Grocery store sticker shock hitting consumers as drought takes toll on crops

August 31, 2021
By The Canadian Press
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Canadians have started to pay more for groceries with more increases expected this fall as severe drought drives up prices for agricultural commodities.

Dalhousie University expert Sylvain Charlebois says an average family could spend close to $700 more on food this year than they did last year.

He predicts a yearly overall food price increase of five per cent. But some products, like meat and bakery items, could go up 10 to 15 per cent.

Western Canada has been hit hard by drought this summer. Statistics Canada says farmers will harvest 35 per cent less wheat than they did last year. Canola and barley production are also expected to fall by about 25 per cent.

Ranchers who can’t afford to feed their cattle are reducing the size of their herds, which is helping to drive up retail beef prices.

Greg Keller of The Bon Ton Meat Market in Calgary says prices for some cuts have gone up as much as 20 per cent in just two months. Growing global demand for food as well as the return of restaurant dining in the wake of COVID-19 public health restrictions are also contributing to surging prices.