I know. I was just as shocked as you. But the latest international survey of food price inflation shows Canada’s is among the lowest in the western world. A look at other countries’ inflation rates is a real eye opener!
Canadian food banks are struggling with increasing demand and falling donations. Canadian food prices continue to rise even as overall inflation rates begin to stabilize or trend downward. More and more Canadians (predominantly in low and fixed income categories) are reporting they can’t afford to put proper nutritious meals on the table for themselves and their families. Many others say they’re forced more and more to make tough decisions about whether to pay their utility bills or buy groceries.
But a new international study reveals that Canadian Food Inflation rates are among the lowest in the developed world.
The domestic picture
Canada’s Food Price Report 2023, a set of projections released last December, predicted that Canadians would continue battle inflation, with the average Canadian family of four spending around $16,288 per year on food, a jump of $1,065 compared to the yearly cost of food in 2022. The largest increases were expected to come in vegetables, dairy and meat.
Understandably, Canadians were unhappy with that forecast, and the pessimism that had already set in just became more entrenched.
“To say that it’s been a challenging year for Canadians at the grocery store would be an understatement,” Sylvain Charlebois, Director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, said in a press release. “Consumers will continue to get smarter about grocery shopping as they navigate through this so-called food inflation storm.”
The global picture
But it turns out that’s nothing compared to the inflation they’re facing elsewhere in the developed world.
A new survey, from e-commerce platform Ubuy, compared Canadian food inflation rates over the past12 months to the U.S., U.K., Australia and the European Union:
- Globally, the report found on average food inflation increased by 18.2 per cent in the last 12 months, 30.8 per cent in the last three years and 36.3 per cent.
- The U.K. and European Union saw the highest inflation spike with both groups seeing a jump of 19.6 per cent.
- The country with the highest reported food inflation was Hungary with an increase of 45.1 per cent.
- The nation with the lowest food inflation was EU member Cyprus, which saw an increase of 6.1 per cent.
- The U.S. recorded the second-lowest overall food price inflation, with the country reporting an increase of 8.5 per cent.
- Canada reported an increase of 8.9 per cent, nearly 10 per cent less than the global average.
My dad, who was a teenager during the great depression and worked just as hard as his dad to keep the family afloat, used to pull out an expression that was pretty hard to argue with. When I as down in the dumps, feeling sorry for myself, he’d scowl, and say…
“Look around, and pretty soon you’ll find somebody who’s worse off than you are!”
Now a-days, language snobs and high-toned moralists condemn such talk as ’empty’ and ‘bogus’. The category also includes: “Sorry for your loss.” “She’s in a better place.” “Everything will look brighter tomorrow.” “When God closes one door, he opens another.”
But I think there’s least a little truth in the key statement, above. Canadians – as hard as it is these days for many of us to get along financially, particularly when it comes to the price of food – should be thankful we’re not suffering the kind of economic disruption and escalating prices they’re experiencing in the U.K. and the E.C.!
~ Maggie J.