by MATT MCINTOSH
Retail food prices will continue to rise marginally in 2014 thanks to a fluctuating exchange rate and a lower supply of meat products, says a report released by the George Morris Centre.
In their January report, the George Morris Centre – an independent research institute that studies Canada’s agri-food sector – predicts that food prices will see an inflation rate “at or below the overall rate of inflation,” hovering at less than one per cent in 2014.
The report says that high demand and a lower supply of pork and beef means meat prices will continue to press upwards. Similarly, the Canadian dollar has been falling in value against the American dollar over the past year, which they say might trigger higher domestic prices this year.
Despite the meat supply and exchange rate, however, the report says inflation should be low thanks to higher retail competition, and more stable food-processing costs. A slower overall economy and “lukewarm consumer confidence” may also be suppressing inflation rates.
“What goes on at the retail end is of course very important to producers,” says Kevin Grier, senior market analyst at the George Morris Centre, and one of the report’s authors. “However, the predicted inflation rate likely won’t affect farmers as much as retailers. Month to month fluctuations in food prices have more to do with market competition.”
The full report is available from the George Morris Centre’s website here. BF