Canadians are expected to see the biggest annual increase in food bills on record as supply chain issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc on the prices and availability of items, according to the country’s Food Price Report.
Sky-high food prices were one of many negative impacts that Canadians felt during the pandemic-plagued year of 2021 and that problem is going to get worse in 2022, Xinhua news agency quoted the report released on Thursday as saying.
Food price inflation is on track to be higher with a likely increase of between 5 and 7 per cent, or an extra C$966 ($760) a year for the grocery bill of a theoretical family of four consisting of one man, one woman, one boy, and one girl in 2022.
As usual, different types of food are expected to go up in price at different rates, with dairy and baked goods expected to be comparatively much more pricey, while past culprits like meat and seafood will look comparatively flat.
The report, an annual one published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, is the most comprehensive set of data currently available about a subject that all Canadians are impacted by food.
The meat counter was a big deal this year, pushing food inflation higher. This time last year, the report forecast an increase of between 3 and 5 per cent for food prices, with a theoretical family to pay about C$13,907 to feed themselves in 2021.
As it turns out, they were only over by C$106. The report tabulates that a theoretical family ended up spending C$13,801 to feed themselves this year.
Grocery bills are set to rise even more in 2022. The report said dairy is set to get more expensive because of higher input costs for things like feed, energy and fertilizer, along with higher transportation and labour costs.
The Canadian Dairy Commission said retail milk prices are set to rise by 8.4 per cent in 2022 to account for those added costs on the production side.
The report said baked goods are in for sharp price increases largely because the hot summer on the prairies was devastating to wheat and other crops.
The other reasons for the uptick are varied, but an increasingly large factor is the growing cost of food waste.
More than half of all the food produced in Canada gets thrown out.