Connect with us


Why these Londoners are joining the Loblaw boycott | CBC News



You’ve heard of inflation and shrinkflation, maybe even pinkflation — but what about greedflation? 

It’s one of the reasons a growing number of Canadians are joining a month-long boycott against Loblaw companies that launched Wednesday — and some Londoners are joining in the efforts to ditch the corporate grocers and divert money to smaller, local grocery stores.

“I am a big believer in voting with my dollars and really focusing on local options,” said Londoner Lisa Cardinal.

Cardinal has cancelled her weekly grocery pickup through a Loblaw-owned grocer, and although she already shops local when she can, is eager to shift her habits even more.

The boycott was launched by a Reddit group with around 70,000 members called “Loblaws is out of control.” Loblaw and other major grocers have been under fire from politicians and consumers for reporting high profits as some Canadians are struggling to afford food as grocery prices continue to rise. 

Organizers of the boycott say the goal is to reduce grocery prices and increase food security for Canadians, and bring a list of demands, including the company sign a grocers’ code of conduct and reduce food prices by 15 per cent. 

Lisa Cardinal compiled a list of around 150 local grocery shops in the London region and submitted them to to encourage more people to look for alternatives to big grocery chains. (Submitted by Lisa Cardinal)

Cardinal built a list of more than 150 local grocery stories in the London area including communities like St. Thomas,  Aylmer and Thames Centre, and posted them to, a website geared at supporting small and medium-sized grocers, farmers and bakeries across Canada.  

“I think one of the most important things is to talk about it and to understand why [groceries] are getting expensive, and part of that is the profit that the companies are making,” said Cardinal.

LISTEN: Why Lisa Cardinal gathered a list of more than 150 small grocers in the London area

Frustrated shoppers boycott Loblaw stores for month of May

Canadians frustrated with rising groceries prices have pledged to boycott Loblaw-owned stores for the month of May. On the same day it was set to begin, Canada’s largest grocer reported a nearly 10 per cent increase in profits.

Food system needs changing, says Londoner

Londoner Amy Ford says her family is doing their best to participate in the boycott to send a message that “price-gouging strategies simply aren’t OK,” she said, but also that the food system needs to change as a whole. 

Shopping more at farmers’ markets, buying direct from farms and relying on fresh produce from community-supported agriculture (CSA) food boxes are a few of the habits she’s ramping up as part of the boycott. 

woman stands against a tree in glasses
Londoner Amy Ford joined the boycott to send a message that the food system needs changing. (Submitted by Amy Ford)

“It goes beyond Loblaws,” Ford said.

“We’re getting food from faraway places at high prices and it’s not flowing to the farmers, it’s actually just lining the pockets of billionaires,” she said. “The problem is that the folks who are producing the food that’s keeping us all alive are not really benefiting from these inflated prices that we’re seeing.”

For her, lower prices are not the main issue at play. 

“I hope that people understand in a capitalist system when prices go down, rich people don’t get less rich. They just find new ways to undercut growers or sell us lower quality food from less ethical suppliers.”

There are still limitations to the boycott, Ford recognizes. 

“With any boycott, it’s only accessible to people who don’t have major barriers in their life,” she said, saying boycotting whatever store is closest or most convenient isn’t on the table for everyone.  

She hopes the corporations get the message that there needs to be a “reimagining of the food system in a way that’s better for everyone.”

Loblaw profits increasing 

Loblaw Companies reported $13.58 billion in first-quarter revenue for 2024 — a 4.5 per cent increase from last year. Their quarterly profits reached $459 million, marking a nearly 10 cent increase.

In 2022, Galen Weston was paid $8.4 million from Loblaw Companies Ltd., up from $5.4 million in 2021, and $3.5 million in 2020. 

The company has more than 2,400 stores across Canada, according to its website, including retailers like Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Loblaw Companies reported $13.58 billion in first-quarter revenue for 2024 (Michael Wilson/CBC)

Loblaw previously said they wouldn’t sign an earlier draft of the code, saying it could cause food prices to go up further, but in recent days, Loblaw CEO Per Bank said he’s become “cautiously optimistic” about how the code would work.

In response to the boycott, a spokesperson from the company told CBC News that Loblaw is “acutely aware” that it has to win its customers’ business each day.

“The last few years have been tough for Canadians, and we continue to do what we can to combat inflation at our stores,” the spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.

Continue Reading