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Forecast for food inflation lowered, but meat prices to jump in 2017: report

Last Updated Jun 19, 2017 at 9:00 am EDT

TORONTO – The researchers behind Canada’s annual food price report say that while they expect food inflation to be slightly lower this year than previously estimated, shoppers should expect big jumps in the price of meat.

The mid-year forecast update by researchers from Dalhousie University in Halifax projects grocery and restaurant food prices will rise between three and four per cent this year, rather than the three to five per cent they anticipated back in December.

However, meat will be more expensive than they previously thought, with prices expected to jump seven to nine per cent by the end of the year.

Lead author Sylvain Charlebois says the spike is due to low inventories, particularly for cattle and hogs, as well as grocers boosting prices to increase profits at the meat counter after prices were a little bit depressed at the end of 2016.

The report says Canadians can also expect to see prices go up by as much as five per cent for fruits and four per cent for vegetables, blaming California’s rainy winter for some crop losses.

The mid-year update provides some good news for shoppers’ wallets. Prices for dairy, eggs, bakery goods and cereals are expected to drop between one and three per cent. They were expected to remain flat or rise up to two per cent.