North West Company drops produce prices in 9 Nunavut communities

The North West Company says it's lowered the price of produce in nine Nunavut communities by 10 to 15 per cent over the last week in response to rising food prices related to poor growing conditions in California.

Prices of bananas, strawberries, celery down 10 to 15 per cent in last week

The North West Company says it's lowered the price of produce in nine Nunavut communities by 10 to 15 per cent over the last week in response to rising food prices. 

It comes after Nunavummiut were shocked by a $28 bag of grapes and other high produce prices related to the low Canadian dollar and adverse weather conditions in California. 

Some grocers in southern Canada have lowered produce prices in what is being called "strategic compassion."

Derek Reimer of the North West Company says some may call it compassion, but they call it doing the right thing for customers.

"I think businesses should recognize there are circumstances in which we need to, obviously, be mindful of our customers and make decisions to do what's right for our customers."

Consumers in Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Pond Inlet, Gjoa Haven and Baker Lake should see lower prices on some produce items such as bananas, strawberries, romaine lettuce and celery.

Reimer wouldn't say whether the lower prices are here to stay, but he says the company will keep an eye on the situation.

'We expect ... member co-ops would follow suit'

Shoppers at community co-op stores should expect to see prices drop as well. 

"Co-op stores are responsible for their own pricing autonomously at the local level, and are encouraged to follow that basic co-op premise of selling goods at market competitive prices," said Arctic Co-operatives spokesperson Duane Wilson.

"In the nine communities where Northern has indicated they plan to reduce prices, naturally we expect to see that member co-ops would follow suit."

Like Reimer, Wilson couldn't say whether the lower prices will stick around, but said he has his doubts. 

"So long as the growing conditions are poor, as long as the loonie is low, there's still going to be those upward pressures on prices." 

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