Posthaste: Expect your grocery bill to rise by nearly $700 in 2021 — the biggest annual increase in

Financial Post

Food prices will rise 5 per cent next year, and vegetables will be among the most expensive. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

Canadians’ average grocery bill is forecast to rise as much as 5 per cent in 2021, as COVID-19 takes a toll on supply chains, according to Canada’s Food Price Report, an annual forecast published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph. Based on a family of four, average food bills for the year are predicted to reach $13,907 in 2021, an increase of $695 compared to 2020, excluding food service. «In dollars, that is the highest predicted increase by Canada’s Food Price Report,» the forecast noted. The food inflation index has outpaced general inflation over the past 20 years, with the typical grocery bill having risen around 170 per cent over the past two decades, the report notes.

While vaccines may roll out thick and fast next year, COVID-19’s impact will continue to reverberate across the country’s agri-food chain and global food systems. COVID-19 has led to shifts in consumer demand, slowdowns and closures of food plants and distribution centres, labour shortages and logistics disruptions, according to the report. «Despite national assurance that our food supply remains safe and stable, the ability of the food chain to successfully adapt to challenges and disruptions and whether the pandemic continues into 2021 will determine the potential for food insecurity and the extent of food price increases,» the survey noted. Continuing decline of the food manufacturing sector, apart from a Canada-wide ban on some single-use plastics, climate change and changes in the White House will have an impact on food policy and on the Canadian currency.

The biggest jump in prices next year will be in meat, which will rise 6.5 per cent compared to the previous year, the report predicts. This year food prices rose 2.7 per cent, which was well within its prediction of 2 to 4 per cent.

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Source: Yadullah Hussain | Financial Post

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