Canadians getting desperate about higher food prices

Almost 24 per cent now cutting back on food purchases, almost 70 per cent of whom are women

Canadians getting desperate about higher food pricesWhile inflation is showing signs of dissipating, food inflation appears to be on a totally different path. Food inflation has outpaced our general inflation rate for over 12 months now. Statistics Canada just announced that the food inflation rate for retail was 10.8 per cent and 7.4 per cent in food service. Canada ranks third…

The bleeding continues for restaurants

Many won’t survive

The bleeding continues for restaurantsAfter a slew of confinements and closures, restaurants are still not out of the woods. Far from it. Over the past year in Canada, restaurant closures outpaced openings by a whopping 43 per cent. The industry is still shrinking. Inflation-adjusted food service sales will be around 11 per cent below 2019 levels by the time…

Proteins politicized in the fight to “save the planet”

There is no place for the state in the kitchens of the nation

Proteins politicized in the fight to “save the planet”During the current campaign in Quebec, one political party recently proposed a protein shift in the public cafeterias and institutions by offering a menu made up of 50 per cent plant-based protein meals. In the same vein, the party also suggested that 70 per cent of food products served in public institutions be local. Local…

Food inflation eases but some prices keep surging

Some trouble spots include dairy and bakery goods

Food inflation eases but some prices keep surgingStatistics Canada is reminding Canadians every month this year how painful their trips to the grocery store are. The retail inflation rate is at an astonishing 9.9 per cent, its highest point since 1981. And food inflation has exceeded the general rate since last December, which is why food prices are on everyone’s mind. Allegations…

Our agri-food world is about to get a whole lot smaller

Exporting actual food products may no longer be the best option moving forward

Our agri-food world is about to get a whole lot smallerIt’s tomato season, and Canadians love their tomatoes. It is by far the most popular vegetable at the grocery store. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the average Canadian consumes at least six to seven kilos of tomatoes per year. More than 12 kilos per capita of fresh and processed tomatoes are made available to…

What’s really behind higher milk prices

The Canadian Dairy Commission is morally and ethically compromised. It needs to distance itself from the dairy sector immediately

What’s really behind higher milk pricesEvery year, the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC), a branch of the federal government, hires external consultants to assess the cost of producing milk on the farm. The CDC has never released any data about costing and has recommended farm milk price increases most years, eventually impacting retail prices and Canadian families. Since February, dairy product…

U of A teams up with venture capital firm to advance agricultural innovation

Partnership with SVG Ventures|THRIVE will help researchers and startups move new technologies

U of A teams up with venture capital firm to advance agricultural innovationThe University of Alberta is partnering with a leading Silicon Valley firm to support innovation growth in Alberta’s agriculture and food sectors. An agreement with SVG Ventures|THRIVE, a venture capital firm investing in agricultural technology startups and supporting corporations with open innovation, powers the U of A to accelerate its development and adoption of technology-driven solutions…

Light at the end of the food inflation tunnel?

Food inflation in Canada may have already peaked

Light at the end of the food inflation tunnel?Once again, the numbers coming out of Statistics Canada were discouraging. The food inflation rate in the country was 8.8 per cent in June, which is still higher than the general inflation rate. Everyone is affected by higher food prices. Americans learned last week that food inflation at the grocery store was 12.4 per cent,…

Has ‘greedflation’ driven up Canadian food prices?

Evidence of ‘greedflation’ is weak at best

Has ‘greedflation’ driven up Canadian food prices?By Sylvain Charlebois and Samantha Taylor Accusations of gouging in the food industry have reached an all-time high. According to a recent survey, 68 per cent of Canadians believe food corporations are taking advantage of the inflationary cycle to increase prices, and it’s not just in retail. Class-action lawsuits have been launched against the beef…

Extremist views make for bad food policies

Unfortunately, the extremists are taking over

Extremist views make for bad food policiesNot a day goes by without seeing a group, or even a government, changing rules for farmers. In the name of the planet, animal welfare and our health, rules are changing despite our farmers’ knowledge and experience. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and it’s happening around the world. Farmers have long been regarded as the best…

