Business
Price of food to rise in 2013: Report

Credits: QMI/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

QMI AGENCY

It's about to get a lot harder to feed your family in Canada, according to a reputable report.

The Food Price Index, an annual report from the University of Guelph, predicts the price of meat, cheese, eggs and bread will rise in 2013, potentially driving record numbers of Canadians to food banks.

"The coming year may see climate impacts on food prices incur bigger effects," economics professor Francis Tapon said.

He says markets don't keep adequate reserves to safeguard against potential food shortages or demand increases.

"Any sort of production disruption without quality buffer stocks will be felt much more strongly on Canadian wallets."

The report predicts beef and pork prices will increase 4.5% and 6.5%, respectively, due to rising grain prices for cattle feed and higher production costs in the pork industry.

The cost of eggs will go up between 3.5% and 5%, largely thanks to increases in animal welfare-based technology.

The price of grain will likely rise 1.4% to 2.7%, while vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish and seafood are all set to increase between 1% and 3%.

Despite all this, Canadians are expected to waste more food than ever, throwing away about 40% of what they buy. They already toss out 38%.

"Restaurants are not doing that much better, with nearly half of all food purchased going to waste," said food safety and distribution expert Sylvain Charlebois, lead author of the report.

Last year, the index predicted overall Canadian food price increases of 2% for 2012, which proved more or less accurate.

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