In 2021 Canadians will be paying more at the grocery store

As the pandemic shakes up food supply chains, Canada’s grocery bills are going to get more expensive next year.

The 2021 edition of the Food Price Report says that rising bread, meat, and vegetable prices are all expected to push grocery bills up by about 5 percent.

Sylvain Charlebois, based at Dalhousie University Agri-food Analytics Lab and lead author of the Food Price Report, says that this cross-Canada research group is forecasting the highest food price increase since the report’s inception.

“We’ve been doing this for over a decade now, and we’ve been accurate 85 percent of the time,” Charlebois states. “We wanted to provide some good news to families in Canada, but unfortunately our models are telling us something else.”

Due to California wildfire damage and disruptions this year, Canadian importers are paying more for produce. At the same time, higher wheat prices are reflecting higher flours costs, pushing up prices in the bakery and bread grocery aisle. Again this year, meat will increase the most.

“All three, pork, chicken, and beef went up, and we are expecting that momentum to continue into 2021. Bakery is going to be an issue for 2021. We are expecting prices to go up. Flour and wheat futures are up and typically you would see a bump at the bakery at the grocery store. Produce, vegetables, because of what happened in California, we are expecting importers to pay more, especially over the next six months,” Charlebois explains.

With Canadians expecting to see the initial roll out of vaccine inoculations next week, he cautions people to continue to eat at home and to continue to plant vegetable gardens.

“We did cook more; we gardened more. I would encourage people to do that,” he adds. “What’s likely to happen in 2021, with the vaccines, that people may actually go back to their old ways-- don’t!”