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Mother Nature largely to blame for price hikes at the grocery store


Shoppers may have noticed inflated food prices at the grocery store this year, and one expert says the number one reason for the hike is due to environmental factors.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agri-food analytics lab at Dalhousie University, told CTV News Edmonton the livestock industry has been greatly impacted by droughts and heat waves in Canada, the U.S., Russia and flooding in Europe.

“Mother Nature picked up the pace and gave us droughts and flooding, which is why the prices have gone up,” he said.

Due to these unforeseen circumstances affecting farmers, it bumped up the feed costs for them and in turn drove up the consumer price.

“The thing about poultry in particular in Canada is that it’s like the tide,” Charlebois explained. “If poultry goes up in price, everything else goes up in price.”

Typically we see a two to three per cent hike for chicken and turkey, but this year it’s up 12 per cent, according to Charlebois.

But, if you’re worried about getting a bird for Thanksgiving, he says in order to get the best deal, you should wait…

“I would wait until Friday or Saturday before buying a bird because you may get some sales,” he advised. “Patience will reward you if you wait until the last minute.”

The other element contributing to the increase is the cost of labour and transportation.

“To move anything around right now is costing more so land based logistics are becoming more expensive as we head into the winter months,” Charlebois added.

Poultry is supply managed so if costs go up, farmers are still proportionately compensated, Charlebois told CTV News. As for hog producers, their prices are negotiated publically in Chicago and that sets the benchmark, meaning each producer will have different contractual terms depending on who they deal with.

“It’s a buck a slice now for bacon,” he said.

“If you put that turkey into the oven and you put that lovely bacon on top of the legs and on top of the birds, it’ll basically cost you $4 or $5 more.”

According to Charlebois, if you buy your goods in advance, you will pay full price. The key will be searching for those last minute meal prices.

“The freshest may not be there,” he said. “But it’s not poison either.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Dave Ewasuk. Top Stories


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