Food prices in Canada will continue to rise in the new year, according to a new study.
The 13th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report – released Monday – said that overall, food prices will increase by five to seven per cent next year.
“In 2023, it is expected that Canadians will continue to feel the effects of high food inflation, and food insecurity/affordability will also be a big issue with rising food prices,” said the report.
Canada’s Food Price Report is compiled every year, a collaboration between Dalhousie University, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of British Columbia. The study uses predictive analytics models applying machine learning to support the analytical process of determining the future of food prices.
The report also gives an overview of how food prices fared this year, “2022 presented a host of contributing factors that drive food inflation including continued labour shortages, high oil and gas prices, adverse climate events, and geopolitical conflicts,” it states.
Food prices rose more than 10 per cent in Canada over the past 12 months, a trend the report attributes to several factors, including supply chain issues and “greedflation.”
Food waste also continues to be a problem, “In 2022, 63 per cent of Canadians noted that they had to throw away food prematurely at least once in the six months preceding the survey,” said the report.
Specifically, Manitoba saw an increase of 10.7 per cent in food prices, only slightly less than Quebec, which led the country at 11 per cent. British Columbia was the only province that did not see double-digits, with a 9.2 per cent increase.
The report also predicts how much families will spend on food next year. In 2023, a family of four will have annual food costs of up to $16,288.41, more than $1000 more than the previous year.
Another factor contributing to the rising cost of food is the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine produce 27 per cent of the world’s wheat, and Ukraine is the largest producer of sunflower oil, which is widely used in processed foods. The war has disrupted the production of those commodities.
Looking at specific categories, the cost of vegetables is expected to rise the most, up to eight per cent. Fruit costs on the other hand will only jump a little – a three or four per cent increase. Meat, dairy, and bakery items will rise up to 7 per cent in cost.
The report says food security will continue to be an issue for many Canadians. “Food bank use has been increasing since June 2020 and because of rising food prices, 20 per cent of Canadians reported their household would be likely or very likely to get food or meals from community organizations including food banks, community centres, or other access points over the next six months,” it stated.
The full report can be found online.
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