Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
Some of us shop at the most expensive Canadian grocery stores and don’t even know it.
Today, let’s explore pricey grocery stores in Canada and whether you should avoid them.
Why Bother Finding The Most Expensive Grocery Stores?
You may not always control where you spend money, but you can minimize the impact by knowing your options.
Why would anyone want to know about the most expensive Canadian grocery stores?
Grocery shopping is a hot topic on the Canadian Budget Binder, so I decided to talk about our experiences.
You may be saying, don’t shop there if it’s too expensive, but how do you know if it is and what if there were no other options?
Opinions will vary from person to person, but most likely because it’s easier to avoid them than to waste your time going to them.
Canadians Want To Save Money
The second reason is that money is tight for almost all Canadians looking for ways to stretch their food dollars.
Sometimes, people suffer in silence financially when they’re stuck, and others do what they have to do to earn some money to live.
During my morning coffee today, I read about how people are panhandling on the streets of Toronto to make ends meet since moving to Canada.
These stories are heartbreaking to read.
However, poverty is out there whether you are on the streets or hiding behind closed doors.
It’s a dilemma no one wants to be in, but unfortunately, things happen out of our control.
Those who follow Canadian Budget Binder and watch their dollars understand where you want to be and where you’d rather not be.
Life is a rat race, and anyone can fall through the cracks.
Financial uproar can come knocking on your door whether you have a high-earning job, minimum wage job, or no job.
Most Expensive Canadian Grocery Store Clients
The rare people who don’t care about grocery costs are the most surprised when they see how much they spend.
What motivates them not to care about the prices?
It sounds odd, but I’ve always been intrigued about people who blow money and whether they can afford it.
Moving to Canada from another country can be challenging, especially when you speak a different language and try to settle in.
You are unpacking, but you may also be looking for a job and a greater understanding of your new way of life in Canada.
I had no idea about food costs in Canada when I moved here, and it took me a few years to get into a spot where I felt confident about prices.
The number one thing I did was start couponing, reading flyers, and visiting the grocery stores to explore and compare prices.
It sounds daft; however, it was my way of saving our family money, and it worked.
Two years ago, this past week in March, I was thinking about some of the best Canadian grocery stores I’ve visited over the past ten years since moving here.
Not much has changed my views about saving money on groceries and where we find the best deals.
Window Shopping At The Most Expensive Canadian Grocery Stores
On Sunday, while we were running around, we stopped at the bank to pay bills for my mother-in-law.
Since we were close to Metro, we thought we’d take a walk-through to see if there were any deals. I decided to take a run through Metro.
Metro is one of those grocery stores that doesn’t automatically jump to the top of the flyer pile when they arrive in our mailbox.
Metro is considered one of the most expensive Canadian grocery stores, and we will talk about a few others later in this post.
It had been months since we had last stepped foot in the store, and I believe the last time was to cash in a rain check for a paper towel and rent the carpet cleaner.
Then, I considered whether price-matching was a perk when shopping at these expensive Canadian grocery stores and thought perhaps the savings would balance out the extra costs.
For example, If you shop at a pricey grocery store and price-match and then purchase other products that are not on sale but more expensive than the frugal frills type grocery stores, are you saving that much?
The answer depends on what you purchase, whether it is on sale for the best price of all grocery stores, and the amount of price-matching you do.
Walmart grocery continues to be one of the top frugal grocery stores even though they’ve discontinued price-matching.
Most Expensive Canadian Grocery Stores vs. Frugal Grocery Stores
- 1 x Bag of Potatoes $5.99 price-match Food Basics $3.99 Savings $2.00 Yay!
- 1 x Bicks Dill Pickles $4.99, but if you bought them at No Frills, Walmart, or even Food Basics, the regular price of the pickles might only be $2.99. You are now spending $2.00 more than you should have had you bought them at another store.
If your grocery store options are limited, you’re still on board but not gaining or losing anything.
Grocery shopping can become tense for those who want to save as much as possible but realize that you can’t depend on where you live and the shops around you.
If you live in a small town, you may have to shop at the local grocery store, one of the most expensive Canadian grocery stores, but that’s your only option.
Consider Impulse Grocery Shopping
Returning to our Metro trip, it was all about Mrs. CBB looking for Halloumi cheese.
I had to Google that because I had no idea what Halloumi was for her Keto diet.
