Part of Agri-News

Grocery landscape in Alberta and Canada

As the main food source for many consumers and the main sales outlet for many processors, the grocery sector plays a critical role.

See event listings and more articles in this edition of Agri-News: January 22, 2024 issue

“Amid increasing food costs in Canada, the grocery sector has become the focal point in food price conversations,” says Jeewani Fernando, provincial consumer market analyst with the Alberta government. “The situation has prompted a parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food to study grocery affordability and the Canadian Competition Bureau to study the retail grocery market and competition.”

In addition, the federal government recently demanded leading grocery retailers in the country change their food product pricing practices. Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs has also established the Grocery Task Force, a dedicated team with a focus on the retail sector.

Meanwhile, representatives from grocery retail and food and consumer product manufacturing have worked together over the last 2 years to jointly develop a Grocery Code of Conduct. This code promotes predictability, transparency and fair dealing as products make their way from suppliers to stores, and ultimately to Canadians’ homes.

“With so much happening in the grocery sector, it is important to understand the grocery landscape in Canada and Alberta. The information may help Alberta agri-food producers, processors, retailers and consumers better understand the grocery sector and make informed decisions.”

As the primary food source for many consumers, and the primary sales outlet for many producers and processors, the grocery sector plays a critical role in Canada. Fernando points out some key factors about the structure of the grocery market in Canada and Alberta:

  • Canada’s grocery industry is concentrated. Most Canadians buy groceries from one of 5 companies: Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Costco and Walmart. These companies hold about 76% of the grocery market share.
  • The rest of the market consists of a few large regional chains and thousands of independent retailers and convenience stores.
  • There are a number of banners operating under Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro. They compete with regional chains and independent stores.
  • The online grocery segment is still developing in Canada.
  • The grocery landscape in Alberta is more or less like the Canadian landscape. Four of the 5 largest grocers operate in Alberta under various banners (Loblaws, Sobeys, Costco and Walmart).
  • Compared to the national industry, Alberta ranks fourth in total annual sales and store locations.

For more information, see:

Trends in Retail


Connect with Jeewani Fernando for more information:
Phone: 780-415-9773

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