As consumers and restaurants continue to struggle with record-high food prices, there’s no end in sight for Canadians. Even though the Bank of Canada has helped to lessen some of the causes of food inflation, but global factors like gas prices and the value of the Canadian dollar will play a part in what happens next.
Canada’s Food Price Report is an annual collaboration of research from universities across the country, relying on historical data sources, machine learning algorithms, and predictive analytic tools to forecast Canadian food prices. According to the 2023 Food Price Report, inflation will continue as supply chain issues persist into next year.
“You really can’t seek any sort of immunity from inflation right now,” says Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food and nutrition at Dalhousie University. While costs are not expected to go up across the board at the same rate, food in all categories is still set to rise an overall average of five to seven per cent over the next year.
Here’s a breakdown of the predicted increases for each category:
- Vegetables up six to eight per cent
- Bakery up five to seven per cent
- Dairy up five to seven per cent
- Meat up five to seven per cent
- Seafood up four to six per cent
- Fruit up three to five per cent
As consumers continue to tighten their belts, will restaurant spending take another hit? The report suggests that restaurant prices are expected to increase by four to six per cent, which is less than supermarket prices. As the inflation gap decreases between grocery store and restaurant visits, perhaps it will serve as encouragement for consumers to keep visiting their favourite destinations.
Despite these expected increases, 2023 is not all doom and gloom. According to Charlebois, it will be a tough first half of the year for consumers and restaurants, but inflation is predicted to even out for the second half of 2023. “We’re not expecting food prices to drop, but we are expecting food and inflation rate to stabilize somewhat,” he says.
As the foodservice industry continues to recover, restaurants will need to employ creative strategies, make menu changes, and manage their inventory and labour expertly to battle inflation and stay profitable through 2023.