People Of Nunavut Tired Of Paying $30 For Coffee, $65/lb. For Chicken

Almost four years ago, we marveled at the ridiculously high grocery prices in Nunavut, the largest and northernmost Canadian territory. Now, after years of paying $35 for a bottle of V8, $28 for cabbage and a whopping $65/pound for “Best Value” brand chicken, the folks in Nunavut are fighting back.

Even though the population of Nunavut is just over 30,000, more than 17,000 people have liked this Facebook page where people discuss — and post photographic evidence of — the high cost of food in the area.

In addition to the prices listed above, Nunavut residents show bags of frozen fruit and vegetables that cost anywhere from $5 to more than $10. A bag of shredded cheese will run you over $12, while two liters of 2% milk costs almost $9.

Pictured here is the 32.8 oz container of ground coffee for $29.89. That’s more than $.91/oz.

To be fair, in U.S. dollars that’s only $.89/oz.

Regardless, I can get all sorts of coffee delivered to my home in Philadelphia and the most I would have to pay for a container of that size is around $.50/oz., with most coffees priced significantly lower.

People in the area have begun protesting outside stores and have started a petition on Change.org asking the Canadian government to enact “concrete, effective change that will address poverty and food insecurity in our communities.”

Some in Nunavut say their protests are already working, with some stores having dropped prices to more reasonable levels in response.

$28 cabbage, $65 chicken, and other insane food prices in Northern Canada [Grist.org]

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  1. NebraskaDan says:

    Orrrrrrrrr don’t choose to live in one of the most remote inhabitated places on Earth. Just like the random ass towns in Frozen Nipple, Alaska that inevitably needs an icebreaker or some shit to get them food to survive the winter. Not my problem, I’m thinking.

    • dangermike says:

      I know, right? I can’t be the only one hearign Kinison screaming “GET OUTTA THE F***IN DESERT!!! AHHHHHH!!”

    • Telekinesis123 says:

      If you read the article you would know it’s massive price gouging as each individual person can fly to Edmonton, shop for food and haul it back for considerably less.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Well, then, they can just fly to Edmonton and drag it home themselves. You have to pay for the convenience of not having to make the trip. The store isn’t a charity. And that little girl with sign saying she needs milk? She doesn’t need milk. Humans don’t “need” milk past the infancy stage, even then they should be drinking human milk b/c it’s nutritionally different than cow’s milk *(which is made to mature a calf into a giant 1000+ pound beast.) It looks like she needs to stop consuming so much fattening ass cow’s milk and start having some healthier food. Even if they don’t have access to many fresh veggies, she can eat beans and whole grains, and canned fruits and veggies. Much better than the milk and whatever other crap she’s being fed. Then, maybe she’ll have the pleasure of running outside, farting, and watching steam come out or something cool like that.

        • Jimmy60 says:

          They live in an area where growing fruit and vegs is near impossible and yet the Inuit have lived up there for thousands of years. Their typical diet is very high in animal fat. Whale and seal blubber raw fish and raw caribou. In areas where you can’t grow anything meat is the best option. Animal fat is highly nutritious and very good for you.

          Sadly when the high starch, high sugar diets hit these people who had lived on high fat diets, they all just got horribly obese and suffer from lots of diabetes. The little girl isn’t overweight from milk it’s pop and candy bars.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            You make an excellent point. Inuit people are typically obese, even when on their native diet. Their diet consists of mostly meat and when consuming the native diet, they typically have very low heart disease rates due to the omega 3 acids they ingest in oily fish. But, since they don’t have access to those foods anymore, the government needs to offer nutrition classes to the natives to show them how to feed their child healthy foods at a low cost. You don’t have to buy V-* and $30 heads of cabbage to have a healthy diet. It manipulative to focus on the most expensive foods and basically use them as proof you can’t afford food basically at all. Milk is just not a necessary food at all and can have ill effects on health–hence why vegans typically have cholesterol levels in the 130′s while vegetarians average in the 160′s and 170′s. Anything below 150 indicates absence of arteriosclerosis.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              With that said, animal fat is good for you if your body can handle it. My guess is that since that has been their native diet for so long, their bodies have adapted to consuming huge amounts of animal fat and they can probably handle cholesterol quite well. I have a friend who is like that.She loves meat and eats it like crazy. Her cholesterol is around 150. I am a vegetarian and don’t eat eggs. I only have 1-2 servings of milk products a week and barely have cholesterol in the normal range. When I ate meat and eggs, it was really high, my mom and grandma are the same way. Some groups are better adapted to handle high amounts of protein and animal fat than others. Presumably it’s based on the diet of their ancestors and adaptations that occurred as the result of said diet. It’s the reason why the blood type diet actually makes some sense scientifically. Coincidentally (or not), my friend has the meat eating blood type (O+)and I have the vegetarian blood type(A-).

