Nfld. & Labrador

Supply chain strong despite some rising food prices: N.L. wholesaler

Some food prices are on the rise and promotional advertising is going down, according to one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s wholesale distributors.

Bay Roberts company doesn't foresee shipment interruptions

Atlantic Grocery Distributors has a 200,000-square-foot facility in Bay Roberts. (Submitted by Valerie Morgan)

Some food prices are on the rise and promotional advertising is going down, according to one of Newfoundland and Labrador's wholesale distributors.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in the province grows, Atlantic Grocery Distributors says it has seen suppliers cite higher operating costs, lack of availability to raw materials, and the current exchange rate as reasons to raise prices.

"These facts will have a direct impact on pricing," said Don Powell, sales manager at Atlantic Grocery Distributors, in a memo sent to customers and obtained by CBC News.

"We will continue to apply all our efforts, purchasing volumes and partnerships, to bring you the best available pricing at this time."

We are happy to report that all parts of our food supply chain remain intact.- Don Powell

When asked about pricing during Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, Premier Dwight Ball said he has spoken to retailers and has not seen prices rise in the province.

"They made a commitment that we would not see some significant increases in the cost of essential products within our province," Ball said, noting he's also talked to consumer groups.

Premier Dwight Ball said at Thursday's COVID-19 briefing that increasing food costs is not an issue in the province at this time. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

"The last thing we want to see is this being downloaded on to the consumers within the province."

Atlantic Grocery also said some vendors are temporarily reducing the variety of products they normally offer and are focusing on core items. 

The Bay Roberts company said like other distributors across the country, it is having a hard time obtaining disinfectant wipes, certain cleaners and hand sanitizer. 

Food supply chain strong

However, the wholesale distributor said it does not predict any problems getting food to the province as the food supply chain remains strong.

"We are happy to report that all parts of our food supply chain remain intact, and have been performing strongly. At this time, we do not foresee any interruptions to regular shipments of our inbound freight," Powell wrote. 

The company also said it has heard from trucking partners and shipping services who have assured them that they will be able to keep moving food to the province in the event there are any changes in freight service to the island. 

Privately run shipping company Oceanex has raised concerns about its ability to operate with losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while Marine Atlantic gets a federal subsidy that Oceanex does not.

According to its website, Atlantic Grocery Distributors dispenses food to more than 2,000 food service and retail operations around Newfoundland and Labrador.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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