Grocery prices fact check: Viral TikTok about price of carrots misses a major detail

Are a bag of Canada carrots bought in the U.S. really a faction of the price? It turns out: No.

TORONTO, ON - April 04 - Carrots are pictured in a basket at the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto. Photo by: Lance McMillan/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Carrots are pictured in a basket at the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto. Photo by: Lance McMillan/Toronto Star via Getty Images

A TikTok video that's gone viral for the apparent shocking discrepancy in carrot prices in the U.S. and Canada actually has a very simple explanation: The bags compared are completely different sizes.

The video by @missjanet shows her munching on an Ontario carrot that came in a bag she says she bought in Mississippi for 98 cents.

“I’m in Mississippi right now and these are from Brandford, Ontario,” she says.

She crunches on the carrot some more as she continues to wonder aloud.

"How does it make any sense at all that these were grown in Canada in Ontario, and put on a truck, and I bought the whole bag for [98 cents]," she says. "Who's making any money? Probably nobody."

Well, it turns out, it doesn't really make sense.

While many commenters were understandably irate at what looked like a massive price difference, the TikToker's bag contained only one pound of carrots for under a dollar. When you compare it to the three-pound bag sold at Loblaws for $3.99, the difference is negligible. In fact, when factoring in the exchange rate, we're likely getting a better deal here (2.96 USD = 4.01 CAD). 

Carrot grower shocked at people's reactions

Steven Kamenar is the general manager of Hillside Gardens, the Bradford, Ont.-based company behind the bag of carrots featured in the video.

He says while they don’t sell directly to retailers, he confirmed they do sell products to exporters and adds “it’s a pretty open market” when it comes to pricing.

But Kamenar was unsettled by the reaction to the video. He says too many angry people are ignoring the fact that the TikToker's bag is just one pound, which is a size generally not available in Ontario.

“A lot of people are comparing what she has to a three-pound bag here in Ontario, which is very different,” he tells Yahoo Canada. “When you make the currency conversion and you consider it’s only a pound versus three pounds…they’re not comparable.”

Additionally, American Thanksgiving just passed and many retailers discount certain products that they may have a surplus on.

“It was pretty likely it was part of a Thanksgiving promotion,” he says. “Especially around Thanksgiving, we do export a lot more products.”

Grocery prices in Canada continue to shock customers

Users on Reddit and other social media have posted about their experiences at Canada's grocery stores in 2023.

Earlier this fall, a customer warned others about chicken that was possibly re-labelled to extend its shelf life. Metro responded by apologizing for the "handler error."

Over the summer, a TikTok user posted a video of a half-filled bag of chips that Loblaw also had to apologize for.

Some shoppers have even taken to getting dry and pantry goods from stores like Dollarama, as many discover identical items there for a fraction of the cost at larger retailers.