Most Canadians say food prices are rising faster than their income

Study from Dalhousie University shows surprisingly high results

Most Canadians say food prices are rising faster than their income
Steve Randall

The cost of living is concerning for Canadian households with 87% saying food inflation is outpacing income growth according to a new study.

Those in Alberta and Quebec are most concerned while those in BC are least concerned.

The nationwide study by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in conjunction with Angus Reid found that 53% of respondents will be making changes to their food shopping habits in 2020 to account for the rise.

Food affordability is a concern for 92% of those earning less than $50K but the divergence of food costs and income was also acknowledged by 83% of those earning over $100K.

Canada’s Food Price Report 2020, released by Dalhousie and Guelph Universities, forecasted that food prices could increase by 4% in 2020.

Respondents are most concerned about the rising cost of fresh vegetables, which increased in price by 15% in 2019; followed by fruit, meat, and dairy.

Women are more concerned overall than men while those under 35 are the most concerned about rising costs in restaurants.

The rise in food costs adds to pressure on stretched budgets for households also facing a higher tax burden while wage growth remains sluggish.

Food inflation will mean less restaurant visits for 60% of respondents while use of flyers and coupons, and looking for discounts in-store, are strategies that will deployed in 2020 by around half of respondents.

There is also a move towards eating less meat and cutting food waste to reduce grocery bills.

“We’ve done a survey on Canadians in terms of perceived food affordability because everyone enjoys complaining about food prices,” Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab told Global News. “But the real question is whether or not Canadians actually feel that they’re falling behind relative to their revenues.”