We’re sorry, Canadian Trader Joe’s is not going to happen

One solution to high grocery prices is to create more competition, as it’s no secret that a few players wield a lot of power in Canada’s grocery market. In April, the Wall Street Journal uncovered that Canada’s industry minister had put together a wish list of foreign grocers that could potentially come to Canada. Sounds like a nice idea, but these foreign chains would likely face too many roadblocks for a Canadian expansion to be worth their while. Those barriers include the added cost of adhering to regulatory requirements, like bilingual labelling on products and potential measurement conversions, and the need to create a massive cross-country distribution network from scratch — even Target couldn't manage this and lost $1 billion trying. Plus, grocers want to open where people are already shopping, but some existing grocery stores have terms baked into their leases that restrict other grocers from opening near them. Right now, the Competition Bureau is investigating the real estate clauses, which could open up the doors for domestic and foreign grocers alike. Some experts say that instead of trying to lure foreign players, Canada should focus on building up the 6,400 independent grocers already in Canada. So, if you’re holding out for lower grocery prices, don’t bank on international grocers being the solution.