Pre-Shopping Habits and Consumer Vulnerability in Food Retailing

Sylvain Charlebois, Sarah Chamberlain, Ayesha Herian


Food prices in Canada have reached uncharacteristic highs in the last two years. Seven-dollar heads of cauliflower in 2016 became the poster-vegetable of the costs of food prices and questions arose about how Canadian consumers were assessing and mitigating their vulnerability. This study surveyed just over 1000 Canadians in all regions of Canada, including the North, to assess perceived vulnerability of Canadian consumers to rises in food prices and determine the behavioural changes that occurred to mitigate vulnerability. We found that Canadians generally felt more vulnerable to fluctuating food prices and that certain demographic traits, such as age, income, geographic location, and family status did have an impact on degree of vulnerability and what methods consumers would use to try to adapt to price volatility. Some consumer groups were more vulnerable than others, but consumers demonstrated awareness of and ability to adapt to changes in food prices over time. 

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Copyright (c) 2018 Sylvain Charlebois, Sarah Chamberlain, Ayesha Herian

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Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0895 (Online)  E-mail:

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