        • Press1forDialTone says:

          No-fat cow’s milk is one of the healthiest foods a human can consume as part
          of a balanced diet. Assuming no lactose intolerance gene problems, drinking a
          modest amount of skim milk each week has been linked in studies to slowing aging,
          being an excellent protein sub for meats, having many easily absorbed forms of
          vitamins and the list goes on and on. I agree human milk can cause more problems
          than cow’s milk ever could. If cow’s milk were actually bad for us, we would all be
          dead after eating the amount of dairy products we do.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            We would all be dead? Really? Plenty of people subsist on crap like mac and cheese, soda, and dried skillet hamburger meals, which is all crap and yet they still live on. Dramatic much?

          • mehitabel says:

            ridiculous. even no fat cow’s milk is high in calories, its calcium is relatively unabsorbable compared with that in green leafy plants, and the fact that a large fraction of the human race is lactose intolerance doesn’t count?

            besides, industrially produced cow’s milk is laden with hormones and other harmful chemicals.

            in nature, no adult mammal drinks milk, and certainly none from another species. yech.

      • cowboyesfan says:

        There is no article, just a link to another consumerist posting.

      • NebraskaDan says:

        See Awesome’s comment below.

        Then fly to Edmonton. They chose the pro of living in a beautiful natural setting. They chose the con of selection, pricing, and pretty much everything else, really. What, Saskatchawan not remote enough for you? Move if you don’t like it.

        • LMA says:

          Actually, I’m pretty sure that most of the residents of Nunavut are First Nations peoples whose entirely families were born up there, hence the fact that Canada carved the region out of what was the NorthWest Territories and acknowledged the sovereignty of the people. And given that western industrialized culture has literally poisoned the historical food and water supplies of those people, it’s no longer practical for them to survive on a traditional subsistence diet, even if they wanted to.

          • Anathema777 says:

            Many of the residents are Inuit. Some are native to the area, but most were relocated there by the Canadian government in the 1950s. It seems a shitty thing to push people to move to remote locations and then tell their descendants that they should just move away from the community they’ve worked to establish if they don’t like the shitty hand they were dealt.

          • scudsone says:

            I didn’t now Tim Horton’s coffee, V8 and a bag of shredded cheese were parts of “the historical food and water supplies of those people”

            • AstroPig7 says:

              How did you get that out of LMA’s comment? Their argument is contamination of the historical food and water supply drove the residents to typical consumer goods.

          • trencherman says:

            Well put. Thanks for elevating the discussion to something meaningful.

    • kc2idf says:

      I have a better idea: COMPETE! If you start offering goods at fly-to-Edmonton prices, the gougers will have to do something about it. Hopefully it will be the right thing.

  2. slightlyjaded says:

    Know what would be helpful? Some context!

    How remote is Nunavut? How much does it cost to ship food there? Are there, like… roads that trucks can drive on to get there?

    How do the prices compare to other similarly remote areas?

    • Cat says:
    • slightlyjaded says:

      I actually did google Nunavut. And I realize the internets are at my fingertips.

      And yet, I have this idea that if you’re going to post a story on a major consumer blog about crazy high prices somewhere, you could at least pose the question of why those prices might be high.

      • thedarkerside.to says:

        The prices are that high in no small part because the Conservative Government of Canada decided to change the way they subsidize the food up there. In essence, they stopped subsidizing food transport and as a result the stores up north now are for many the only way to get it. Hence, the gouging.

        And before you say people should just move south: The Canadian Government has a strong interest in a northern presence, not in the least with the North West Passage opening up (Google “Canadian Rangers”, many of whom are Inuit and are in a way the “first line defence” of the “Great White North”.

        Having said all this, none of this should surprise anybody in Canada. The Harper Governmentâ„¢ is on the attack trying to roll anything back their donors don’t directly benefit. They are going to push through a major budget bill with all kinds of things getting changed, including environmental oversight.

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          Why don’t some of these complainers open their own grocery stores and charge less and put these stores out of business? It’s called free enterprise and the best way to keep prices low.

      • iesika says:

        Maybe the Chris foolishly assumed people know where Nunavut is, who lives there, and why.

        It’s kind of… huge. It’s about the same size as Greenland. And it was only officially formed in 1999, so for most people it should have been heavy on the news in their adult or at least teenage memory.

        But, you know…that assumes anyone actually cares what’s going on in the world. I probably shouldn’t be so surprised that so few people have any idea what this article is talking about.

    • rmorin says:

      http://acvaluecenter.com/flyers/large_fz1_19.pdf

      Here are the SALE prices for a grocery store in Barrow, Alaska. Barrow is way less remote then Nunavut is and you can see how things are (on sale) 2-3 times higher then what at least I pay in MA.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        It’s sad when good bread in a remote area of Alaska is less expensive than at my local suburban grocery.

      • gman863 says:

        $11.29 for one 12-pack of Coke? That’s triple the sale price (3 for $11) most Houston grocery stores charge!

        If Walmart ever decides to open that far north, the price will drop to $9.99 and all the Eskimos will hold a riot over the issue of overpriced mom-and-pop stores disappearing.