What is Halloumi cheese?
Halloumi cheese is excellent for frying, grilling, or baking; you must try a ketogenic diet.
We found Haloumi cheese at Zehrs, and the price was high, so we waited for a better flyer deal.
If you purchase a Costco membership, you can find a double pack of Halloumi cheese for $8.99. (Prices subject to change)
Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk.
It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled.
Rennet is used to curdle the milk in Halloumi production although no acid-producing bacteria are used in its preparation.
While there, we thought we might as well buy peanut butter for our son since we had already had a busy morning at an Easter hunt.
We knew it would cost us more than we had gone to another shop.
Perhaps we were lazy and should have gone to Costco to buy a monster 2 kg jar of Kraft Peanut Butter for $5.99, but we didn’t.
You all know as good as I that there would be no walking out of Costco with just a jar of peanut butter.
Then again, I have seen people walk out with a Costco BBQ chicken, and that’s all.
Oh, the willpower.
We paid $4.99 instead of $5.99 for JIF peanut butter, which we found at Food Basic the day before doing our weekly grocery shopping.
That’s where we picked up the coupon but not the peanut butter on sale for $4.99, which would have made it $3.99.
We had convinced ourselves that we were making the mad dash to Costco to grab it for a better deal, but we took a coupon just in case.
Grocery Shopping Pricing Wars Game
Grocery shopping truly is a game of savings.
You can spend more money than anticipated at the lower-priced or most expensive Canadian grocery stores.
You may think it was only an extra dollar we spent on the peanut butter, but it was also the time we spent looking for the cheese when Mrs. CBB could have just made a phone call.
We could have driven up the road to Food Basics and picked up a jar of peanut butter or even Costco.
Truthfully, had we just purchased the peanut butter while we were at Food Basics, that would have been our best option as we were already there.
Shopping at Costco is not a weekly affair for us, so as I mentioned, that option could have been detrimental to our budget.
However, some products are the best choice for the price and our grocery budget.
What Are The Most Expensive Canadian Grocery Stores?
Over the years, I’ve been to every major grocery store in Ontario, Canada, to experience everything from marketing, layout, prices, and services to compare and write for all of you.
Every major city in Ontario has all the top grocery stores from corner to corner.
The small villages do not do so much, but if they are lucky, they get a tiny variety and an independent grocery store such as Foodland or Valu-mart.
I haven’t been to those grocery stores outside of Ontario as I have yet to travel to these places, but I have had feedback and researched over the years for price comparison.
I know grocery shopping must be meticulous if you want the best savings.
It would help if you also considered that prices often change, so where you find one product for the best deal in one month, it can be cheaper elsewhere.
Price-matching has become crucial to frugal shoppers like ourselves because it’s one-stop shopping.
Learning From Experience
No matter if you have only the most expensive grocery store available, the best way to manage your grocery budget and meal planning is to base purchases around what’s on sale.
Keep it off your grocery list if you can do without buying something until it goes on sale.
Although this may not be the best option, when you are working with a limited amount of money, it will be your best option.
Consider the gas and time from your wallet if you drive further to a cheap grocery store.
It has to be worth it!
Paying For Perks At Expensive Canadian Grocery Stores
The higher-end grocery stores cost more because you are paying for services, including bakeries, butchers, fresh fish, and a wider variety of products.
They also make sure everything looks and feels meticulous, from the lighting, seating, smells, and dining areas to the music selection.
High-quality products are critical to a high-end grocery store’s success.
You pay for this luxury, and some people are willing to do that just because they are grocery snobs, and the truth is, they are out there.
The Grocery Industry Is a Massive Business
Most of the high-end grocery stores are umbrella shops under the Loblaws name.
However, placing these grocery stores in a community is typically strategic, as any business would be.
Adjusted EBITDA² was $1,640 million, an increase of $141 million, or 9.4%.
Retail segment adjusted gross profit percentage² was 31.1%, a decrease of 30 basis points.
Net earnings available to common shareholders of the Company were $508 million, an increase of $121 million or 31.3%.
- Revenue was $13,738 million, an increase of $891 million, or 6.9%.
- Retail segment sales were $13,471 million, an increase of $848 million, or 6.7%.
- Food Retail (Loblaw) same-store sales increased by 6.1%.
