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Food prices at an all time high at Ottawa grocery stores


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented spike in the price of groceries, the largest increase in Canada’s history.

The price hike can be found in every aisle of the grocery store.

Owner of Farmer’s Pick grocery store, Alfonso Curcio, is an expert when it comes to the price of food.

"I’ve been doing this for over 40 years. Never seen so many items go up so quick,” says Curcio. "It’s supply and demand. When the demand is there and the supply is not there, the price has got to go up."

Compared to July 2020, overall food prices have risen by 1.7 per cent.

"So dairy, we usually get one price increase per year," says Curcio. "We’ve had two already this year. And eggs, we’re on a third price increase this year."

In 2019 tomatoes were $4.99 per 3 litre basket at Farmer’s Pick. Now, $6.99.Pasta was $2.99 two years ago, today that same package is $3.99.

Since 2016, some of the biggest jumps in food prices came from baby food, potatoes and beef. 

Alternatively, some things got cheaper since then. Onions, flour and bread all went down in price.

If you compare today's prices to 2019, beef, eggs and bacon all rose more than any other food item.

While onions, peanut butter, and orange juice all have lower prices than they did two years ago

Sylvain Charlebois is the director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. He says inflation is becoming a problem in the western world.

"For some oils like olive oil, a lot of it is imported," says Charlebois. “And once you have to move things around the world these days, it’s costing three times the price right now."

"Anything coming in from Europe, the container price went from like $3500, to almost like $20,000," says Curcio.   

Some shoppers at Farmer’s Pick say they’ve had to change the way they buy their groceries.

"Certainly the meat has gone up a lot," says Adelle Forth.

"Before it was just, you go to one store and you buy what you need," says Kathy Gallagher. "And now you look through your coupons and see what you can get on sale."

"I just shop for bargains you know," says George Uza. "I just try to find the best prices whereever I am."

Marie Tremblay adds, "Now you have to be really, really strategic if you want to be able to respect your budget."

Double-checking the cost of every item you reach for has now become routine for shoppers.

"It’s basically being smart," says Curcio. "Take inventory of what you have at home, and just buy what you need. Just keep it tight." Top Stories

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