Canadians have been saving on a selection of fruit and vegetables, but some grocery stores have been selling more than expected and that could hurt the industry, according to a new report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The agency released the results of its annual CanFind report Thursday, which analyzes the food safety record of Canada’s grocery stores, and found the country’s food supply is on the mend.
In the latest year, the CFIA recorded 1.8 million recalls in the country.
Those were down slightly from 1.9 million in 2016.
But the number of people who were harmed was more than double that of the previous year, at 6.3 million, the agency reported.
Overall, the number for Canada’s overall food supply fell by 2.4 per cent in 2017, the lowest rate since the agency began tracking the issue in 2005.
But it was the decline in the number who were hurt that was the biggest contributor to the drop, at 7.4 million, according the agency.
The decline in Canadians eating fruits and vegetables was the result of a rise in prices and a fall in grocery sales, which saw grocery prices drop by 6 per cent from 2016 to 2017.
The increase in the amount of food available at grocery stores is likely to have been responsible for the decline.
While the price reductions in Canada are not enough to keep up with the country being the world’s second largest producer of food, they do provide some relief.
Canada was the world leader in the use of fruits and veggies, with the vast majority of the world food supply coming from Canadian growers.
While food prices are low, Canadians still have a long way to go to catch up with other nations.
The number of Canadians who said they were in a position to pay less for groceries has risen by 15 per cent since 2015.
That’s a number that has been on the rise in recent years, said John A. Lafferty, a senior analyst at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Lafferty pointed to the fact that in 2017 alone, the cost of a single cup of milk rose by 15.8 cents, from $2.79 to $3.99.
That means that Canadian consumers are spending more of their money on groceries, and the price increases are likely to slow.
He also pointed to a rise of $1.3 in the cost for a single pound of fresh milk in the United States, from about $2 to about $3 per pound.
Canadian consumers are paying more for their groceries because they’re eating less fruits and less vegetables, said Dan Kober, executive director of the Centre for Food Safety and Innovation, which produced the report.
He said Canadians have to get used to the idea that there are fewer fresh vegetables and fruits available, as well as less fresh fruit and more packaged foods.
“We can expect to see food prices to fall in 2018, 2019 and 2020, with a further reduction in the fall, but it’s going to take some time to reverse these trends,” he said.
Kober said it’s likely the price reduction will last a couple of years, and that the government is trying to get rid of the idea of a mandatory price reduction.