Grocery bills set to climb again as more Canadians struggle to put food on the table

Nationwide inflation has hit a 30-year high and Canadians are feeling the pinch almost every time they pull out their credit card.

But perhaps the most concerning cost increase is one that's impossible to avoid: more and more are finding it hard to put food on the table.

New numbers from Angus Reid suggest 57 per cent of polled Canadians find feeding their household difficult. That's up from 36 per cent in April 2019.

In 2021, the price for groceries climbed year-over-year by 5.7 per cent: the largest jump in a decade. And things will almost certainly get harder in 2022.

"We're not expecting prices to drop any time soon and promotions are going to be rare," food supply and policy expert Sylvain Charlebois said. "Because of what's going on with the (truckers' vaccine mandate at the) border, produce is going to be a challenge. Dairy will also be a challenge, and bakery."

The Canadian Dairy Commission – citing pandemic disruptions – has called for a February raw milk price hike.

Much of the cost will be unloaded onto consumers.

"It could be as much as 15 per cent," Charlebois told CTV News.

The advice from experts?

Limit waste by taking more trips to the store, if you feel safe.

On a larger scale, supply chain observers say governments need to stop relying on inconsistent channels.

"We need supply chain network redesign," Dr. Rajbir Bhatti said. "If things have to be brought in, they run the risk of disruption. We don't know how many units of what we are going to get by next weekend. Forecasting has become a huge problem."