Market shifts, weather push back Food Freedom Day

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Food Freedom Day, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s bellwether of affordability for food in Canada, is a day later in 2018.

The CFA on Wednesday announced that by its calculations, a Canadian household of average income has earned enough to pay an entire year’s grocery bill on Friday, Feb. 9.

Canadians spent 11 per cent of their disposable income on food in 2017, according to our figures based on the latest statistics, compared to 10.7 per cent in 2016, the CFA said.

“This year, Food Freedom Day falls one day later than last year’s date, reflecting a slight cost increase that can be largely attributed to shifts in consumer trends and impacts due to weather volatility in key production areas for certain commodities.”

The date is calculated by taking Canadians’ total seasonally-adjusted retail expenditure on food and beverages and dividing it by the total Canadian household disposable income to create a percentage, which is then applied to the calendar year.

Food Freedom Day fell on Feb. 8 in 2017, Feb. 9 in 2016 and Feb. 6 in 2015.

CFA views the event as “a way to explore year-over-year expenditure changes and raise consumers’ understanding of Canada’s food system, from farm gate to plate.”

The prices consumers pay for food have been “steadily increasing” over the past 30 years, CFA said, but “the amount that returns to the farm gate is relatively small, particularly when the costs of production are taken into account.”

Canadian farmers, the group said, “continue to adapt to widely varying costs for inputs such as fuel and fertilizer, and to balance their plans against uncertainties in the marketplace.” — Network

About the author


Stories from our other publications