Cost of food rising across Canada

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The bad news is that higher prices at the grocery store are causing sticker shock all across Canada.

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The good news is that higher prices are temporary as the economy begins to recover from 20 months of a global pandemic.

Statistics Canada has released a new round of food-cost increases based on check-out prices at food stores coast to coast.

Anyone who shops regularly for food is already well aware of these jumps in price, although age and stage of life will make a difference in how higher prices are experienced.

According to a new story in Blacklock’s Reporter , the prices listed (via Statistics Canada) below reflect year-over-year retail increases between September of 2020 and September of 2021 and offer a sampling from every province.

In British Columbia, tomatoes rose in price an average of 13%, from $4.77 to $5.37 a kilogram. Chicken thighs jumped 21% in the year, going from $6.58 to $7.97 per kilogram.

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In Alberta as well, tomatoes rose in price 13%; that province is also paying an 18% hike in peppers: from $8.43 to $9.92 per kilogram.

Ground beef rose 14% in price in Saskatchewan, while bacon in that province now costs 24% more, up to $6.72 from a previous $5.43.

Consumers in Manitoba paid about 12% more for pears, which have risen 40 cents a kilogram, and beef striploin was up 18 percent, from $22.17 to $26.08 per kilogram.

Bacon rose in price in Ontario, too, now going to $7 a pound or more, and chicken breasts rose 13% in price, going from an average of $12.38 to $14 per kilogram.

In PEI, chicken breasts skyrocketed 36%, from $10.29 to $14.02 per kilogram.

Pork loin and potatoes went up in price in Quebec, while ground beef rose 21% in New Brunswick.

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In Nova Scotia, cantaloupe was up 22% to $3.38 each, while pork ribs leaped 40% — $7.30 to $10.21 per kilogram — this last year.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians paid 12 % more for stewing beef, from $13.95 to $15.65 per kilogram. And whole chicken rose 18% on average, from $4.76 to $5.62 per kilogram.

Analysts write that prices are affected by the brand, the quality and by regional variations, which “may affect the comparability of estimates in the current reference period and over time.”

Of course, these are retail numbers; cost will also be affected by how quickly and how deeply the major grocery chains take advantage of temporary inflation to hike consumer prices.

In May, Stephen Poloz, former governor of the Bank of Canada, testified at the Commons finance committee that this was a normalization of prices rather than any permanent inflation.

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At that time, all the major banks stated that inflation would likely be temporary (as did U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) and was based on supply and demand — the very reason prices rose between March and April of 2020, during the first lockdown.

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Part of the inflation issue is that consumer demand is rising, now that COVID vaccination numbers increase and the pandemic appears to be waning — but at the same time, supply chain issues continue.

On the supply chain front, improvement is expected by the end of the year.

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