There is no relief on the horizon for restaurants, their patrons, or grocery shoppers amid continuing high inflation and rising food prices.
Statistics Canada has released its latest look at how prices have changed on a year-over-year basis, comparing March 2022 and March 2021, and it does not make for light reading.
We already know that inflation is at its highest level in 30 years, and it hit 6.7 per cent in March, fueled by several factors such as prices of oil and food, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and ongoing supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another factor is that wages have not increased alongside inflation, thus significantly limiting consumers’ purchasing power across income levels in real termas.
That rate of inflation has taken the consumer price index to its highest level since inflation hit 6.9 per cent back in January 1991 when GST was introduced, reports CTV News.
What’s being hit hardest?
According to Statistic Canada’s consumer price index, grocery store prices rose 8.7 per cent year-over-year in March 2022, the fastest annual rate of increase since March 2009. Meanwhile, dine-in restaurant menu prices are rising at a rate of 5.4 per cent year over year.
RELATED: US menu prices take their highest leap in 40 years
When it comes to particular products, dairy and meat lead the way.
Canada is currently seeing the largest annual spike in dairy and egg prices since February 1983. Meanwhile, the Maconald-Laurier Institute’s Aaron Wudrick says that meat prices’ rise of 10.5 per cent year over year is down to particular supply chain issues, per the Toronto Star. Beef has gone up by more than 14 per cent, while ham and bacon have gone up by even more, 15 per cent.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also been blamed for jumps in pasta prices and cereal, the latter rising at the fastest annual pace since June 1990.
Sylvain Charlebois, Dalhousie University’s professor of food distribution and policy, told CTVNews.ca on Wednesday that “skyrocketing” food prices likely won’t get back to pre-pandemic levels for some time.
“Right now, we’re dealing with an unusual perfect storm and that includes higher input costs and, of course, supply chain problems incurred by the pandemic, and that’s not over because the new variant has actually created some new issues globally,” Charlebois said. “So we’re not we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to supply chain problems.” In fact, he predicted even further rises in food prices.