      • poco says:

        Interesting… some of the prices seem normal (the bread and Kool Aid for example) while some are crazy. $2.19 an ear for corn? $11.00 a pound for steak?

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        Barrow also got attacked by those vampires in 2007. Luckily Josh Harnett stopped them before they got to other towns.

    • Tunnen says:

      A lot of the communities are accessible only by air. From my understanding a lot of the price comes from the private airlines charging high freight prices. I’m sure the store marks it up a bit too though. The Canadian government does provide a “Northern Living Allowance” between $4-16 per day per person, depending on household status and region.

      Now I don’t know if that living allowance is to offset the uninflated “Cost of living” or if the “Cost of living” in artificially increased by the store/freight/airline companies since they know that people are getting the subsidy from the government.

    • iesika says:

      I’m kind of amazed they can get a gallon of milk. My mom’s hometown in rural Louisiana couldn’t get milk to its grocery store because the trucks wouldn’t go that far into what they thought was the middle of nowhere. If you wanted fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy or eggs, you have to go homegrown. That’s not as much of an option in Nunavut.

  3. KlueBat says:

    If you live in the middle of nowhere, it’s going to cost a lot to get supplies your way. This is not a problem if you hunt your own meat, grow your own vegetables, and are otherwise self sufficient. If you want to live the modern consumer lifestyles, however, you are going to pay the price.

    • mikedt says:

      Except people can fly to another grocery store, buy supplies and fly back and still save money over buying locally. That seems to indicate that shipping costs (in other words, being remote) are not responsible for the high prices.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        sure if you already own the plane and are fllying it yourself and have the storage to store a month’s worth of food at a time. All of these are huge up-front costs which if factored in mean that they do not actually save money by flying somewhere else to get their groceries.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i’m seeing a business opportunity for pilots

      • longfeltwant says:

        Whoa. So this plane-flying guy must have already opened a store and undercut the competition by five percent in order to build his business, right?

        Look, if you live in BFE, you pay BFE prices. If you don’t like it, then suit up in your sealskin parkas and go catch a sea lion. That costs nothing, but on the other hand you have to… uh… you know… suit up in a sealskin parka and go catch a sea lion.

        Meanwhile, civilization is here waiting for you with incredibly high standards of living, if you are willing to accept the rules of living in civilization.

        • Telekinesis123 says:

          A whole part of the country people are willing to colonize should not have to be left bare becuase of extortionate, colluding greed. You sound incredibly ignorant.

          • Jack Doe says:

            I don’t give a crap about price gouging or collusion. You want to fight it, open a store and undercut your opposition. But really, who the hell would want to open a store in a province who’s population density is 0.01699 people per square kilometer?

            • TheGhostshark says:

              >I don’t give a crap about price gouging or collusion.

              This is the part I’m having a hard time with. You know this is a consumer blog, right? Not a “sucks to be you” blog?

              • Jack Doe says:

                Your point is good, and mine is poorly worded, my apologies. Let me rephrase. I don’t give a crap about price gouging and collusion when the answer that the residents have chosen appears to be virtual petitions and whining. If you want to affect change, and you SEE that you can do so, then do it. Ship in the product, open a store, undercut the competition, and if there IS price gouging and collusion among your opponents, you should be able to rake in cash hand over fist.

                Do we even know that the gouging is going on? Has anyone actually proven that the profit margins these guys are pulling are “unreasonable?” Or is this a case of “holy crap, $30 for some Timmy’s?”

            • guspaz says:

              A minor correction, Nunavut is not a province. It’s a territory.

          • rmorin says:

            How do you know it is greed? You don’t so it’s you being the ignorant one to assume it is.

            It is not just buy food, fly food, done. There are other expenses all of which are inflated. It is not that simple high price = high profit margins. If you look at the cost of goods in a place like Barrow, Alaska, http://acvaluecenter.com/flyers/large_fz1_19.pdf a much less remote place then Nunavut, you notice that certain things like kool-aid packets are roughly the same as the lower 48, but things like 12 packs on coke are three times the cost.

            TL;DR you don’t know what you are talking about.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              Agreed. You have to pay the employees greatly inflated wages so they can afford the cost of living in a place like that. They are also shipping way more goods than the average Joe flying to Edmonton to get stuff, so they have higher costs. They may even pay higher electric bills, etc…Any intelligent person would realize that there are far more costs to running a store in an extremely remote region than just bringing the food in. This is the Arctic Circle we are talking about.

          • NebraskaDan says:

            Colonize what exactly? A barren wasteland? What purpose besides getting their rocks off on living in the middle of nowhere. This ain’t the 1700′s. Only colonization left to do is underwater and the freakin’ moon.

            Toronto (ans? ites?) shouldn’t have to supplement a modern consumer lifestyle for people who make that choice to live in the goddamn Arctic Circle.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Then they should go to Edmonton. The grocery stores are offering a service of convenience so that people don’t have to spend the time going to Edmonton. It sounds like they are being compensated with higher food stamp ,money to cover costs of trips to remote stores and what not. That is 3 times the amount I spend for my family of 3 at Whole Foods every week. I buy 95% fresh veggies too.

