New report estimates Canadians will pay hundreds of dollars more next year on groceries

 

According to a recent report, Canadian families can expect to spend nearly $500 more this year on food.

The report, which is the result of a collaboration between the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute and Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, found that Canadian families will spend $487 more this year due to the rising prices of produce, meat, and seafood. The price of meat is expected to rise six per cent, while the price of seafood and produce will each be increasing by four per cent.

This increase will bring the average Canadian household’s annual grocery bill to $12,667.

“If U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign focuses heavily on Mexico border protection, this may result in even more costly fruit and vegetables for Canadians,” Simon Somogyi, University of Guelph’s project lead for the report and the holder of the AFI Chair in the Business of Food, said in a news release.

“We get a large amount of our fruit and vegetables from the U.S. and Mexico and delays at the border crossing can lead to empty grocery store shelves,” he continued.

The four per cent rise in produce costs is in addition to a 12 per cent rise that occurred over the last 12 months. Somogyi attributes this increase to several factors including extreme weather, food recalls, and the tightening of the border between U.S. and Mexico.

“We are a food importing country; from November to May our weather is too cold to grow vegetables in the traditional way,” he said.

Somogyi has suggested subsidizing indoor farming and investing in research on crops that can thrive in these kinds of conditions as a way to reduce rising costs.

“This would allow us to produce more local vegetables, cut down on logistics costs and improve farm food safety,” he said.

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