Canada’s Food Price Report expects restaurant spending to reach record levels in 2018

La Niña and convenience will drive food expenditure increases for Canadians

Press release

The annual food expenditure for a family of four is expected to rise by $348 to a total of $11,948 in 2018, according to Canada’s Food Price Report 2018. The 8th edition was jointly released today by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph.

“Canadians want to know what will impact the prices of their food,” says Sylvain Charlebois, lead author of the report, and dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University. “The report continues to provide the information they are looking for – around food quality, trends and impacts on the price of food in their region.”

The report forecasts modest increases in many food categories, but the price of vegetables is expected to rise by 4-6 per cent because of unaccommodating climate conditions such as La Niña, explains Charlebois.

The authors predict that as Canadians increasingly prioritize convenience, they will continue to spend more in restaurants or consume ready-to-eat products. “Canadians will eat out more frequently in 2018, and that will come at a cost,” says Charlebois.

Food categories such as dairy, bakery products, meat and seafood are not expected to rise by more than 2 per cent.

Expected Price Increases:

  • Restaurants – 4 per cent – 6 per cent
  • Dairy – 0 per cent – 2 per cent
  • Fruits – 1 per cent – 3 per cent
  • Bakery – 0 per cent – 2 per cent
  • Meats – 0 per cent – 2 per cent
  • Vegetables – 4 per cent – 6 per cent
  • Seafood – 0 per cent – 2 per cent
  • Food – 1 per cent – 3 per cent

Food price increases are expected to affect most provinces, but be consistent with the general inflation rate. Atlantic Canada will likely see food prices rise after a year of stagnation. For British Columbians, prices will continue to increase due to a higher general inflation rate. Both Ontario and Alberta will face a more competitive marketplace, which will entice grocers to keep prices low.

The report also looks at food trends for 2018. Simon Somogyi, co-author of the report and a professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie looks at the changing retail environment.

“The recent purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon is having a significant impact on the Canadian food retail sector,” Somogyi says. “Other major food retailers are now changing their business models, particularly in how they sell to consumers, including online offerings.”

Read the complete “Canada’s Food Price Report – 2018”.

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