Canada's Food Price Report 2019

 

Executive Summary1

Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph present herein Canada’s Food Price Report for 2019, the ninth edition of this report. In 2018, all of our major expectations were realized with the exception of one food category. This past year, the price of fruit did not increase as forecast by our models. For the other eight food categories, expected changes in prices were accurately predicted. The report contains forecasts for the following nine categories for 2019:

1. This summary has been abbreviated; download report for full version.
 

Table 1: Food price forecasts for 2019 

Categories 

Anticipated Increase 

Bakery 1% to 3%
Dairy 0% to 2%
Grocery 0% to 2%
Fruit 1% to 3%
Meat -3% to -1%
Restaurants 2% to 4%
Seafood -2% to 0%
Vegetables 4% to 6%
Total Food Categories Forecast  1.5% to 3.5% 

For the first time since its inception, this report forecasts a decrease in two highly discussed categories in the food sector: meat and seafood. We are seeing meat prices decline while plant-based proteins are on the rise, in addition to seafood price fluctuations due to availability, quality and traceability of certain imported products. Despite the anticipated negative numbers for these two categories, overall food prices are expected to rise up to 3.5% in 2019. This represents a slight increase from last year.

This forecast means that the annual food expenditure for the average Canadian family is expected to increase by $411 in 2019 to around $12,157 for the year. The cost of vegetables will continue to be an important factor. With regard to out-of-home purchases of food, the average family will see an increase of $143, a more modest increase compared to 2018.

Last year, our estimates on a provincial scale were successful for the most part. Surprisingly, Saskatchewan saw a decrease in food prices of 0.4%, and the largest province, Ontario, saw the highest increase of 2.7%. Here are the 2019 projections by province:

Table 2: Provincial Breakdown – Food Prices


Province 

2018 Changes22

2019 Forecasts3

Alberta
British Columbia 
Manitoba 
New Brunswick 
Newfoundland & Labrador
Nova Scotia 
Ontario
PEI
Saskatchewan 
Quebec 
2. (⬆) Expected above-average food price increase, (⬇) Expected below-average food price increase, () Expected average food increase. Lower confidence intervals at the provincial level.
3. (⬆) Expected above-average food price increase, (⬇) Expected below-average food price increase, () Expected average food increase. Lower confidence intervals at the provincial level.
 

In 2019, major food trends and highlights of this increasingly complex industry include cannabis in Canada and its related food products, Canada’s new Food Guide and the ongoing protein wars between existing sources and plant-based alternatives.

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