Remember to put aside an extra $500 for food next year

The other day I was looking at old film photos, from around 1997, and was struck by one thing in particular: street meat.

One photo featured a BBQ stand with a price list: $1 for a hot dog; $1.50 for a burger; 75 cents for a Coke. These things would cost about four times as much today.

The point is: food has become outrageously expensive. And that’s not about to change.

According to Canada’s Food Price Report, food prices are expected to increase by around 4% next year. Spoiler alert: your wages will not. The average food inflation rate over the past decade is around 2% a year, which means next year is especially hard-hitting.

So, what gives? The report points to the usual burdens: climate change and continuing trade issues. Classic. Perhaps most concerning is that these problems won’t be resolved anytime soon. In fact, they could worsen given our ongoing pillaging of the environment and that Trudeau recently mocked the leader of our most important trade partner.

The highest price jump is expected in the meat department. And while there are plenty of veggie alternatives, they aren’t necessarily cheaper. The increase will be driven by global demand for domestic meats, so, unfortunately, there’s not much your plant-based diet can do about it.

When it comes to the environment, the report is ambiguous about how certain factors will drive prices up. It cites a backlash against single-use plastics and the federal government’s carbon tax, and that’s all you need to know, ok?

Solutions include growing more crops domestically, urging businesses to pay the carbon tax without taking it out on consumers, and trying to stabilize the weather. In short: it’s a hell of a task.