Food prices expected to keep rising in 2023: researchers

Food prices expected to keep rising in 2023: researchers

Over the past year, Canadians have seen their average grocery bill increase by 10.3 percent, and it looks like they won’t be getting a break at the grocery store any time soon.

“A family of four had to pay an extra $1,000 to pay for the same groceries they bought in 2021, so 2022 was a really challenging year for many families,” says Sylvain Charlebois, food researcher and professor of food distribution at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

While many had been hoping for a flattening out in food prices in the new year, Canada’s Food Price Report 2023 forecasts a further increase.

“We assume that food prices will rise by 5 to 7 percent again this year. Not as much as in 2022, but 5 to 7 percent is still quite a lot,” says Charlebois. “Probably all of this will happen in the first half of the year, so it will probably still be difficult in the grocery store until probably early summer. But after that, after July, we expect things to calm down a bit.”

According to Charlebois, the question he’s been asked most recently is, “Will prices go down?”

His answer? “Not exactly.”

“It costs more to do everything in the food industry, from distribution to transportation to processing, everything costs more. So it is obviously very unlikely that prices will fall. You might actually find deals here and there because things are more predictable.”

According to Charlebois, prices for vegetables, baked goods and dairy products are likely to rise the most.

“And the Canadian dollar is certainly a problem because interest rates are going up in Canada, but they’re going up in the US too. This will support the US dollar, which could actually weaken our currency. This could affect importers here in Canada, especially during the winter months.”

As those products rise, Charlebois says there are some good prices, especially when it comes to certain meats.

“If you’re into pork, if you like pork, pork prices are pretty cheap these days, so there are good deals. I know that in the news we often talk about what’s more expensive, we rarely talk about what’s less expensive, and pork is certainly a business right now.”

One piece of advice Charlebois would like to give shoppers is this: don’t rule out small, independent shops.

“They often offer really good deals with no ads. People tend to go to big department stores and think that everything is cheaper – not necessarily. For example, the Halifax area has a lot of great grocers, independent grocers who can get you some good deals.”

Many people have had to change their shopping habits due to the pandemic and inflation, and Charlebois says shoppers need to continue to be mindful of the changing landscape.

“What I’ve noticed over the last few years is when you walk into a grocery store one day, the market conditions and prices aren’t necessarily the same as the day after. Prices are very dynamic, things change quite often these days. So you want to be as up to date as possible before you even show up at the grocery store, and know exactly how much to pay for specific items on your list.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *