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B.C. food prices in 2022 forecast to be above already-high national average

A new report on food prices forecasts that the average Canadian family will fork out nearly $15,000 in groceries in 2022, with prices in B.C. estimated to be above that average.

The $966 increase, about seven per cent, is the largest increase in over a decade projected by the annual report, published by researchers from four different universities, including UBC.

“The problem (is) wages,” said Sylvain Charlebois, one of the reports co-authors with Dalhousie University.

“When food inflation goes up by seven per cent and wages don’t follow, food affordability is compromised.”

Dairy items and dining out are forecast to increase some six to eight per cent nationwide.

Vegetables and bakery items follow at five to seven per cent.

A breakout isn’t available for B.C., but the report's authors forecast above average prices for B.C., as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

It notes that rising prices “have become increasingly intertwined with climate change,” though the report does not take into account the recent record rainfall that caused unprecedented highway closures and flooding in parts of the province.

Matias Margulis, an international trade expert who contributed to the report, told CTV News that while it’s been a “terrible” year for agriculture in B.C., supply chains have adapted, and those shocks haven’t translated into drastic changes in price.

“Grocery stores are still being filled. Suppliers are finding different sources of products,” Margulis, an assistant professor at UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs said.

His biggest concern with a forecast of five to seven per cent of food prices nationwide is that it will have the greatest impact on those who can least afford it.

In fact, the report predicts that the number of people relying on food banks will increase, along with a rise in theft from grocery stores.

“I think what’s most worrisome is that the effects of higher food prices will be flat very unevenly across Canadian society, in particular with low income and disadvantaged groups,” he said. Top Stories

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