HALIFAX — Canada’s Food Price Report 2022, an annual report released by partners at Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, as well as the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia, is forecasting an overall food-price increase of five to seven per cent for 2022. The most significant increases are expected for dairy and restaurants at six to eight per cent and bakery and vegetables at five to seven per cent.
“It’s important for customers to understand that food prices have been going up for some time, and there’s no turning back,” says Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, project lead and director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “Our relationship with food is changing, and so will our food budgets. Showing up at the grocery store knowing what you should be paying will help.”
Moreover, food-price increases in Alberta, B.C., Newfoundland, Ontario and Saskatchewan will likely be higher than the national average in 2022.
“Most Canadians could eat more vegetables,” says Dr. Kelleen Wiseman, University of British Columbia (UBC) campus lead. “The forecasted increase in this healthy food category is worrying from a public health perspective because consumers might be tempted to further reduce their consumption of fresh and mainstream vegetables. However, options are available in selecting alternative vegetables or frozen vegetables, which can provide high nutritional value at a lower price point.”
The report also focuses on COVID-19-related challenges to the food supply chain, including climate change, labour, high inflation and transportation.
“Supply chain disruptions and labour market challenges will persist in 2022,” says Alyssa Gerhardt, PhD student in the department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University. “The food supply chain will continue to grapple with the cost of sanitation and personal protection equipment (PPE), high transportation costs and reduced maritime transport capacity, as well as decreased efficiency and disruptions due to closures.”
Despite this, consumers’ food choices will continue to be influenced by health and environmental sustainability and the sourcing local movement.
“Canada is a leader in the production of safe, sustainable foods,” says Dr. Stuart Smyth, University of Saskatchewan campus lead. “Buying products that are made in Canada is a good way to support sustainable, ethical, and healthy choices.”