Restaurants to Raise Prices Up to 4 Per Cent: Food Report

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TORONTO — The average Canadian family will pay roughly $150 more to dine out next year, according to Canada’s Food Price Report 2019 — a joint annual report from Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph.

The study cites a two- to four-per-cent increase in food prices for 2019, representing a slight bump from last year due to declining meat prices and the rise of plant-based proteins.

“We are seeing meat prices decline while plant-based proteins are on the rise, in addition to seafood-price fluctuations due to availability, quality and traceability of certain imported products,” the report states. “Despite the anticipated negative numbers for these two categories, overall food prices are expected to rise up to 3.5 per cent in 2019.”

The forecast shows that the annual food expenditure for the average Canadian family is expected to increase by $411 in 2019, while the average family will see an increase of $143 for out-of-home purchases.

Tepid negotiations with the U.S. on major trade deals including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) impacted food sectors. What’s more, trade wars began between the U.S. and China affected the entire food supply chain in Canada, however new opportunities are emerging with Europe and Asia, according to the report.

The report also cites interest-rate hikes by the Bank of Canada, wages and food expenses for households as the reason for increasing uncertainty.

The report also notes, “In 2019, major food trends and highlights of this increasingly complex industry include cannabis in Canada and its related food products, Canada’s new Food Guide and the ongoing protein wars between existing sources and plant-based alternatives.”

The emergence of plant-based proteins and the decline of meat consumption have led to market changes as well, leading butchers and grocers to likely ease beef prices next year in an effort to bring people back to the red meat, the report notes.

The complete report is available here.

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