Ontario’s Loblaws, owner of the Pharmaprix and Maxi chains, displays double the prices in its pharmacies for the same food products offered in its discount grocers.
• Read also: Quebecers have managed to beat food inflation, Metro chief says
• Read also: The price of basic nutritious groceries increases by 25% in two years
The newspaper went to a Pharmaprix and a Maxi to compare the prices of about twenty products. The observation is unequivocal: All were less expensive at the grocery store, including Loblaws, Sans Nom and President’s Choice house brands.
Our Pharmaprix bill came to $112 before tax. For the same Maxi products, it was $82.80, a difference of almost $30 (35%). For each item, we’re talking about an average difference of 42% between the two businesses. In our selection, at least four items show a difference of $2 or more before tax.
If you need peanut butter, Froot Loops cereal, or Croque Nature cereal, it’s best to make a trip to a grocery store even if it requires an extra trip. You could make significant savings.
On the Loblaws side, we are aware of this marked price difference.
“There are price variations from one banner to another depending on the format and business model of each one,” says Loblaws spokeswoman Johanne Héroux. Maxi is a discount banner focused on low prices while Pharmaprix remains, first and foremost, a pharmacy.
“The food offering found there is secondary and aims to offer convenience to customers who come to the pharmacy to obtain a prescription or a consultation with a pharmacist. The vocation of the two brands is very different”.
It’s not a surprise
For his part, Sylvain Charlebois did not fall off his chair when reading the statistics accumulated by THE diary.
“Maxi is a discount banner, so I’m not surprised by your numbers,” emphasizes the director of the analytical sciences laboratory at Dalhousie University. I even expected a higher percentage.
- Listen to the Latraverse-Abdelfadel policy meeting on grocery prices and government inaction via Radio QUB :
“It’s not a question of volume, but of location and atmosphere. A matter of context.”
What’s more surprising is the price difference between No Name and President’s Choice brand products. Prices are usually competitive with other well-known brands, but this is not the case in our analysis.
For example, Sans Nom peanut butter was more expensive than at the grocery store, even though it was on sale when we visited. We’re talking about a noticeable difference of $1.20. We’ve also seen price differences for chocolate chip cookies or wholemeal pasta.
The biggest price differences between Pharmaprix and Maxi
Kraft Peanut Butter
Distribution: $4 (57%)
Froot Loops cereal
Max: $4.99 (on sale)
Distribution: $3 (60%)
Cereal Croque Nature
Distribution: $3.80 (95%)
Beef broth reduced in salt
Max: $1.69 (on sale)
Distribution: $1.70 (101%)
Fiber brownies 1
Max: $2.99 (on sale)
Distribution: $2 (67%)