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Opinion: I got 'sticker shock' staring at Burnaby grocery store prices. Enough!

Are you cutting back on food due to rising prices?
You don't necessarily need a bank loan to buy groceries in Burnaby, but it wouldn't hurt. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

I know people are going on about high gas prices right now – prompting Premier John Horgan to hand out a ridiculous $110 rebate at a time when transit riders are getting dinged with fare increases – but the rising price of food is what is really alarming to me.

Like I went grocery shopping for the first time in a few weeks - my mate has been doing it more recently – and I literally got what some people call sticker shock, an affliction that normally hits car buyers.

I browsed the shelves at a couple of Burnaby grocery stores and it was like getting punched in the stomach. I have received plenty of comments from NOW readers about this during the past couple of months, but I really didn’t see a huge change until recently.

I bring this up not for anyone to feel sorry for me because I make a decent living. It’s all those other folks, such as seniors or workers who make minimum wage, who will literally have to skip meals in order to afford to survive thanks to these skyrocketing prices.

Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that food prices rose 7.4 per cent in February compared with a year ago. The rise came as the annual inflation rate climbed to 5.7 per cent, the highest it’s been since 1991. 

While some economists forecast a slowdown in inflation in the back half of the year, there is more price pressure to come before we get there.

"Unfortunately, we’re likely to see further acceleration in inflation in March," says Josh Nye, senior economist at RBC. 

Statistics Canada also highlighted dairy products in the consumer price index release because they were one of the biggest contributors to February's price gains. The rise in the price of dairy products can partly be attributed to the Canadian Dairy Commission’s decision to increase the farm gate milk price by six cents per litre on Feb. 1. 

Here's a breakdown of how much the prices for some popular food items rose between February 2021 and February 2022 – it’s a depressing list:

Milk: 6.6 per cent

Eggs: 7.2 per cent

Chicken: 10.4 per cent

Beef: 16.8 per cent

Bacon: 16.1 per cent

Apples: 5.3 per cent

Oranges: 9.4 per cent

Bananas: 3.7 per cent

Other fresh fruit and vegetables: 3.8 per cent

Bread, rolls, buns: 3.7 per cent

Coffee: 8.5 per cent

Nut butter: 5.6 per cent

Potato chips and other snacks: 5.8 per cent

Beer purchased from stores: 3.6 per cent

Wine purchased from stores: 2.1 per cent

Liquor purchased from stores: 1.0 per cent

Baby food: 4.3 per cent

Delivery app services (includes delivery from grocery stores and restaurants): 1.4 per cent

  • With files from the Canadian Press

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.