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Why are Toronto grocery stores selling some chicken breasts for nearly $27/kg?

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A line of unusually priced chicken breast has left some Toronto shoppers and thousands of internet users scratching their heads.

CTV News Toronto Queen's Park correspondent Siobhan Morris tweeted a photo of the five-pack of poultry, being sold at a Toronto Loblaws for nearly $27/kg, on Tuesday, drawing the attention of many to the high price.

The tweet has amassed nearly 2.3 million views at the time of publication.

Other Twitter users were quick to join in, with some calling it “price-gouging,” and others wondering if inflation was to blame.

Member of Parliament for Don Valley East, Michael Coteau, called the price “unacceptable.”

When reached for a statement on the price, Loblaws confirmed that the chicken was priced correctly, highlighting the product was a club pack of President’s Choice Free From Chicken, a line of poultry considered to be “premium.” The "PC FF" on the label indicates its premium quality, the company said.

“The price per kilo is in line with, if not cheaper than, competitor pricing for similar premium products. Beyond the Free From line, we offer customers a variety of quality poultry at various price points,” the statement reads.

The grocer also pointed to inflation as reasoning for the steep cost.

“In addition to general inflationary pressures, as I’m sure you are aware, the price of poultry has increased over the last year or so across North America for a number of reasons including demand and disease.”

Similar premium chicken breasts were being sold for $28/kg at a Toronto Sobeys this week.

Chicken breasts priced at $28/kg at a Toronto Sobeys can be seen above. (CTV Toronto)

CANADIANS WILL PAY MORE FOR FOOD IN 2023: REPORT

Food prices in Canada will continue to escalate in the new year, with grocery costs forecast to rise up to seven per cent in 2023, the 13th edition of Canada's Food Price Report predicts.

For a family of four, the total annual grocery bill is expected to be $16,288 -- $1,065 more than it was this year, the report said. A single woman in her 40s -- the average age in Canada -- will pay about $3,740 for groceries next year, while a single man the same age would pay $4,168, according to the report and Statistics Canada.

Multiple factors could influence food prices next year, including climate change, geopolitical conflicts, rising energy costs and the lingering effects of COVID-19, the report said.

Amid the ongoing rising cost of groceries, Loblaws reported in November its third-quarter profits rose about 30 per cent year-over-year.

The grocery and drugstore retailer said its net earnings available to common shareholders totalled $556 million for the quarter ending on Oct. 8, up from $431 million in the same quarter last year.

With files from The Canadian Press

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