    • FatLynn says:

      The stores are price-gouging beyond what is required to cover the shipping costs. Reasonable people can agree or disagree on whether the government should step in to prevent it, but let’s not pretend it isn’t happening.

      • Jawaka says:

        What do you base this on?

        • FatLynn says:

          The information stated in the article.

          • rmorin says:

            http://acvaluecenter.com/flyers/large_fz1_19.pdf

            Here are the SALE prices for a grocery store in Barrow, Alaska. Barrow is way less remote then Nunavut is and you can see how things are (even on sale) 2-3 times higher then what at least I pay in MA. I don’t think it is as much gouging as you would believe.

            • castlecraver says:

              While interesting, this neither supports nor refutes the “gouging” hypothesis. You should probably stop posting it as if it did.

              • rmorin says:

                So you suggest that multiple companies in different countries are all independently gouging those who because of inaccessibility have high food costs? My post shows that things are expensive in far away locales, and even in more comparatively more accessible areas (Barrow, Alaska) are still way more then we are used to.

                But yeah, go ahead living in your life blaming real problems (high food costs) on some nebulous bogey-man that is out to screw over Nunavut.

                • castlecraver says:

                  No, I’m just saying your “evidence” is crap and shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone.

                  • rmorin says:

                    So you are saying that this grocery is price gouging?

                    Because otherwise, it’s fantastic evidence that prices are that high in inaccessible places. You seem to have this fictitious complex in your head that since prices are high someone has to be screwing someone when that is not the case, nor do you have any evidence that it is the case.

                    You appear to be hard headed without actually offering any information yourself. You are bringing nothing to this discussion.

                    • castlecraver says:

                      You are REALLY reaching. Complex? I have no idea whether or not there’s actual gouging going on here. For the third time, your single data point is not representative of anything, and your assertion that Barrow is “less remote” than Iqaluit (based on my quick scan of the “transportation” sections on their respective Wiki articles) is not at all convincing.

                      tl;dr: you’re an idiot who doesn’t know the difference between anecdotal evidence and actual research.

                    • rmorin says:

                      rmorin’s data points: 1, castlercraver: 0

                      So looks like my evidence is stronger. I don’t understand you point in posting, you refute what I am saying but do so without evidence, then ironically keep repeating that I need to produce more evidence. Produce anything that refutes what I am saying and we can have a discussion. Until then, yes you have a bizarre complex because you are believing something with no apparent evidence.

      • dangermike says:

        There no rule or even ethical moray to suggest that a business should only cover its costs. It exists to make money. Chances are, given the lack of rail- and road-borne cargo capabilities through the region, there is a lot of risk and speculation in stocking a store, and that is rightfully rewarded through higher profits. If goods can be personally transported for significantly less than the store charges, people will do that and the store will make less money.

        If the amounts charged are indeed out-of-line, there exists a perfect opportunity to compete. Because of the remoteness of most of the region, this is likely no viable. Also, if personal transportation is more cost efficient, then surely larger shipments would be even more efficient. Chartering group buys and undercutting the store’s margins could be a very lucrative living. I have my suspicions that this is not necessarily the case or we probably would not be reading this post.

      • JJFIII says:

        Define “price gouging”? Is the store a monopoly? If it is such bad price gouging, you could easily open a store there and undercut them by say 50%, take all the business and make a fortune right? Why has no company done that? Oh maybe there are a lot more expenses that you have any clue about.

  4. Doubting thomas says:

    Sounds like 30,000 people need to suck it up or move to less remote area.
    Who are they suggesting get the shaft? Should the stores sell at a loss? Should the truckers deliver for free?
    You live in a place that is hundreds to thousands of miles from where anything you want is produced. There are not enough of you to create a bulk demand. Therefore it costs more to serve you.

    • Cat says:

      In my perfect world, I would live on a deserted tropical Island paradise. But then I realized that everything would have to be brought in except for fish and coconuts.

      So unless I can afford to have everything I may want shipped to me, I would not be living there.

      • wade says:

        You could also start a facebook page and a petition on Change.org. Wouldn’t that solve the problem?

      • Daggertrout says:

        You mean you can’t just survive on trout a la creme from the replomat for the rest of your life?

      • poco says:

        You just described Hawaii. I lived there for almost five years and anything not made in the state was absurdly expensive. Luckily, you could live decently on local product: fish, rice, fruit, coffee. There was one dairy (Haliakala on Maui) and chickens were raised on the islands too. God help you if you needed building supplies or anything else that was shipped across the ocean.

    • iesika says:

      The markup is much more than would cover the cost. This is a monopoly issue, not a fair market costs issue. Because the people here are isolated and have no other choices of where to buy groceries, the store can set whatever price they like. There will be enough people (oil and mining workers who are being paid more due to the location) who will be able to pay to make up for the Inuit who…can’t (people who were forcefully relocated to this remote location within recent history, to boot.)