New research will map out how much carbon prairie soil is storing

Findings could help beef producers manage grasslands for economic and environmental benefits

New research will map out how much carbon prairie soil is storingA sweeping project co-led by University of Alberta researchers will provide the most comprehensive mapping ever of how much carbon is being stored in perennial grasslands across Saskatchewan. The resulting data from the $3.2-million initiative will help cattle farmers there – and eventually all across Canada’s prairies – manage their land to keep as much…

How to win the war against global famine

Stop feeding people food to cars and animals

How to win the war against global famineAs if plagues and wars aren’t enough, the media is scaring us about oncoming food shortages. We’re already seeing rising prices in restaurants and grocery stores, and we’re being warned about actual famines in other countries. There are three main causes. One is the damage to the supply chain movements caused by the pandemic. Hopefully,…

Health Canada’s new food labelling makes no sense

Saturated fat in beef, and pork: bad. Saturated fat in dairy products: nothing to see here

Health Canada’s new food labelling makes no senseIt looks like we will see different symbols on food packaging soon, telling us whether a food product at the grocery store has too much fat, sugar or sodium. Health Canada is likely going forward with a policy requiring front-of-package nutrition symbols on foods high in saturated fat, sugars and sodium. It will provide clear,…

Befriending self-checkouts seems inevitable

Consumers used to love to hate these machines. But things have changed

Befriending self-checkouts seems inevitableSelf-checkouts have long been an unloved tool in the world of retail. In the beginning, nothing worked as it should, especially at the grocery store where an order for 20 items brought a new form of despair. But even if the mere presence of self-checkouts bothered many consumers, Canadians have apparently befriended them in some…

The harmful ban on single-use plastic products

A ban will impact some 93,000 jobs in the plastics industry. Most in Ontario

The harmful ban on single-use plastic productsAll signs point to the federal government going ahead with a ban on certain single-use plastic products, which would be a mistake. This restrictive measure will likely not have the effects hoped for, and even if it does, you can be sure that the Canadian economy will suffer from those gains. The Canadian plastics industry,…

Canada has its own baby formula problem

Its largest baby formula plant ships all its products to China

Canada has its own baby formula problemParents of toddlers are concerned about baby formula shortages due to a combination of factors. A major recall in the United States affecting the top manufacturer of baby formula, coupled with supply chain challenges, has made things difficult for parents. In the U.S., some parents are driving hours just to get the right product for…

The world is running out of oil – vegetable oil

The entire planet will be impacted, one way or another

The world is running out of oil – vegetable oilIt’s funny how sometimes we take the simple things in life for granted. Cooking oil, or vegetable oil, is certainly one of them. Our appreciation for vegetable oil will likely reach new levels in months to come. Oil prices have increased by 25 per cent in just the last six months. While palm oil went…

The world is on the brink of a food shortage

More than 100 million people will soon experience either famine or hunger

The world is on the brink of a food shortageFood supply chain hangovers due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have resulted in questions about the global nature of our food systems. Some suggest we need to deglobalize and refocus our energy on making most economies around the world food sovereign, including Canada’s. Given what the world is…

Food industry is in the throes of pandemic-induced changes

If you’ve changed your grocery habits since March 2020, you’re not alone

Food industry is in the throes of pandemic-induced changesThe food industry is gathering at trade shows and events for the first time in more than two years. That means they can finally try to figure out what consumers are thinking, believing, hoping and – most importantly – fearing. Trends, flavours and tastes have changed since March 2020. But after more than two years…

Are meals in the metaverse a new frontier for restaurants?

Crossover between the real food world and a virtual metaverse offers companies a new look at markets

Are meals in the metaverse a new frontier for restaurants?Some restaurants are looking for new ways to re-engage with a market heavily affected by a two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants have done a lot of juggling over the last two years: redefining menus, thinking of new ways of connecting with customers, pivoting to a positive future. It’s been nothing short of impressive. One approach gaining…

Saving the planet from climate disaster, one bite at a time

UN estimates that half of 2050 emissions related to food could be cut by things like eating less meat

Saving the planet from climate disaster, one bite at a timeThe United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided a roadmap to saving the planet. For global food security, we must become better environmental stewards. To reduce gas emissions, we need to adhere to sustainable agricultural practices if we are to meet our 2030 targets, according to the report. And, yes, changes in…

Is greed driving the beef industry to a legal showdown?

