loblaws boycott

Loblaws boycott organizer met with CEO Per Bank and here's what went down

The organizer of the Loblaw boycott says she has spoken with CEO Per Bank about the group's concerns amid soaring grocery prices in Canada.

In an email statement, Emily Johnson, the creator of subreddit Loblaws is Out of Control, says the grocery giant's spokesperson Dave Bauer emailed her on April 23, offering a meeting with Bank.

"My reaction was one of surprise," she said. "I was both anxious and excited to potentially be able to represent our various voices in a dialogue with Loblaw."

The Reddit community, which is facilitating the May-long protest, shared a screenshot of the invitation on its Instagram page on Thursday.

Johnson says she met with the grocery executive at a coffee shop in Milton, Ontario.

According to the boycott organizer, they discussed several topics including:

  • Lower grocery prices
  • Affordability and financial relief
  • Competition and choice
  • Support for local and smaller businesses
  • Accountability and fairness
  • Food security and access
  • Consumer empowerment

"[Bank] provided his perspective, and the various strategies Loblaw is implementing on their end to address these concerns such as different pricing strategies in-store and deals coming down the pipeline for customers," shared Johnson.

She added that the discussion did not directly address all of the boycott's demands, which include reducing grocery prices by 15 per cent, removing "members-only pricing," and putting price caps on essential goods.

You can read the full list of demands here.

Instead, Johnson says the conversation focused on larger issues affecting food prices and strategies for how Loblaw feels it is addressing them.

"The long and short of it is the boycott is still on," she said. "[Bank] has asked we stay in touch and will be providing more information about a couple [of] supplier-specific factors affecting pricing."

The organizer says she expects another meeting with the CEO later this month.

Overall, Johnson feels that the meeting was "the first positive step of many."

"This is an incredible opportunity for consumers to recognize the power they hold in this market, and for Loblaw to be an innovator in this industry, and a trailblazer for other grocers to take consumers seriously, and make sweeping changes to provide more value to customers," she explained.

The meeting between the boycott organizer and the Loblaw executive comes after months of Canadians sharing stories about "outrageous" prices spotted at the grocer's stores.

Bank addressed the boycott in a statement to employees reportedly shared on April 22.

"Not only are we being unfairly blamed, we're also not getting credit for the value we are providing," he wrote.

Loblaws has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Lead photo by

sockagphoto / Shutterstock.com

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