Bayside Foods delivery truck

    A new online grocery store opened in Iqaluit last month.

    Bayside Foods started taking same-day delivery orders on Sept. 7. Unlike other existing grocery stores in the city, the outlet offers doorstep delivery.

    Iqalummiut are already trading stories about the company online.

    "Super fresh fruits that I have never seen all over Iqaluit in my three years of living here. Very reasonable pricing,'' posted Ramkumar Pandiarajan, who ordered from the grocery service.

    The company's Facebook page is already filled with positive reviews.

    "Great options, reasonable prices, fast delivery and the best customer service! And who doesn't love groceries delivered right to your door,'' wrote Vanessa Imelda, another satisfied customer.

    According to Vincent Yvon, the company's chief executive officer, the store is filling a big need.

    "The city needs a store like ours because a lot of residents are too busy to eat well,'' he said. "By giving our customers the option of getting fresh whole foods delivered to their door, we're adding to the healthy eating culture in Iqaluit.''

    Yvon also explained the company has big plans for Iqaluit.

    "We hope within the next year to deliver to more than 50 households per day and to give back to the community through employment opportunities and continued savings at the cash register,'' he said. "We want to bring more culturally appropriate foods to our diverse customer base as well.''

    He went on to explain how they make sure the food stays affordable.

    "We're always comparing prices locally to make sure we are priced very well, and we use suppliers like Northern Shopper that understand our community's need for affordable, high quality food,'' he said.

    -Nunavut News

  • 10/10/2022

    Metro partners with Les Produits du Québec to promote local products

    People lining up with 2m social distancing before entering a Metro Grocery store on Easter Saturday. Montreal, Canada. April, 11, 2020

    Metro is partnering with Les Produits du Québec – a non-profit organization created with support from the Quebec government to recognize and promote locally made products  – to introduce its certification markers. 

    Over the next few weeks, the Product of Québec, Manufactured in Québec and Designed in Québec designations will be seen on locally made products in Jean Coutu and Brunet pharmacies as well as Metro and Super C stores in the province. 

    "This partnership will allow us to offer customers the products they want and allow us to continue our support of local businesses while contributing to the socio-economic activity in the regions we operate," said Josée Houle, vice-president, merchandising, Jean Coutu and Brunet.

    Nearly 20,000 products have already obtained Les Produits du Québec’s designation and the list continues to grow, said Elfi Morin, the organization’s general manager. 

    “This partnership is another major step forward, after less than six months of activity. Together, we are making it easier to identify and purchase Quebec products in stores and online,” Morin added.

    This new identification is in addition to the Aliments du Québec and Aliments préparés au Québec labels already in place in Metro, Metro Plus and Super C stores in Quebec.

    -Canadian Grocer

  • 10/10/2022

    Public meeting conducted for proposed drive thru restaurant at Listowel Pioneer gas station

    Pioneer gas pumps

    LISTOWEL - North Perth council received a report and held a statutory public meeting to receive comments from the public regarding a proposed drive-thru restaurant at the Pioneer gas station on Sept. 26.

    The meeting was open to the public for comments regarding an application for a zoning bylaw amendment for 605 Mitchell Rd. South in Listowel, Ont. The property in question is the current Pioneer gas station and convenience store located on the corner of Mitchell Road South and Kincaid Street West in Listowel. The applicant proposes adding a drive-thru restaurant to the existing site.

    Susanna Reid, senior planner for the Planning Division of Perth County, presented the report to council and the public. Currently, a drive-thru restaurant is not permitted by the zoning bylaws, but the applicant is asking for an amendment to the bylaw in order to proceed with development. Further, the developer is looking to add two additional buildings to the property to fulfill the needs for the drive-thru restaurant. These additions conform to zoning requirements and the proposed restaurant exceeds the minimum requirements, such as it provides more landscaped space and parking spaces than required, it has less coverage than the maximum coverage allowed, and provides more open space than the minimum requirement in current bylaws.

    During the public meeting, Pierre Chauvin of MHBC Planning, an agent for the adjacent property owner, Nizar Mawani, had concerns with respect to the application and stormwater easement. Currently, the Pioneer property has an easement for drainage that is on the southwest area of the property line to the middle of adjacent lands located to the south. This drainage pipe was developed prior to the severing of the land.

    The Pioneer property and Mawani were suggesting relocating the drainage easement somewhere that would coincide with future developments on the lands to the south. The two parties were close to an agreement, regarding this relocation and a possible easement for access to the Pioneer property on the south side. Chauvin wanted to reserve the right to appeal the amendment in the future if negotiations don't end favourably.

    The agents for the application were John Niften and Yash Kumar, who represented the corporation that owns the Pioneer Petroleum property and are proposing this change. Once more discussion took place at the public meeting, neither expressed a need for access to an easement on the south side of the Pioneer property.

    Further, there were concerns raised by council about the flow of traffic from Kincaid Street West to the entrance and from the exit of the drive-thru and that this would be a high-traffic site, with both the drive-thru restaurant and gas station.

    A resolution was not requested, only that council received the report and that public comments and questions were voiced. The applicant will be returning to present to council a recommendation for an amendment to the bylaw. Council received the report but did not propose any action at the Sept. 26 meeting.

    -Listowel Banner

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