1708035149 39I come twice a week instead of once39 Quebecers spend

'I come twice a week instead of once': Quebecers spend more time at the grocery store looking for discounts

Quebecers continue to adapt to obscene food prices. They are looking for discounts more than before, which is pushing them to go to the grocery store even more often.

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“I come twice a week instead of once,” says Mario Ethier, who can be found in the hallways of a Maxi in Montreal on Wednesday. At 70, we're talking about a regular in the race for discounts.

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The Montrealer lets his best friend drive him every Thursday because he doesn't have a car. The other time it was his nephew who took him to the store.

“I buy pretty much everything at Maxi, except meat, which I get at Metro,” says the pensioner, who lives alone. Thanks to discounts, he saves “at least $20 a week” on his grocery bill, which ranges from $60 to $75.

The septuagenarian who “doesn’t want to know anything” about the Internet pays 26 to 33% less thanks to Raddar, the “new” Publisac. The quartered sheet of paper combines flyers from several retailers and is delivered to your doorstep once a week.

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Super Mario

“It’s Super Mario!” It does exactly the right thing,” says food expert Sylvain Charlebois.

In the face of skyrocketing prices, we have to be imaginative and create new consumption habits, he says. The era of newsletters is over, we have to reinvent ourselves.

The researcher published the results of a survey on Thursday that clearly showed that people are going to the grocery store more often: from 1.29 times a week in 2018 to 1.71 times today.

Mario Ethier, 70, goes to the supermarket twice as often as before.  Thanks to discounts, he receives about $70 a week.

People go to the supermarket much more often than they did five years ago. Graphic from the survey

There is no shortage of opportunities to save, argues the researcher. We leave money on the table if we don't take it.

Fruit and vegetables are most often bought on special offer (59.9%). Meat (59.7%) and packaged and preserved products (57.7%) follow closely behind.

The survey shows that 6 out of 10 customers come to the grocery store just to take advantage of discounts. 56% of them choose the store they go to based on the discounts offered.

Mario Ethier, 70, goes to the supermarket twice as often as before.  Thanks to discounts, he receives about $70 a week.

Line Larivière, 57, and her mother, Léonide Desgroseillers, 88, have significantly changed their shopping habits as food costs are twice as high as before. Photo Julien Mcevoy

Cooking at 88

Line Larivière and Léonide Desgroseillers are among the Quebecers who have changed their habits. “We definitely visit more than just a grocery store now,” admits the youngest.

Her 88-year-old mother says an enthusiastic “yes” when asked if she buys fruit and vegetables on sale. “It's the dishes that tire me out,” laughs the man who always cooks despite an arm injury.

By shopping with discounts, he can spend time with his 57-year-old daughter and also save a good 20% on his bill. She often gets by on $50 a week.

For Line and her husband, who have three cats, it's closer to $150. “I look for something special for them too. I often get her food at Walmart, where it’s cheaper,” she says.

Sylvain Charlebois would be proud: She does what she can to reduce her bill by a few dollars. “There are many things we can do to save and protect ourselves from the vagaries of inflation,” says the expert.

The survey in brief

  • 62.2% People switched high street stores to get better deals
  • 29.8% of people choose a grocery store based solely on discounts
  • 56.2% of people prefer discounts when choosing their travel destination
  • 59.2% of people systematically search for discounted food

Methodology: The survey included 2,880 respondents between January 25 and 27, 2024. The error rate is approximately 1.84%. This means that the survey results are within ±1.84 percentage points of what would have been obtained if the entire population had been surveyed 95 times out of 100.

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