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Experts predict a lower increase in food prices in 2024 than previous years – Report

Throughout 2023, the affordability of food items remained a top concern for Canadians and has been so for the past few years, especially since COVID-19. According to Food Bank Canada’s 2023 Hunger Count, food banks served approximately two million people in 2023, marking a 32% increase from March 2022 and a significant 78.5% increase since March 2019. Several factors have contributed to the rise in food prices, including climate change, wildfires, flooding, global events and rising production costs, with climate change identified as a critical challenge for the agri-food sector. Among G7 countries, Canada had the third-lowest inflation rate at 9.1% as of June 2023, following Japan at 8.9% and the United States at 4.6%. By comparison, the United Kingdom experienced the highest inflation rate at 17.4%.

Canada’s Food Price Report 2024 is the 14th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report, an annual collaboration between research partners Dalhousie University, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia. The report indicates a reduction in Canadian food spending in 2023 despite ongoing inflation. Food retail sales data show a decrease in monthly per capita grocery spending, falling from $261.24 in August 2022 to $252.89 in August 2023. This decrease indicates a trend among Canadians to reduce food expenditures, likely through buying less, opting for more affordable products, or choosing lower-cost alternatives. The decline in food expenditures can be attributed to a range of factors, including increased living costs such as higher rent and utility bills, coupled with rising personal debt levels. A TransUnion report highlights that the average Canadian credit card balance reached $4,000, with household debt rising by 4.2% from the previous year, factors that may contribute to the observed decrease in food spending.

For 2024, Canada’s Food Price Report forecasts an overall food price increase of 2.5% to 4.5%. It is expected that the average family of four will spend approximately $16,297.20 on food in 2024, an increase of nearly $701.79 from the previous year, with notable price rises in bakery, meat and vegetable categories ranging from 5% to 7%. While the 2023 report estimated the total annual expenditure for a family consisting of a man (aged 31-50), a woman (aged 31-50), a boy (aged 14-18) and a girl (aged 9-13) at $16,288.40, the actual expenditure was lower at $15,595.40, resulting in families spending $693 less due to altered shopping habits, despite the rise in food prices. For 2024, it is projected that a family of four with the same demographics will spend an estimated $16,297.20, marking a $701.79 increase from the previous year. The report also suggests that 2024 might see a mild deflationary trend, leading to lower prices for several essential food items.

The 2024 report has identified profiteering and competition in the grocery market as significant concerns. About 80% of the grocery market is dominated by five companies: Loblaws, Sobeys/Safeway, Costco, Metro and Walmart. In light of recent allegations of price-fixing and profiteering, the federal government is scrutinizing the Canadian grocery sector and plans to introduce Bill C-56, aimed at enhancing market affordability. Bill C-56 proposes amendments to the Competition Act to promote affordability in the grocery market by allowing the Competition Tribunal to dissolve anti-competitive agreements between competitors and authorize the termination of agreements between non-competitors that adversely affect competition.

According to the report, the projected food price increase range of 2.5% – 4.5% in 2024 offers a reprieve from the higher rates seen in previous years. The expected price changes in various categories are as follows: Bakery 5% to 7%, Dairy 1% to 3%, Fruit 1% to 3%, Meat 5% to 7% and other food items 2% to 4%. Price fluctuations for Restaurants are anticipated between 3% to 5%, for Seafood 3% to 5% and for Vegetables 5% to 7%. The Canada Food Price Report 2024 accounts for the diverse household compositions in the country, enabling accurate predictions of annual food expenditure based on age and gender. This approach allows Canadians to estimate their household’s annual food costs more accurately. Below are the projected food expenditures for 2024 according to different demographic categories:


6-11 Months $3,087.38

1-3 Years $2,362.88


4-8 Years $3,082.70

9-13 Years $3,968.91

14-18 Years $4,656.68

19-30 Years $4,382.55

31-50 Years $4,171.05

51-70 Years $4,051.45

70+ Years $3,894.05


4-8 Years $2,952.46

9-13 Years $3,727.06

14-18 Years $3,869.71

19-30 Years $3,815.95

31-50 Years $3,742.41

51-70 Years $3,664.33

70+ Years $3,504.99

Pregnant Woman

< 18 Years $4,469.90

19-30 Years $4,350.15

31-50 Years $4,304.10

Nursing Woman

<18 Years $4,368.17

19-30 Years $4,350.15

31-50 Years $4,313.68

For a family with an adult man and woman (both 31-50 years old), a teenage boy (14-18 years old), and a girl (9-13 years old), the projected annual food expenditure for 2024 is approximately $16,297.20, an increase of about $701.79 from the 2023 expenditure for a similar family composition, as per the Canada Food Price Report 2024.