The weight of groceries in the family budget has been significant and will continue to grow. As inflation loses momentum to 7%, food inflation accelerates to 10.8%, its strongest annual rise in 40 years.
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“We didn’t leave the inn. It’s crazy,” says a food industry expert, Sylvain Charlebois, laconically.
He is talking about Statistics Canada’s latest cost of living report, which was released yesterday. It shows that in August the pace of food inflation exceeded that of actual inflation for the sixth straight month.
Much worse for multiple products
And the increases are quite significant. For example, over 12 months, oils are up 27.7%, baked goods are up 15.4%, and fresh fruit is up 13.2%.
Behind these increases lies the reality. To cite just one example, a pound of butter that averaged $4.99 a year ago now averages $7.99.
We’re not talking about a 7% increase as reported by Statistics Canada for the dairy category, but a 60% increase.
“Something is happening in the bakery too, no one had predicted a 15% increase in this sector,” adds Mr Charlebois.
Taken by the throat
The Journal yesterday reported a survey that found 24% of Canadians have bought less groceries over the past 12 months to offset rising prices.
“We don’t do anything to help people here other than send them a check here and there,” says a longtime community worker of Justin Trudeau.
Jean-Paul Faniel is executive director of the Round Table on Hunger and Social Development of Metropolitan Montreal (TCFDSMM), which brings together 60 frontline organizations like Moisson Montreal.
He has a message for Quebec Premier François Legault.
Price check please!
“Food price control must be on the agenda. We’re counting on him,” he said.
It won’t be done with scissors, but he insists: let’s talk about it now so it becomes a public debate.
“Are we going to let private companies decide how much the food costs us? “, he asks.
We cannot resolve the issue by sending check after check. “Rents are going up, everything is going up. People will not use those checks to eat,” explains Mr. Faniel.
If the state doesn’t intervene on the food price issue, the situation will only get worse, he says.
Because “it makes no sense that only private companies decide who has access to the food market”.
Food inflation over 12 months
10 essential products strong affected
- Milk: + 7%
- Vegetables: + 9.3%
- Pasta/rice: + 14.5%
- Cheese: +7%
- Bread: + 15.4%
- Fruit: + 13.2%
- eggs: + 10.9%
- Meat: + 6.5%
- Grain: + 14.5%
- Butter: +7%