At the end of 2021, food price forecasters admitted that their projected annual increase for 2021 was lower by $106, less than the nearly $700 forecast.
The forecast in this Canadian Food Price Report for 2022 is an increase of just under $1,000, or $966. For a family of four, that would be $14,770 per year. That’s an increase of $80 per month that households will have to budget for. This will hurt low-income families, but is doable for most middle-income families.
Overall, personal savings have reached record highs during the pandemic. This is due to less spending on eating out, inability to stock up on consumer goods, and less travel.
Some commentators have suggested that bulk buying, coupons and urban farming are strategies to reduce food costs. There’s even a store in Vancouver where customers pay what they can afford for products on the shelves.
Projected increases for this year are: dairy and restaurants up 6-8%, bakery and vegetables up 5-7%, fruit 3-5%, other 2-4% and meat and seafood from 0 to 2%. The average is then 5 to 7% while global inflation is around 3%.
Just as this article goes to print, a new report from the United States indicates that price increases could be only half of what was expected by the end of 2021. The efficiency of the chain d supply, no doubt!
Droughts in the United States explain many increases. In Canada, droughts explain the increase in wheat prices.
For those of you who want to raise meat for your own consumption or for local sale, especially organic producers, one source tells me organic pork and chicken feed is up 50-100% . I assume there is a shortage of supply in the Prairies and the demand is high in British Columbia, so the prices are much higher than the rate of inflation.
Some economists will say that there is a “market failure” here. You would think that when the price of a product rises, a producer or processor could step in and reduce the prices of the current suppliers whose prices are forced up. However, all links in the supply chains must retain their strength so that the chain does not break.
In the United States, the government subsidizes and protects medium-sized meat processors in order to reduce the economic power of large oligopolies (many for one which is a monopoly). We will see if this strategy will work!
Some things, in addition to those suggested above, that might make food more bearable are for local food producers to buy their inputs cooperatively (bulk buying), to expand the variety of what is grown in home gardens, grow in modest greenhouses and use row covers to extend seasons. Consumers should buy what is in season locally and replace expensive exotic products with local products.
There are few to no new ideas here, but it’s all about putting plans in place, communicating with others, and working to grow and source food cheaply (buy seeds in larger quantity by collaborating with friends and neighbours). We can keep in mind that fresher, organically grown foods are likely to be more nutritious and healthier.
The joy of greater food self-sufficiency can be beneficial while being cheaper than more expensive “imports”. Then there’s picking unsold fruits, berries and vegetables from someone’s garden or small farm.
That said, we can all try harder, by creating new habits and breaking old habits. It’s easier said than done, as they say. There are definitely rewards for putting in the effort. We can!