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Grocery shoppers switching stores to find discounts and deals: report

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Many Canadians are swapping their go-to grocery store in search of lower prices, according to a new survey.

Dalhousie’s Agri Food Analytics Lab released a report this week that found nearly two-thirds of grocery customers have swapped stores in favour of cheaper options. Once they're inside shopping, the report found that nearly 60 per cent of customers consistently seek out discounted food products, with clearance items or those approaching their best before date at the top of their shopping lists.

The numbers come as many Canadians continue to struggle with the high price of groceries. A new Leger survey has found that 64 per cent of Canadians think that the rate of inflation at the grocery store is worsening.

When shopping for a family, every dollar counts.

"Yeah, definitely. We're looking for deals," said shopper Sam Norwood, while loading up groceries at a No Frills store in Stittsville.

He says his family spend on groceries is about $300 per week and he goes to where the savings are.

"It used to be, you just go to one store. But now, we definitely shop around." Norwood said.

Sylvain Charlebois, a Canadian researcher and professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, said he was shocked by the results.

"Over 60 per cent of Canadians have actually switched stores, their primary store, because there weren't enough discounts. That's a lot," he said.

"So it means that really people are walking away from grocers who aren't necessarily offering discounts. Clearly consumers are expecting as an incentive.

Loblaw recently scrapped a 50 per cent discount for old or items at or nearing their best before date at its stores, but reversed the policy only days later after public backlash. This all comes as Loblaw shared its fourth quarter earnings this week, which increased 3.7 per cent, or $524 million, to $14.5 billion, from the same period last year.

The stores run under Loblaw, which include the Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills, are the top destination for discounted food, the survey found. It was followed by Walmart, Costco, Metro/Foodbasics and Giant Tiger.

"I love Giant Tiger," said Joni Sabourin, who was shopping at the GT location in Stittsville.

"Stuff that I can't get at the regular store, like chicken and that. So I buy canned goods, eggs, milk, cream because it's way better priced here."

With files from CTVNews.ca

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