grocery stores ontario

Ontario is one step closer to getting a new grocery chain to compete with Loblaws

Thanks to a push by Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, Canada is getting closer to having a foreign grocer enter the market, bringing some desperately needed competition and hopefully some lower prices with it.

Out of all of the chains that people have been suggesting, predicting and hoping might come here, it seems that officials have pegged down a realistic list of 12 candidates with which they are now in various stages of communication.

A memo obtained and published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday shows the main supermarkets that Champagne has set his sights on: among them Aldi, a discount store with more than 12,000 locations that is popular in Europe, the U.S. and Australia, and Lidl, a chain with a similarly large footprint that is "big on quality, Lidl on price."

Both brands were founded in Germany but have expanded to dozens of countries worldwide — with Canada potentially next, Ottawa is hoping.

They are also two names that have already been floating around, if not dominating public discussions on the topic.

Also on the Champagne's list of companies to woo are Grocery Outlet — from the U.S., not to be confused with The Grocery Outlet here in Ontario — Intermarche (and associated banners) from France, Spain's popular DIA store, Edeka (and associated banners) from Germany, Portugal's Pingo Doce, Turkish retailer BIM, Norway's Rema 1000 and others.

While this narrowing down of brands and focusing of efforts is a step in the right direction and is something that consumers have long wished for, it seems many are doubtful that the dream of more selection will ever come to fruition.

Some online are also wondering if the federal government will be offering stores subsidies in their pursuit.

Lead photo by

Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock

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