There is no doubt that food prices have been on the rise – even prior to the start of the pandemic. In an article written by International Monetary Fund (IMF) called “Four facts about soaring consumer food prices” they state that the average cost of food to the global consumer has increased, but so has the average price of producing food.
There is a delicate balancing act between growing food sustainably while also keeping the cost of food down. Many modern farming practices such as planting genetically modified crops, increased use of technology in farming equipment and more efficient equipment help Ontario grain farmers to ensure that grains are grown sustainably while also keeping the cost of production down.
However, across the globe, sustainable farm practices that would also include fair wages, and advanced understanding of soil and technology that can help farmers understand how to be more efficient, can increase the cost of farming dramatically, which in turn is part of the ecosystem that decides the cost of food.
It’s important to understand that for the most part a farmer has very little impact on the cost of food – in Ontario, grain farmers do not charge whatever would work best for their businesses and families for grain, they sell it at a price set by their customers.
What farmers can do to keep production costs low and to help keep food costs low, they do – read more here: click here to learn how they do it.
In a 2019 survey by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, they found that 64% of Canadians believe that the rising cost of food is the number one issue when it comes to life and food issues, especially during a global pandemic.
When the price of producing food increases due to marketing, packaging, distribution and more, the grocery retailers aren’t able to purchase food at the same price and their costs will also increase. Because grocery retailers are paying a higher price and wish to continue to make decent profit margins, they pass that increased price onto the consumer. However, the IMF also states that the increase in producer food prices takes about 6-12 months to be felt by the average consumer in the grocery store.
The IMF states that they expect food prices to continue to increase for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, however, different countries are expected to be impacted differently, with developing and low-income countries to experience the largest increase/ inflation in consumer food prices.
In much of Canada, we continue to enjoy relatively low food costs compared to average incomes, although we do have communities who suffer from lack of access to affordable food, and there is great need to address this as a nation. It is very important that the food industry continue to work together to keep costs low for everyone’s grocery bill.
Watch how grain farmer, Josh and his family farm knowing, affordable is a priority for all Ontario families including his own.