food inflation

Has restaurant food inflation finally peaked in Canada?

New Consumer Price Index data from Statistics Canada released August 16 reported that Canada’s inflation rate saw its first monthly decline in a year, and food inflation also appears to finally be tailing off.

Inflation slowed to 7.6 per cent in July, largely driven by a decline in gas prices.

The rate of change had hit a nearly 40-year-high of 8.1 per cent in June, but economists were widely expecting it to slow. That has proven to be the case, as in its latest consumer price index report, Statistics Canada said the rise in July was the smallest monthly gain since December 2021 and is the first decline in year-over-year inflation since June 2020.

The food inflation rate in Canada for the month of July was 9.2 per cent, down compared to June. At restaurants, the food inflation rate was 7.3 per cent, which represents effectively a steady hold from last month.

While these figures do not represent a huge improvement, they at least show that the rampant pace of inflation has waned after months of decades-high growth.

However, food prices at grocery stores continue to rise. CTV News reports the 9.9 per cent retail food inflation rate is the fastest pace of increase since August 1981. Last month, that figure was 9.4 per cent. That has been led by bakery goods (up 13.6 per cent YOY), eggs (up 15.8 per cent YOY), fresh fruit up (11.7 per cent YOY) and other key food groups including dairy.

RELATED: Rising food prices: inflation or “greedflation”?

While there have been some accusations of “greedflation” from companies, numerous factors are still at play in the ongoing food inflation, not least continued supply chain disruptions and the conflict in Ukraine.

Still, though, overall, there are some signs that inflation is beginning to ease. The inflation rate in the U.S. declined in July as well.

This will come as some small relief to restaurants and consumers. Diners have been ranking inflation ahead of COVID-19 as their main concern around eating at restaurants.