Bakers Journal

79% of Canadians trust their grocery chain: study

February 21, 2018
By Bakers Journal

Toronto – New research suggests Canadians’ relationships with their grocery chains remain exceptionally strong, even after allegations and admissions of some retailers’ participation in fixing bread prices for more than a decade.

According to the Argyle Public Relationships Index, an annual study by Leger Research and Argyle Public Relationships that is independent of the grocery industry or any individual retailer, 86 per cent of Canadians are very or somewhat satisfied with the grocery retailer they use the most, and 79 per cent trust their retailer.

When asked specifically about the bread price-fixing issue, almost half say it has had no impact on their views; and while about one-third say their view has worsened, only nine per cent say it has worsened significantly. 13 per cent say the issue has actually improved their opinion of their retailer, Argyle said in a news release.

Concerns were highest among customers over 45, and among those who shop at Sobeys, Loblaws or FreshCo.


Canadians think highly of grocery retailers as corporate citizens, the study indicates. Nearly 80 per cent agree their main grocer “takes care of people who are likely to shop there.” Almost as many believe their grocer is “committed to meeting my expectations,” and 69 per cent think the brand is “concerned about people like me.”

However, when asked if they believe the public can “influence the decisions or direction” of their main grocer, only 45 per cent agree.

“While one-third of Canadians view their grocers more negatively after recent events, our relationships with these brands are strong and durable,” said Argyle chief executive officer Daniel Tisch, an international expert on public relationships and reputation management. “The legacy of trust in the category suggests Canadians will give these relationships a second chance, allowing grocers to deal with executive misbehaviour and do the right thing. Still, given the strong correlation between relationships, sales and recommendations, brands need to take great care of their ‘public relationships.’ ”

Argyle cited public relations research that suggests there are six dimensions of relationships between brands and their publics: trust, satisfaction, perceived commitment to meet expectations, caring for customers, concern for people like me and people’s perception of their ability to influence the brand. The Argyle Public Relationship Index averages public ratings of how the brand they know best in each sector performs on the six dimensions.

Among grocery retailers, the survey found most customer-retailer relationships clustered within the 70-74 range on a 100-point scale:

Sobeys – 74
IGA – 74
Walmart – 73
Metro – 73
Costco – 72
Food Basics – 72
FreshCo – 72
Real Canadian Superstore – 71
Loblaws – 70
No Frills – 68

The survey also indicates 67 per cent of Canadians are interested in having relationships with the brands they buy and the service providers with which they do business, down from 73 per cent a year ago. It indicates that about 80 per cent are more likely to do business with a brand that builds a relationship with them, and the same percentage are more likely to recommend that brand to their friends.

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