- Drug Retail (Shoppers Drug Mart) same-store sales increased by 5.7%, with front-store same-store sales growth of 5.0% and pharmacy same-store sales growth of 6.3%.
Jul 26, 2023Loblaws Company Limited 2023 Report
Will business profit?
For example, under Loblaws, you’ll find RCSS and No Frills to be the bargain end of the deal, whereas Zehrs and Fortino’s are on the higher end.
Due to dying food industry profits, I haven’t seen too many grocery stores close their doors.
People need to eat, and many will pay for food in their bellies, even if it is costly.
Sad but true; however, we can add ways to lower the costs involved with food shopping.
Top 12 Expensive Canadian Grocery Stores
My top 3 picks for Ontario are Metro, Foodland, and Longos for the most expensive Canadian Grocery stores.
List of Canadian grocery stores that are tops on my high-end list.
- Your Independent Grocer
- Save On Foods
- Farm Boy
- Starsky Fine Foods
Listen To What Our CBB Fans Have To Say
1. We only have two grocery stores to shop at in our town, Zehrs and Freshco.
We shop primarily at Freshco, which is cheaper and price match, which is nice.- Susan Drouillard
2. Loblaws is the most expensive in my area. I will price-match their specials at Freshco or No Frills.
Metro is a close second for top prices– Richard Bradley.
3. Foodland is the most expensive, so I only buy their specials and sale items if I shop there.
However, it is also a small supermarket, so you do not have to walk ten miles to buy the basics.– Thad Thudpucker
4. Our expensive stores would be Sobey’s, Metro, Longo’s, Fortinos, and Dennigers.
Lately, I have shopped at Walmart and Food Basics.
Although, I tend to find that premium prices don’t mean top quality, excellent service, or cleanliness.– Judy Finch Conte
5. We have two higher-end stores, Foodland and Your Independent Grocer. I’ve checked prices, as have others I know.
Your Independent Grocer is the most expensive of the two.
I can manage with Foodland, mainly buying sale items and stocking up when things we eat or use are on sale; plus, I can walk there as it is across the street.
When I need to drive to Your Independent Grocer to pay higher prices, they have a lot more selection, including the Joe Fresh brand clothes, as they are a part of the Loblaw chain.
I’d rather have lower prices. – Christine Weadick
6. I only have Price Chopper, Shop Rite, and Walmart. I shop at Walmart as the prices are higher than the other two.
Price Chopper’s bakery and meat counter are tremendous but not everyday items and regular grocery shopping.
I’m not too fond of anything about ShopRite. – Maureen Herman
7. Your Independent Grocer is our local store but expensive.
Now, they also offer 10% off for Seniors every Tuesday.
Ten minutes away is a Foodland, which is still expensive, but they carry your bags to your car, which is nice.
When I’m restocking, though, I drive to No Frills, 20 min away. – Bonnie Brown
8. Co-op and Safeway/Sobey’s grocery stores are expensive!
I shop at Giant Tiger and go to No Frills for things they don’t have.
Sometimes, I will go to Bulk Barn if I need a small amount of something like a different spice for a recipe. – Pat Ciulla
9. Metro is so expensive, with Independent not too far behind. We also have Food Basics, which are lower priced.
Usually, I check both independent and Food Basics for sales since they are across.
Sometimes, if I get time, I’ll drive 30 minutes to Walmart or Superstore to price match (usually Superstore for point) – Patricia Legault. (Walmart no longer price matches in Canada.)
10. Safeway, Sobey’s, and Coop stores are much more expensive than Giant Tiger, Walmart, and Superstore in the city where I shop.
We only have one small Coop here in town, which is costly. – Colleen Knudsen
11. Metro would be the most expensive in our area.
We went to Starsky yesterday, and they cost a lot too. – Teresa Hodgins
12. The most expensive store here is Save-On-Foods, followed closely by Sobey’s/Safeway.
Whenever I go into any of them, I cringe, looking for an item I can’t find elsewhere.
That money seems to go to displays, pretty shelving, and arrangements in the different departments (produce, meat, seafood).
I prefer No Frills and Superstore for the prices and because it’s less sensory overload.
No matter how ‘pretty’ something looks, I will not buy it if it’s too expensive. – Tracey Reisch
Discussion: What are some of your area’s most expensive grocery stores, or which do you consider pricey?
Please leave your comments below, and thanks for visiting CBB.