Michael von Massow

With a new Statistics Canada report showing that the grocery shopping habits of Canadians have changed dramatically in recent months, the University of Guelph has an expert who can offer comment.

Prof. Mike von Massow is a food economist in U of G’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and studies the structure and performance of food supply chains.

Von Massow wrote in a recent blog posting that while the Statscan report noted that panic buying and hoarding seem to have diminished, some buying habits remain changed.

For example, although many Canadian households have built up their inventories of shelf-stable products such as rice, flour and pasta, purchases of these products remain high.

“This suggests…  people are maintaining some inventories and buying product as they use it,” he said.

“Consumers may have lingering concerns about future availability of food and, as such, are not depleting their stocks as they use them.”

Von Massow also noted continuing high demand for baking ingredients — a demand that is still not being met. This suggests “a real change in behaviour,” he said. “People are baking more, and would like to bake even more than that.”

Sustained high sales of coffee filters are also interesting, said Von Massow, as they suggest Canadians are still enjoying coffee as much as ever, but now consuming it mostly at home. “It might also be an indication that even those coffee shops that are still open for takeout have seen a significant reduction in volume,” he said.

Speaking to the Toronto Star, von Massow said some of the changed shopping patterns may remain after the pandemic, including the reliance on online grocery shopping.

Von Massow is available for interviews.



Prof. Michael von Massow