The Food Chronicles Part 1| Rising Food Prices in Canada
Increased Food Prices
Many have noticed the not-so-subtle price increase on all sorts of food items in the grocery stores in the past several months. The food prices in Canada have been steadily climbing over the years, and will rise up to 4% this year alone. The average household of four members is expected to spend nearly $500 more in 2020. The vast majority of Canadians believe food prices are rising at a faster rate than their household earnings according to a survey by Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Food price inflation rates average 1-2% annually, and the stark jump this year was highlighted in the Canada Food Price Report 2020 released by Dalhousie University. The foods hit most with the projected inflation are meat, fruits, vegetables, and seafood. The report also mentions several factors that affect the fluctuation of food prices in Canada such as climate change and trade relations.
Reasons for the Food Price Hike
The report highlights several reasons why food prices are rising, and high oil prices are one of them. Oil prices affect the cost of transporting food as well as farming because oil plays a key component in fertilizer.
The report mentions that climate change undoubtedly affects rising food prices. Climate change creates extreme and unpredictable weather patterns like droughts and forest fires, floods, and rising sea levels affecting farmers and the Canadian food systems.
Other reasons the report headlines impacting food prices include, geopolitical conflicts, single-use plastic packaging, disease outbreaks, and the effect of increasingly protectionist trade environments on Canada’s exports.
Canada’s New Food Policy
Canada released its first-ever Food Policy in June of 2019. The government is investing $134.4 million in the Food Policy and initiatives that will “shape a healthier and more prosperous future for Canadian families and communities.” The policy’s goal is to create a “healthier and sustainable food system.” It aims to create more accessibility to healthy foods for Canadian families. It also aims to advance reconciliation with the First People by supporting food security for Indigenous and Metis communities.
Changes in the Canadian Food Guide
The original food guide had four food groups and serving sizes, however, this new food guide eliminates the food groups and serving sizes altogether. It encourages Canadians to make water their choice of beverage. The food guide promotes hydration and aims to limit the consumption of sodas and sugary drinks. The new guide warns against eating processed foods high in saturated fats, sugars, and foods high in sodium.
The new food guide has implemented some practices from Brazil. It promotes mindful eating, and encourages home-cooked meals and eating with others. These new changes have been implemented to teach Canadians healthy and sustainable eating. These changes also help consumers spend less money on foods like meat, milk and dairy, and processed foods. By limiting the consumption of these types of foods, Canadians will save on their food spendings.
The report says one in eight Canadian households is food insecure, and this year’s inflation will further strain families struggling to afford healthy food. Food insecurity is especially evident in the territories of Canada where Canadians pay triple as much for groceries as the rest of the country.
The government started the North Nutrition subsidy program almost a decade ago that was meant to alleviate families from the burden of expensive food, but instead, the prices continued to increase. The rising food prices projected for this year will further burden communities in the North who already pay substantial amounts for groceries.