Canadians' grocery shopping habits increasingly driven by discounts and deals: report

New survey finds Canadians choose where to shop based on in-store discounts and promotions
The report says that fresh produce is the most-purchased discounted item.

Almost two-thirds of Canadians say they have switched their primary grocery store in the past year to score better deals.

A new survey by Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics Lab and marketing insights firm Caddle found that almost 30% of respondents exclusively choose their grocery stores based on in-store discounts and promotions.

While in-store, the report found that almost 60% of Canadians consistently seek discounted food products, with preferences for discounts on expiring or clearance items.

The study "underscores the importance for retailers to strategically prioritize discounting initiatives to remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic market," said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in the report.

According to the survey, which was conducted through Caddle's platform, flyers remain the most common way for shoppers to discover discounts, followed by mobile apps and in-store signs.

"Discounts play a significant role in in-store selection and product purchases, with percentage discounts and loyalty rewards proving particularly attractive," the report said. "Therefore, grocery stores stand to benefit from prioritizing these types of promotions."

Loblaw-owned stores are the top destination for discounted food, the survey found, followed by Walmart and Costco.

The report said that fresh produce is the most-purchased discounted item, followed closely by meat products, packaged and canned goods, baked goods and dairy products.

The report also found that while food-rescue apps like Flashfood or Too Good To Go are gaining popularity, almost 58 per cent of shoppers have never tried them.

But among shoppers who have tried these apps, 95.1% said they would recommend them to others. The primary motivation for using these apps was to save money.

The use of these apps highlights a growing market for "technology-driven savings" in grocery, the report said.

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