Monday, December 8, 2014

Canada Brace Up! Food prices to rise faster than inflation in 2015

Jesse Tahirali, CTVNews
Higher prices are in store for Canadian shoppers next year, as the cost of food is slated to climb as much as 2.4 per cent, according to the University of Guelph’s Food Institute.

The 2015 Food Price Report says consumers can expect food prices to jump up quicker than the rate of inflation, with meat, seafood and vegetables being the biggest burden on your bill.

Meat3.0% to 5.0%
Fish & Seafood3.0% to 5.0%
Dairy & Eggs-1.0% to 1.0%
Grains  0.0% to 2.0%
Fruit & Nuts             1.0% to 3.0%
Vegetables3.0% to 5.0%
Restaurant food3.0% to 5.0%
Overall+0.3% to 2.4%

The report calls the expected price increase “modest,” and notes the low end of its forecast is a jump just 0.3 per cent above inflation. But while last year’s predictions were mostly accurate, the 2014 report lowballed the overall increase in food prices – Canadians paid 2.8 per cent more, instead of the predicted maximum of 2.6 per cent.

The higher-than-expected prices were due to skyrocketing meat prices this year, specifically pork. Meat cost 12.4 per cent more this year than in 2013, with bacon prices going up 25 per cent due to a virus that spread through Canadian piglets.

The report also notes “ravaging droughts” in California as a factor for costly veggies, as Canada imports many of its greens from the West Coast state.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, one of the study’s authors, also calls it a “currency-driven issue.”

“Our dollar is going down, and therefore our buying power is also going down,” he told CTV News Channel. “So we’re going to have to pay more to import foods next year.”

Charlebois said there is a silver lining, however – grains and dairy shouldn’t be any more of a burden than they are now.

“Any fans out there of pasta, bread, pastries – prices should remain stable.”

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