TORONTO – A new survey suggests Canadians still have a strong relationship with their grocer — with only about a third of respondents saying their view of their favoured retailer has worsened following revelations of an alleged industry-wide bread price-fixing scandal.
The annual online survey by Argyle Public Relationships and Leger Research found 47 per cent of respondents said their views about their grocer didn’t change following allegations that at least seven Canadian grocers and bakery wholesalers co-ordinated the price of bread and related products for more than a decade.
Nine per cent said the revelations significantly worsened their view, while 13 per cent said it improved their opinion of their retailer.
Survey respondents over 45 years of age, as well as those who shop at Sobeys, Freshco or Loblaws were the most concerned.
The annual relationships index found Canadians’ relationship with grocers is stronger than with brands in any other category surveyed since 2016, including banks and airlines.
Grocery retailers scored between 68 and 74 out of 100 possible points in a public relations index that averages public ratings of how the brand respondents know best performs on six items, including trust, satisfaction and concern for people.
Three Loblaw Companies Ltd. banners — No Frills, Loblaws and the Real Canadian Superstore — received the lowest scores of the 10 grocery retailers included in the survey, despite offering customers a $25 gift card as a goodwill gesture in light of the company’s participation in the alleged price-fixing scheme.
Their competitors’ banners, including Sobeys and Metro, outperformed them slightly with scores of 72 and above.
More than 1,500 Canadians were surveyed online between January 22 and 25, and February 12 and 15 for this edition of the index.
The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
Companies in this story: (TSX:L, TSX:MRU)