According to a report, the average Canadian family will pay more for groceries and dining.
Food prices will rise between 1.5 to 3.5% in 2019, according to the report from researchers at the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University. That means the average family of four will spend $12,157 next year — up $411 from 2018.
Vegetables will see the biggest price jumps — between four and six per cent for the category, according to the report.
Meanwhile, meat and seafood prices are expected to fall, with the meat category to decline by one to three per cent and seafood costs to remain the same or fall up to two per cent.
Since 2015, the team has predicted prices in those two categories would rise as high as six per cent each year.
“This is a bit of a risk for us … We’ve never done that,” said Sylvain Charlebois, one of the lead researchers and a professor at Dalhousie University, referring to anticipating a decline.
But the team is confident in its prediction. They believe there’s an oversupply of meat, he said, and Canadians are eating less animal protein. Instead, they’re showing more interest in alternative proteins, like quinoa and lentils.
Between December 2013 and December 2014 the average monthly retail price for one kilogram of ground beef rose more than 26%, according to Statistics Canada data. For comparison, the price advanced about 3.5% from December 2012-13. It reached a record high of $13.23 in October 2015.
“It really spooked consumers,” said Charlebois, adding they started substituting plant-based protein into their diet.
Butchers and grocers will likely take it easy on beef prices next year in an effort to bring people back to the red meat, he said.
Consumers’ embrace of plant proteins will help push vegetable prices higher next year, as will the weather, according to the report.