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Monopolies are usually created by government or some other force. It’s not a real monopoly just because nobody is assed to compete because it’s easier to whine to the government.

  5. meh_cat says:

    Do people expect the V8 fairy to fly up to the middle of nowhere to drop off their beverages?

  6. wade says:

    This has movie written all over it – Smokey and the Bandit. . .On Ice!

  7. rugman11 says:

    Chris, does your coffee have to shipped 1,200 miles by plane/ice truck to get to you? If so, then their prices are probably ridiculous.

    • Kodai says:

      Yes, it is shipped over 1200 miles. Most coffee comes from South America, or further away. (why is it called Java? Because some if it comes from Java.)

  8. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    //People Of Nunavut Tired Of Paying $30 For Coffee//

    They’re having nunavut.

  9. RandomHookup says:

    But amazingly, seal blubber is a bargain!

  10. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    If they don’t like what the stores are charging they should form a co-op and import the stuff themselves. I bet they don’t save much.

  11. gman863 says:

    If you’ve seen the series Ice Road Truckers, I have a feeling these guys are getting paid several times the standard rate versus drivers who stick to Interstate highways – and rightfully so. If their truck falls through, it gives the term “iced coffee” a whole new meaning.

    As others have said, if they want the same grocery prices found in a major city, they should move to one.

    • Kestris says:

      Thee’s a reason some of those truckers only work during the winter, when the Ice Roads are open. They make more in that short season than they can in an entire year over the road elsewhere.

      It’s dangerous, hard work and you really need to have a certain mindset to be able to do it, I’m sure.

    • krom says:

      Part of the reason they are paid more, no doubt, is that they are expected to live in an area where everything is more expensive than normal due to the difficulty of distribution.

      Sure, hazard pay is part of it too.

  12. catskyfire says:

    And their wages?

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Minimum wage in Nunavut as of January this year is $11/hour.

    • Kat says:

      Not that much higher compared to the rest of Canada: http://canadaonline.about.com/od/labourstandards/a/minimum-wage-in-canada.htm

      But that is just minimum wage…

    • Flakeloaf says:

      are usually only paid to people who work. That’s only about half of all Nunavummiut (Nunavut people), spread out not-exactly-evenly across an area three times the size of Texas.

      “So don’t live there”, you say? Well, that’s sort of what they were doing before our government packed them up from northern Quebec in the 50s and sent them up north to be human flagpoles. Despite the part about them being from a totally different climate with very different living conditions, these people actually made a go of it and survived.

  13. who? says:

    Looking at the web page that Cat sent, I see two things. The population, while small, is growing; and the cash economy is based primarily on mining. So, my guess, based on these two small facts, is that the mining companies have changed what used to be a hunter/gatherer type economy to one where everyone’s making good money working in the mines, so they’re buying stuff. Because they’re out in the middle of the tundra, the stuff they’re buying is really expensive stuff.

    What I know about mining companies working in the middle of nowhere is that they’ll pay whatever it takes to get people to do the job. Since the population is growing, I’d say that they’re paying enough that it’s worth it for people to stay, even if coffee is $99/pound, or whatever. If people weren’t making enough money to afford it, they’d either leave, or go back to hunting.

    • MarkFL says:

      Well, consider the other side of the argument. If the miners there did like half the posters here suggest and move elsewhere, then the mining company would have to pay even more to get people to live/work there — and then the price of whatever is being mined goes up. Which, of course, will then be blamed on Obama.

      Also, if this is a mining town, are these prices being charged at a company store? I refer you to Merle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteen_Tons.

      • Sajanas says:

        Well, its Canada, so that’s beyond the scope of what Obama can be responsible for.

        • MarkFL says:

          You would think. But apparently nothing is beyond the scope of what can be blamed on Obama — gas prices, TARP, the war in Afghanistan, killer bees, Bill Buckner’s error in Game 6, Ishtar, the Lincoln Assassination, that whole apple business with Eve….

  14. Rashomon says:

    I am so tired of people making an argument about these people ‘choosing’ to live in this part of the world. It is not that simple.

    • who? says:

      You come to this site expecting people to be reasonable and intelligent, and see things from multiple perspectives? Hah! This is Consumerist! We’ll have none of that here…

    • Cat says:

      They are choosing to live in a part of the world that is hostile to life. Except for the natives, who aren’t the ones who are increasing the population. If want to live as they have for thousands of years, you’re going to eat blubber. You’re going to have to give up your morning Frappuccino®, or pay the going price.

      It is that simple.

      • Anathema777 says:

        Of course, that native population didn’t migrate there on their own. They were relocated there in the 1950s by the Canadian government with the promise that they were being moved to a more abundant place where they’d be able to retain their sense of a native community.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I’m a simple man so maybe you can help me understand. In my simpleton understanding, when you live in a place, you get the benefits and costs of living in that place. Canada isn’t exactly a tyranny; everyone in Canada has the freedom to move around the country. Yes, moving is tough; but aren’t these people complaining about how tough it is NOT to move? They should weigh tough vs tough and decide which they prefer.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You’re the same type of person that posts here retorting to job seekers to go where the jobs are.

