Field Agent Canada conducted a cross-country price survey on fluid milk prices at 175 retailers in 17 markets from coast-to-coast between September 30 and October 2 and the survey uncovered some huge differences in the price Canadians are paying for this basic grocery item.
“We were shocked to see a 100% difference in the average price per litre of 2% milk between the least expensive and most expensive markets in Canada” says Jeff Doucette, General Manager of Field Agent Canada.
The least expensive city to purchase milk in Canada is Scarborough, Ontario. “This is driven by large Ontario market and the high level of discounter competition in this market.” said Doucette.
The most expensive city to purchase milk in Canada was St. John’s, Newfoundland. “To see that Newfoundlanders are paying double the average price per litre for 2% milk vs. Scarborough made us think there was a mistake in the data – but it was real.” exclaimed Doucette. “A small, closed milk market, lower levels of competition at both the retailer and manufacturer level and the use of smaller 2L containers vs. 4L containers in the rest of Canada are hitting Newfoundlanders in the pocket book.”
In fact, all four Atlantic provinces are paying the high prices for 2% milk with prices being 25 – 51% higher than the Canadian average.
Surprisingly, the relatively large market of Quebec (and the home of the two largest dairy manufacturers – Agropur & Saputo) has prices that are 31% higher than the Canadian average.
Where is the cheapest overall milk in Canada? If you live in Windsor, Ontario you are in luck. Both Costco and No Frills have the cheapest 4L 2% milk in the country at $3.65 a unit.
“It really seems like the provincial supply management and trade barriers are causing consumers to pay more to subsidize the profits of small or inefficient producers, manufacturers and distributors.” stated Doucette. “There really seems to be some potential for a national milk strategy to make our industry more competitive and give consumers a break at the cash register.”
Download the whole report here.