Canadian families could pay an extra $487 for food next year, according to a report released by two universities Wednesday.
The report, which was released jointly by the Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, found an average family of four will pay $12,667 for food next year, up two to four per cent from 2019.
The biggest spike is expected in meat products, which is expected to increase in price by four to six per cent. The cost of fruit could go up by 1.5 to 3.5 per cent, dairy by one to three per cent, bakery items by zero to two per cent, and the cost of seafood, vegetables and eating out are all expected to go up two to four per cent.
According to researchers, the increases will make it even harder for families to afford food.
“Already, one in eight Canadian households is food insecure,” said University of Guelph project lead Simon Somogyi.
“With wage growth stagnant, Canadians aren’t making more money, but they still have to eat.”
Somogyi said politics south of the border were contributing to the increase in food costs.
“If U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign focuses heavily on Mexico border protection, this may result in even more costly fruit and vegetables for Canadians,” he said.
“We get a large amount of our fruit and vegetables from the U.S. and Mexico, and delays at the border crossing can lead to empty grocery store shelves.”
Lead report author and Dalhousie project lead Sylvain Charlebois said even following the new Canadian Food Guide could see costs rise.
“Canada’s new Food Guide is encouraging Canadians to eat more vegetables, but they’re getting more expensive,” she said, noting fruit and vegetable prices have already risen 12 per cent in the past year.
The report found food prices increases in B.C., Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island are expected to be higher than the national average, while Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are expected to hit below the average increase.
Researchers are confident on the accuracy of their prediction, as this is the 10th year of the annual report. Last year, their estimate for rising food prices was within $23, overall, of their expected $411 increase.