        Well, they did, and doing so causes unintended consequences.

        So which is it, take whatever job you can get, or don’t accept jobs that causes additional problems?

        • rmorin says:

          Having cheap, creature comforts of life are an benefit of not living in the middle of nowhere. However you can get a good paying job in the middle of nowhere, thus to take this good job you have give up creature comforts of life. You can’t have it both ways.

          It would be (admittedly a big stretch) but analogous to me moving from Southern CA, to Western MA, and then being pissed there are no In-And-Out Burgers. You give up certain creature comforts when you move to an entirely new area.

          • pgr says:

            Isn’t that the chain owned by those religious crackpots that closes on Sunday? Five Guys most likely has a location in Western MA I bet as they are expanding everywhere.

            I never ate at one, but the word on the street is they are the best (but some people believe Mitt Romney is gonna save them also so i wouldn’t put much faith in what people think)

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          That’s a false dichotomy. There are other choices. One being move and stay at a week-to-week residence place until you find a job. If you find a job, rent for a while till you know it’s going to work out. Once you know it is going to work, buy a house and settle in, or keep renting. If you don’t find a job move again. Repeat until job is found and you are established. Does it suck? Yes, but it is a choice. I know a few people who have done that and have ended up here, in a metro area of Texas, where there seems to be a lot of jobs. I also know a couple with a spouse in the tech industry where the wife and kids live here and he lives in California, where he rents a room. It’s cheaper than if they all live in California.

    • theFinn says:

      I agree with you there, a lot of the population up there were born into it and are living a more traditional lifestyle but I don’t think these are the people complaining. The complaints probably come from the 32% of the population of Iqaluit that have moved up there to work for Rio Tinto or some other massive mining company. They want the comforts of home like coffee and fresh produce and have forgotten the challenges of bringing things like that so far north.

      In this case I think we’ve got every right to tell them to suck it up or move.

  15. Blueskylaw says:

    If they don’t like the prices, let them move to the next town over. . .ohh, wait

  16. AllanG54 says:

    Shit, food is damn expensive in Hawaii too. But, it’s probably worse in the northwest territory since they can’t eat whales any more.

  17. Cat says:

    Chickens don’t do well in arctic conditions. What they need is an “arctic chicken”, maybe some sort of specially bred penguin from the antarctic. But there’s probably laws against that.

  18. Danielle74 says:

    The prices might be fine for the miners who are probably paid well for being up there but for the natives (who probably have nowhere else to go) these prices are not affordable.

    Canada has had more than it’s share of struggles trying to accommodate it’s indigenous people in remote communities. This is just one more example of it’s failing.

  19. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The question is to what extent are merchants just passing on costs and to what extent are they “gouging”?

    Nunavut is primarily “eskimo” settlements – Indians re-settled in communities that give better access to gov’t services. Unless they give up their heritage & move south away family there is not much to do up there. The best jobs, technical & mining jobs, go to southerners who come up for short stints. Many are dependent on to gov’t checks and like Alaska alcoholism is a big problem – kids sniffing bags of gasoline is an issue.

  20. vnlindstrom says:

    Would just like to point out that the picture of “Best Value” chicken is for 2 kilograms at $65, which works out to about $15 a pound. That’s still a lot for what look like low-end chicken wings, but let’s not get too carried away.

  21. Tim says:

    It’s probably because the area is so remote, but Hawaii is even more remote and the prices are quite reasonable compared to these ones.

    • delicatedisarray says:

      Hawaii is also a tourist destination and brings in tons of cash that way, offsetting the cost of the remoteness. When was the last time anyone went of vacation to Nunavut?

    • who? says:

      I would argue that Nunavut is considerably more remote than Hawaii. Honolulu has a population of over 1M people, a commercial port, and 747′s flying in and out all day long. The neighbor islands are more remote than Oahu, but still have airports that have full size planes coming in every day, and land and climate that support some farming.

    • rmorin says:

      HAHAHAHA you seriously think Hawaii less accessible then Nunavut???

    • Tunnen says:

      As others have said, the frequency and size of flights (And other transit) into Hawaii are a hell of a lot higher then into Nunavit. Once you managed to get the goods into the main island, you can semi-easily transit it around the island and to the neighboring ones. In Nunavut, you would need to fly to each individual town, you are also then needing to spread the cost of that “special” trip into town over a relatively few citizens. This is also Arctic condition flying, which I’m sure costs a lot more to have qualified pilots and equipment to work in extreme weather conditions, which would likely also limit the weight of cargo they could carry.

