Food insecurity expected to intensify amid rising food prices in 2022: Canada's Food Price Report

People wearing masks shop at a grocery store in Moncton, N.B., on Wednesday, September, 22, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)

Food insecurity is expected to intensify as the price of food will continue to increase in the coming year, according to Canada's Food Price Report.

Canada's Food Price Report for 2022, which was released on Thursday by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, estimates overall food prices are going to increase up to seven per cent.

A family of four, the report estimated, will spend around $14,767 on food in 2022. This is an increase of more than $900 compared to 2021.

The rising food prices will hit some Canadians harder than others.

"Disproportionately higher food prices will have a more severe impact on women, Indigenous populations, people of colour and other vulnerable populations," the report reads.

The report said inflation hit an 18-year-high in 2021, driven by high oil costs, high housing costs and rising food prices. It pointed out that for the most part, wages and salaries have not kept pace with the increase in prices.

The report said because of the rising food prices and inflation rates, food insecurity is expected to become a growing issue in 2022.

"There will likely be more demand for and reliance on food programs or food banks if incomes do not rise to meet food expenditures and other basic needs giving Canadians an estimate of food prices they can expect in the coming year," the report reads.

"Food programs may face increased demand along with higher costs for food, and food retailers may see increased rates of theft."

SUPPLY CHAIN AND CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

From wildfires in British Columbia to drought conditions in the Prairies, the report said climate change-related adverse weather effects have had an impact on food prices and supply.

"Smaller harvests and poor crop yields will continue to raise the price of bakery items," the report reads.

"While water scarcity and heat have forced farmers to reduce herd sizes causing increases in meat prices."

Dairy and restaurant menu prices are expected to see the largest increase in the coming year, between six and eight per cent.

Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are expected to see higher than average food inflation rates in the coming year.

The report said Manitoba can expect below average food price increases.

"Despite the Canadian food supply chain’s resiliency and adaptability to the challenges posed by the virus, it remains unclear when the COVID-19 pandemic will end and what permanent changes to the Canadian food industry it will leave behind," the report reads.

You can read the full report here: