Food prices are rising ahead of Thanksgiving, and here’s why

TORONTO – The Friday before Thanksgiving is a busy day for staff at La Boucherie Fine Meats in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market.

“It’s crazy,” said owner Andy Spiropoulous. “It swings up and down like the stock market.”

But Spiropoulous is not talking about business, he is talking about the prices of his meat. He estimates that turkey is a dollar a pound more expensive this Thanksgiving last year – a cost that increases consumers.

The rising prices of groceries have been noticed by shoppers over the last year. Wayne Campbell, who loaded groceries in his car outside a Scarborough Metro, says: “I know prices have changed because I shop all groceries. For example, eggs used to be $ 2.99 and now they are $ 3.29. “

From turkey to eggs and pretty much everything in between, customers are paying more this Thanksgiving than previous years.

According to Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, senior director at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, “Beef prices are rising by an average of about 12 percent, chicken is rising by about 12 percent, pork is rising by more than 6 or 7 percent, bacon is rising by 18 percent, butter by 35 percent . “

Food price experts say the pandemic and supply chain problems may be part of the reason for rising prices, but that price is also rising for those who get the food to the consumer.

“Labor shortages are affecting wages,” Charlebois said. “Employers actually pay employees more, which is good news for employees, but the agro-food sector is a low-margin environment. And so if you pay more for wages, you eventually have to adjust prices.”

Dealers say they take most of the customer’s frustrations.

St Lawrence Market“It’s not our fault,” Spiropoulous said, “customers always blame us because they think we offend them, but we try to do our best to help consumers.”

Many suppliers in the market say that they have eaten up the rising cost of their products to prevent them from losing market share.

The longtime owner of Ponesse Foods is waving his arm across shelves of fruits and vegetables, which has been impacted by rising costs.

“Almost everything to some degree, some things 10 percent, some things 20 percent,” said owner Mario Ponesse. “It’s almost as if gas prices are rising. It’s the same idea. The thing is, we are not making more money. It’s more work and less money.”

Some customers seem empathetic to the situation of retailers. “I think it’s just the time we’re in,” said shopper Alan Turner. “It’s a tough time, everyone’s trying to get back to where we were.”

Others, like Tim Gammon, loaded groceries into his car, saying they have changed the way they shop to keep food on the table for Thanksgiving and beyond.

“I just noticed that I hunt more for things that are discounted, and sometimes I go to different stores because I know it might be cheaper with them.”

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