      So, you are in a community of say 100 people, you need to have a plane, with crew and equipment for arctic flying, to make a trip to your town at least 2-3 times per month (Veggies, Milk, other perishable items). So let’s just say $1000 per trip for a cargo-hold of goods, I’m sure that’s really low-balling it. $3000 divided by 100 people is $30 per person per month just in transportation. Then you’d likely also end up with shortages of goods, due to storms and other issues. So you’d have to try to keep a stockpile of goods, which would cause a lot of spoilage, the costs of which would also need to be factored into the price. Since they are likely have a cargo size restriction, which they need to try to fit all their necessities in, I’m sure that “luxury” items like brand name coffee would come at an extra premium.

      • Tunnen says:

        Also forgot to also factor in the fact that the store likely runs off a diesel generator that also needs it’s fuel shipped in, which I bet is not cheap either. So the operating costs for the store would be much higher since it doesn’t have access to “cheap” energy. I also bet that the salary costs aren’t that cheap either. So there is a lot of overhead that needs to be factored into those prices.

        I bet there still is some gouging going on too, but I bet once you factor out the difference in overhead costs it would be no worse then your local market in a major city.

  22. MarkFL says:

    I’ve been to Bermuda, where pretty nearly everything has to be shipped in — plus, since Bermuda doesn’t actually produce anything, they have to pay for the dry run back. But even Bermudians would be shocked by these prices.

    However, somebody must be buying at these prices, so I have to believe that people are making a lot of money there. What is the primary industry in Nunavut?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      “What is the primary industry in Nunavut?”

      Producing more Nunavut(ians)?

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Airport, hotels for southern workers and visitors, and government administration center.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If the price is being gouging 3 to 1, only 1/3 the volume needs to be sold than average to make a profit.

      So they feel they make more money gouging than selling more volume at reasonable prices.

    • Jawaka says:

      I bet that you can grow vegetables in Bermuda.

      • MarkFL says:

        Not enough to feed the island. Land is at a premium. Most of what isn’t used for residences, businesses and resorts (tourism is by far the major industry) is owned by the dairy company.

  23. Torchwood says:

    Let me guess…. this is one of those stores that can only get supplies when the roads are frozen over by a trucker featured in Ice Road Truckers.

    • Danielle74 says:

      Sort of. A lot of the territory is only accessible by air most of the year and few planes fly up there.

  24. BradC says:

    If it’s really that overpriced then why not open a business with lower prices? They don’t need a facebook page, they need a kickstarter page.

  25. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    If it’s that incredibly remote, there is a reason food is that costly. They have to pay to have it flown or trucked in, which is incredibly costly. Do these people want the stores to eat the cost and make no profit, then shut down b/c they don’t make enough to stay open? If they don’t like the prices, they need to move or start killing more moose.

  26. Flexo says:

    Why don’t they all get together and start a cooperative where they transport and sell the items they need at zero profit?

  27. iblamehistory says:

    I know logic dictates “don’t live there if you don’t like the consequences” but does nobody understand that most of these are native Inuit people? We’re not talking about a bunch of hippies that decided to venture north and settle down to make a statement and they’re now whining that they can’t take care of themselves.

    I’ve also read, albeit briefly so I don’t have details, that conservationists are making it very hard for the native people to hunt and sustain themselves as they naturally would, thus making them dependent on those $30 jars of Cheez Whiz.

  28. I Love Christmas says:

    This is quite silly. It’s the cost of freight, not the cost of food that is expensive there. Those people SHOULD know that if they are really concerned. Of course they could take matters into their own hands and rent a large truck to haul the stuff in themselves… or they can except that nobody wants to fly in frozen chicken for a handful of people out in the middle of nowhere.

  29. dilbert69 says:

    If you think you can sell them coffee cheaper, including delivery, why not post some for sale on eBay?

  30. dilbert69 says:

    I can ship a $20 pound package there from the US for $68.12. Fill it with $13.95/pound Peet’s coffee (top-quality stuff), and that’s 20 pounds for US $17.36 per pound, delivered. Assuming exporting coffee to Canada is not illegal, I sense a business opportunity.

  31. Jack Doe says:

    Here’s the link for the Wiki article about the provincial capital, and largest city. Take a good, good look at that map and tell me why shit’s expensive to ship there. And it’s one of the “most accessible” areas in the province. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iqaluit

  32. Kestris says:

    A lot of the time, the only way to get anything into such remote areas is either by plane, or in the winter, via an ice road.

    Neither of which is cheap and both of which can be dangerous. So, yeah, maybe a price increase is necessary, but this is a tad ridiculous.

  33. framitz says:

    It sounds like time to establish a co-op and to hell with the local gouging stores.
    Even if only 1/2 the population participates it’s a win.

  34. KyBash says:

    I think it’s more than freight costs.

    Can you imagine being a clerk in such a store? You’re competing with mining co. employees for everything from rent to clothes to food. You have to be paid exorbitant (for that type of work) wages. If not, you’ll trot over to the mine and offer to sweep floors for their minimum-union-wage or move somewhere there are lower prices and better living conditions.

    I’ve seen pictures of some of those remote towns, and you couldn’t get me to move there for work for less than $100 an hour.

