If you thought this year was expensive, be prepared for your food bill to go up by almost $ 1,000 in 2022 – .

If you thought this year was expensive, be prepared for your food bill to go up by almost $ 1,000 in 2022 – .

High food prices were one of the many negative impacts Canadians felt in the pandemic year 2021. And a new report suggests the problem will only get worse next year.
The Guide to Food Prices in Canada, released today, is an annual report published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph. It is the most comprehensive data set currently available on a topic that affects all Canadians: food.

As with everything else, supply chain problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on food prices and availability. Weather events like the heated dome also didn’t help put food on the table.

“The meat counter has been a big problem this year,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the report’s chief researcher and professor studying food distribution and safety at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“It really pushed food inflation much higher. “

Around the same time last year, the report predicted a three to five percent increase in food prices, with a notional family of four consisting of a man, woman, boy and d ‘a girl, on track to pay around $ 13,907 to feed herself in 2021.

It turned out they were only over $ 106. The report says the notional family ended up spending $ 13,801 on food this year.

Grocery bills set to rise again

In the coming year, Charlebois says food price inflation is set to be higher with a likely increase of five to seven percent, or $ 966 more for the family grocery bill. typical.

“This is the biggest increase that we expect in 12 years, both in terms of dollars and in percentage terms,” said Charlebois. “It’s not going to be easy. “

As usual, the prices of different types of food are expected to increase at different rates, with dairy and baked goods expected to be comparatively much more expensive, while past culprits like meat and seafood will appear relatively. dishes.

Food prices are expected to rise five to seven percent next year. (Wendy Martinez/CBC)

The report says dairy products are expected to become more expensive due to higher input costs for food, energy and fertilizers, as well as higher transportation and labor costs. The Canadian Dairy Commission warned against this in a report last month, asking the government to allow an 8.4% increase in milk prices.

Bakery products, meanwhile, are set to see big price increases, in large part because the hot summer on the Prairies has been devastating for wheat and other crops, according to the report.

The other reasons for the rise are varied, but an increasingly important factor is the rising cost of food waste. More than half of all food produced in Canada is thrown away, research shows, and inefficiency is finally starting to show up at the cash register at a time when Canadians matter more than ever.

That is why some Canadians are trying to do something about it.

Jagger Gordon is the founder of Feed It Forward, a nonprofit program that has established nearly a dozen a la carte grocery stores across Canada to give people access to nutritious and affordable food.

Gordon, a chef, says he was inspired to develop the idea when he organized catered events and was horrified by the amount of food wasted.

“I wanted to show how we can eliminate this food waste, be socially responsible and restore dignity to people by using it and putting it back in meals and on their tables,” Jagger said in an interview with his location on the street. Dundas in downtown Toronto.

At Jagger Gordon’s Pay What You Can In Toronto, shoppers get nutritious and delicious food for a fraction of the cost. (Cole Burston / Canadian Press)

The food on the store shelves is sourced from various grocery stores, bakeries, processing plants, restaurants and other agencies in and around the city. Shoppers can come in and browse the selection of foods on offer to cook for themselves, or get pre-made recipes and meal selections on-site, without necessarily having to worry about whether they can afford it at the time of purchase. leave the store. For every $ 5 a customer chooses to pay, they can get about $ 20 worth of food, Gordon says.

The system works in large part because it takes advantage of foods that other food companies cannot sell but which are otherwise perfectly acceptable – foods on the verge of expiry, for example, or fresh vegetables that cannot be sold. are not in the right shape.

“Many grocery stores too, if there is a grape that has become blurry in a package, they will destroy the entire package rather than taking the time to remove it,” Gordon said. “What shocks me is the resources that are invested in everyone having this production so that this plant or this product is developed to be destroyed so easily. “

Big discounts possible

Charlebois says there is an increasing tendency for some stores and consumers to try to reduce this waste by finding ways to sell it to those who want it.

“Grocers Empower Consumers to Save Food More [by] featuring products that are about to expire at a 25-50 percent discount, ”he said. “People are starting to realize that the aesthetics we see in the grocery store are costing us money. “

Prices for baked goods are expected to rise more than most other types of food over the next year. (Suresh Doss/CBC)

While many consumers have embraced a new trend for organic food, Gordon says it’s made food waste worse in some ways. “They get damaged quickly,” he said. “They will just be thrown away or destroyed sooner. “

Some options

It’s not hard to find Canadians changing their habits and making different choices in their grocery cart or restaurant menus in an attempt to offset the rising costs.

Browsing the aisles of a St. John’s grocery store, Myrtle Mitchell says she has had to change the way she does her shopping because of the higher costs. “The prices are almost double,” she said in an interview, emphasizing her fixed income.

She tries to shop on sale where she can, but she can’t do it all. That’s why in the grocery store, she goes to the basics first “then I go around in circles and then I go up and down the extra rows.” If I know I have money left over, I will look for additional supplies that I have additional inventory for. “

WATCH | How rising food prices are affecting this senior on fixed income:

Rising food prices on a fixed income

After she pays her bills, Myrtle Mitchell takes what’s left and divides it by four to figure out how much she can spend on food each week. She sees groceries becoming more expensive and with a fixed income it’s embarrassing. 2:44

It’s a similar story for Nicola Moore in Hamilton. When the pandemic started she was worried about access to food, so she took up gardening to feed her family. “I ended up harvesting… spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes… a variety of garden vegetables,” she said in an interview. “It helped me financially because… I got it for free by going and watering every day. “

Growing a garden has been helpful, but at the end of the day she still needs to go to the store for food, and she too says she’s changing the way she does things. “I am looking for good deals. I am looking for coupons online. I have an app on my phone that tells me when the sales are over. “

Fruit and vegetable prices have increased at a faster rate than most types of food in 2021, but they are not expected to lead the way to the same extent next year. (Sam Nar / CBC)

Back in Toronto, in the grocery store pay what you can, Jerry Oshomah has nothing but rave reviews about what his neighbor Gordon is doing to help Canadians in need of a helping hand with sky-high food prices.

“In the pandemic, it’s a bit difficult because people are working from home, and the pain is a bit high, but it’s okay,” he said, while buying soup for himself and drinks for his staff in his office next door.

“It’s a great store for the neighborhood,” he said. “This guy is good, he helps everyone. “


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