When it comes to price-fixing, the U.S. acts. Canada, not so much

Is greed driving the beef industry to a legal showdown?A Quebec-based group is leading a class-action lawsuit aimed at major federally-licensed beef packers. Cargill, JBS Foods, Tyson Foods and National Beef Packing are all accused of colluding and inflating beef prices since 2015. So if you’re a consumer in Quebec who’s been buying beef since 2015, you can be part of the claim. The…

Would you eat chicken raised on a diet of insects?

Consumers who are environmentally aware warm to the idea

Would you eat chicken raised on a diet of insects?Eating chicken raised on a diet of bugs or algae may sound downright unappetizing to some, but there are ways to make the idea more palatable to at least one type of food shopper. Consumers who are environmentally aware will likely warm up to the idea of using alternative proteins like insect meal in poultry…

Canada’s food industry needs to up its couponing game

Compared to Americans, Canadians have far fewer options to save on groceries

Canada’s food industry needs to up its couponing gameThe food inflation rate in Canada in February was 7.4 per cent, the largest yearly increase since May 2009. With much higher food inflation, consumers are desperate to find new ways to save at the grocery store. In the United States and Canada, consumers are increasingly using food rescuing apps, going for the “enjoy tonight” deals, trading…

Why an old idea could breathe new life into rural economies

Reinvesting in local co-operatives could help attract people to rural communities and keep them there

Why an old idea could breathe new life into rural economiesShould we be looking to the past to help boost the future of the province’s rural economy? A hundred years ago, local co-operatives were a fairly common way of doing business in rural areas. Now the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities is researching ways to make this old model work in a modern economy. “It’s a…

Playing Russian roulette with food security

Government shouldn't compensate Canadian companies hurt by sanctions, including agri-food

Playing Russian roulette with food securityWith war comes economic sanctions. Instead of sending troops to fight the old-fashioned way, wars are fought with money, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is no exception. The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, the European Union, Turkey and a few more have sanctioned Russia in one way or another. Canada has…

Putin’s invasion threatens to upend global agri-food industries

Could be another challenging year for our farmers, and consumers

Putin’s invasion threatens to upend global agri-food industriesHumanity just got dealt another blow with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Just thinking of the human cost is unbearable. And the agri-food sector has already been impacted by the conflict in more ways than one. Ukraine is Europe’s breadbasket, so this conflict will affect global commodity markets in a meaningful way. Wheat and corn futures…

The potato chips war is just the tip of the iceberg

PepsiCo’s move signals that the sector is tired of - and desperate to stop - supply-chain bullying

The potato chips war is just the tip of the icebergWe recently learned that Frito-Lay, a brand owned by giant PepsiCo Canada, stopped selling to Loblaws after the retailer refused requests by Frito-Lay to increase their prices. Food manufacturers, when selling products to grocers, suggest retail prices. With low profit margins, labour shortages, packaging issues and supply-chain woes, inflation has been violently disruptive to manufacturers.…

Supply chain woes compromise food freshness at stores

Shelflation leaves consumers with a sour taste

Supply chain woes compromise food freshness at storesYou have likely heard of shrinkflation, in which companies reduce the quantity of an item they sell you without changing the price. This packaging strategy has been going on for years and creates the illusion you’re buying the same amount of product. And when supply chains aren’t working optimally, food products reach store shelves either…

Vaccine mandate for truckers puts extra pressure on grocers

Robbing the industry of the oxygen it desperately needs

Vaccine mandate for truckers puts extra pressure on grocersIn many parts of the country, Canadians report a growing number of empty grocery store shelves. It’s also happening in the United States and many other parts of the industrialized world. Before the COVID-19 Omicron variant arrived, empty shelves were visible but few shoppers noticed. They were sporadic in the fall as supply-chain woes continued,…
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