  35. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    $29.89 for 12 oz of Tim Horton’s moose pee.

    *snicker*

  36. voogru says:

    Prices to high?

    Don’t buy it.

    Isn’t that easy.

  37. JGKojak says:

    So… if I own a small plane… I offer to buy people’s groceries in Edmonton for a fee that is, on total, much less than what they pay the store there. This should cause the store to drop prices to at least match my shipping service. Likewise, for nonperishables (v-8, chips), I’d buy a crate of, say, potato chips for $100, fly it back for $300 in gas, sell it for $800 and still have people paying 1/2 what they are paying.

    What is causing the market to be locked out?

  38. drjayphd says:

    To be fair, I’d probably pay $30 for two pounds of Tim Horton’s coffee, considering how they abandoned Connecticut. COME BACK WITH YOUR DISTURBINGLY GOOD FOR FAST FOOD SOUPS AND SANDWICHES (sobs)

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Move to Toronto, then. You’ll find your fix on basically every street corner in this town. Don’t forget to load up your Timcard before heading up here, though–it seems to be the only way to pay for your large double-double.

  39. Concat says:

    85% of the population in Nunavut are Inuit. The Government of Canada has certain obligations to the Native people of Canada. “Just move” isn’t likely to fly.

    These people come from the North and have lived there for an estimated 3000 years.

    Yes, many people believe they need to integrate more fully and be less dependant on “handouts,” but as it stands right now, they have special rights that ensure the preservation of their way of life. Inuit culture would be shattered if they all disbanded and dispersed across Canada.

    • Cicadymn says:

      “These people come from the North and have lived there for an estimated 3000 years.”

      Boy, I wonder how they survived without handouts and stores to pat their bottoms for the past 2900+ years?

      “they have special rights that ensure the preservation of their way of life.”

      If their way of life includes shopping at mega stores for everything then I’m willing to bet it’s damn near kaput anyways.

    • Anathema777 says:

      Some of the Inuit population is native to Nunavit. But a lot are descended from those that were relocated there by the government. These people were promised that they were going to a sustainable place where they could stay together and help keep their culture alive. Of course, it’s actually incredibly hard to survive off the land in Nunavit (vs the tundra area that these people were moved from) and now, their options are to pay high prices for food or to “just” move, which means breaking up the native community and likely families.

      • shepd says:

        As usual, the government intervening is the problem.

        The solution, though, is for the government to give up and STOP trying to do anything about it. What’s done is done and more “fixes” won’t fix anything.

        Hopefully today’s children are smart enough adults to realize a government handout comes at a high price.

  40. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I don’t understand how frozen food wouldn’t be cheaper…don’t need refrigerated trucks to haul it…

    http://www.instantrimshot.com

  41. krom says:

    Nunavut is analogous to Alaska. I doubt these prices appeared out of nowhere.

    Everything is more expensive in Alaska, from what I’ve heard. This is because of all the snow/ice/etc. making it impossible to get anywhere quickly without airplanes. Also, it’s exremely large.

    No doubt the same forces that make Alaska expensive are making Nunavut expensive. I’d be surprised to hear that it wasn’t always like this.

  42. I Love Christmas says:

    Ok, I work for a company that does a lot of shipping all across Canada. I’ve calculated that the cost to ship 200lbs of goods (assuming no special requirements like refrigeration) would cost over $2100 or $10.50 / lb. That doesn’t include the cost to get the shipment from the airport to the store or hub it would be going to, so extra charges on top of that. Assuming the store owner would pick up the goods from the airport themselves, that would still leave a per pound cost of $10.50 to be added to the food. So a $10 bottle of coke sounds like a great deal considering. 2lbs of coffee for $30 is a bargain! So the problem isn’t Government intervention to help lower food costs, but perhaps we need to put more funding for math in their schools so they can figure out stuff like freight costs, profits from selling goods, etc.

  43. mulch says:

    They could all sign up for Prime and order their food from Amazon…

    • bar_foo says:

      (A) No Prime in Canada (B) Even in the US, it’s only available in the lower 48, not in Alaska or Hawaii.

  44. xanxer says:

    It may be time for those folks to find a way to grow more of their own food or move somewhere that they can have access to more livable land. The days of cheap oil are over. It costs much more to ship food or any goods long distances.
    Support locally grown and made products.

  45. DragonThermo says:

    I will wager you that if the Canadian government orders that food stores in remote regions of Canada are not permitted to charge more than the median price for equivalent items in urban areas of Canada, the next news story you will see is about the famine in remote regions of Canada because grocery stores closed because they cannot earn a profit to stay in business.

  46. vliam says:

    I just came here to blame the victim but I see that it’s already been done.

  47. Professor59 says:

    I wonder how the mail service is? You can buy tons of things through the mail, and though they are priced higher than a supermarket, they aren’t triple or ten times the price.
    I would join the fruit if the month club, meat of the month club, coffee of the month club, etc. It’s just a matter of being the least of the overpriced evils.