There’s a new word in the dictionary, “Foodflation”, defined as the continuous rise in the price of food, and is higher than the general inflation level. The Canadian inflation rate stands at almost 7%, but foodflation, the rising cost of food is 11.4%

Last month England’s Guardian newspaper ran a story about Canada’s skyrocketing food prices. Even though food prices in England are up 12.4%. The British paper said Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocer was freezing prices amid talk that our Federal Government starting a parliamentary committee on the rising food prices and price gouging by our national grocery chains.

The rising cost of food has caught everyone’s attention. No matter if you eat filet mignon or Kraft dinner, everything costs more, from coffee to pasta, peanut butter, and eggs, you name it, is up in price.

Deloitte says food prices have been sharply on the rise since 2020.

Food prices are rising globally. Triggered by the pandemic, supply chain problems, and most recently the Russia-Ukraine war. The post covid economic boom has pushed demand, along with rising prices on everything, including essentials in the food chain, labour,  fertilizer, fuel, and freight costs.

Adding salt to the wound of rising food prices are allegations that Canada’s major grocery companies are taking the cream off of the top, and taking in extra large profits.

Critics say Canada’s supermarket industry is “a cozy oligopoly”,  a market dominated by a small number of suppliers. The three major chains (Loblaw, Metro, and Empire) have a dominant market share, and they are able to exercise price power both over consumers, but also over their own suppliers, and their own workers.

Sylvain Charlebois, head of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University says a lack of competition is hurting consumers and feeding suspicions that they’re being gouged.

The UK paper said that Loblaw Companies which owns more than 20 grocery and supermarket chains are putting a lock on the prices of its ‘no name’ house brand, of more than 1,500 grocery items, until 31 January 2023.

Some say they are just looking for good press in light of their high profits.

Meanwhile in Ottawa this week, the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry along with members of parliament started demanding from senior grocery executives explanations for the soaring cost of groceries.

How much relief can the Canadian consumer hope from a short-term freeze on shelf prices and the government committee investigation into profit taking by the major players in the grocery business? Industry insiders say that foodflation will continue, making groceries $1000 more for a family of 4 to eat next year.

That’s news that’s hard to swallow for everyone and just as hard to digest.

While a teenager Tony was fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue his love of aviation and began a career began in the airline world during his days in high school and university as he grew up in Toronto. After completing University at Guelph he moved to Ottawa, following a path in urban agriculture and environmental awareness. He shared his insights for over 2 decades as he appeared on TV, and radio, as the "Plant D octor", and operating his own business in horticulture. Later he reentered the transport industry and became involved in the manufacture and marketing of sustainable fuel-saving and safety products for the truck industry. He is director of an African American art collection based in Washington D.C. Today he writes passionately about transportation, sustainability, concerns of our modern-day world, and the intrigue of the human condition.