Canada’s food security depends on significant policy shifts

Food manufacturing lacks investment, suffers from thin margins, faces additional grocers’ fees and must deal with aging facilities

Canada’s food security depends on significant policy shiftsBy Sylvain Charlebois and Amy Hill Dalhousie University Canadian food and beverage manufacturing plays a key role in supporting farmers and the rest of the food supply chain. The second largest manufacturing sector, food and beverage, contributed $26.5 billion to Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. Just 10 manufacturing sectors –  including food manufacturing…

Canadians facing rising food security challenges

Because of rising housing prices

Canadians facing rising food security challengesThe two necessities in life are food and shelter. It looks like both are getting much more expensive. For a few years, the cost of food has been the most important food affordability barrier. Not anymore. The cost of housing is now seen by Canadians as the most significant barrier. A recent poll conducted by…

Edmonton startup in race to develop lab-grown meat

Industry poised for rapid growth

Edmonton startup in race to develop lab-grown meatA fast-growing Edmonton startup company that’s a new player in the cellular agriculture sector recently received US$2.2 million from three U.S. venture capital firms and a number of private investors. Future Fields, which was incorporated in 2018, was founded by two University of Alberta graduates and a former U of A employee. All but two…

Why a convenience store giant wants to be a grocer

Couche-Tard has a reputation of generating value by polishing hidden gems in companies like Carrefour

Why a convenience store giant wants to be a grocerWe heard this week that Alimentation Couche-Tard is looking at acquiring European-based Carrefour, the seventh largest food retailer in the world. Buying a grocery chain would be a significant departure from what Couche-Tard is known for. A non-binding, friendly offer of $25 billion was sent to Carrefour. Couche-Tard is all about the convenience store economy.…

Trudeau’s carbon tax short-sighted in so many ways

No thought as to how it could put many Canadian families in a state of food insecurity by 2030

Trudeau’s carbon tax short-sighted in so many waysCOVID-19 has had an impact on Canada’s food industry but, over time, resilience will prevail. However, the federal government’s pre-holiday announcement that it will increase the carbon tax to $170 per tonne by 2030 will have a long-term impact on consumers. Climate change is a real and significant problem. We need to act quickly, and…

The year’s top food-related stories

From lab-grown meat to grocery store staff bonuses to the food-service crisis to gardening and cooking at home to panic buying

The year’s top food-related storiesThe year 2020 was as unusual as they get, with no shortage of stories. Some flew under the radar because of the pandemic but this list is based on how some food-related stories will probably have long-term implications, whether they were related to COVID-19 or not. At No. 10, the apparent end of Tim Hortons’…

Job rebound sluggish in Canada’s agri-food sector

Job rebound sluggish in Canada’s agri-food sectorStatistics Canada's recent September job market data is reassuring, overall. But for the agri-food sector, the reality is quite different. Overall, employment in the country increased in September, creating 378,000 jobs, the majority of which were full-time. This increase in September brought total employment to 720,000, shy of the level we had before the pandemic.…

Canada’s rising food insecurity problem

Food inflation is on the way up, despite lower prices for other consumer goods. And COVID-19 has impacted incomes

Canada’s rising food insecurity problemStatistics Canada has confirmed what most of us knew already: Canada is becoming a hungrier place. According to a survey conducted by the federal agency in May, almost one in seven (14.6 per cent) Canadians indicated they lived in a household where there was food insecurity in the past month. In 2017-18, a similar survey…

Better get used to higher food prices

The food sector has never been recession-proof. But COVID-19 may show us that it’s immune to deflationary pressures

Better get used to higher food pricesDespite a negative inflation rate overall, recent Statistics Canada numbers tell us we’re in for a wild ride at the grocery store. While the general inflation rate sits at -0.2 per cent, the food inflation rate is at 3.4 per cent. In December, Canada’s Food Price Report predicted a food inflation rate of about 4.0…

Food-chain cracks exposed by COVID-19

Don’t blame farmers for euthanizing animals and dumping milk. The entire food industry is to blame – and we get what we deserve

Food-chain cracks exposed by COVID-19Millions of litres of milk are being thrown away, more than two million eggs are eliminated from the food chain, and pigs and chickens are being euthanized. There’s horror in the countryside. Throwing away good food when more than four million Canadians have lost their jobs is morally reprehensible. Farmers would be the first to…

Dairy renaissance could follow COVID-19

Providing comfort and good health, dairy products will be found in the middle of pandemic-driven consumer changes

Dairy renaissance could follow COVID-19Before COVID-19, the Canadian dairy industry was struggling with its image and its focus. For a growing number of consumers, it had become old and boring, and more people were hesitant to trust what was happening in the dairy sector. Farming communities were clearly not ready for the new attitudes and values shared by many…

Thank capitalism for your basic supplies in time of crisis

COVID-19 has meant some shortages at grocery stores. But overall, the supply chains developed over decades fill our needs

Thank capitalism for your basic supplies in time of crisisEven as COVID-19 has put much of the economy into shutdown and caused a run at grocery stores on some staples, most of us remain generally well-supplied with food. That’s something to be thankful for. It’s one of the significant wonders of the modern economic system that most people, very few of whom are directly…

Cracking down on COVID-19 profiteers

While artificially inflated retail food prices are possible in Canada at any time, it’s highly unusual – even now

Cracking down on COVID-19 profiteersEven if they really haven’t had good reason, many Canadians have felt food insecure lately. Access to food has been a concern. Affordability is certainly a close second. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, consumers have occasionally taken to social media to report inflated prices by retailers. Even though the accusations were warranted in…

No food shortage yet, but …

We’re entering a crucial period in the pandemic. So far, governments have kept trade borders open. Cooler heads must prevail

No food shortage yet, but …Access to food during the COVID-19 crisis has been a source of anxiety everywhere in the West. But the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, which means that anything can still happen. Panic buying by people in confinement has already demonstrated the fragility of supply chains, as supermarket shelves were emptying in many…

Coronavirus exposes China’s failure as a socio-economic player

With more economic clout comes more responsibility. And China is failing

Coronavirus exposes China’s failure as a socio-economic playerWhen SARS hit in 2003, China was nowhere near the economic powerhouse it is today. Now, if something happens to China, the entire world is affected and the food sector is not immune. The coronavirus outbreak is proving that. Even though the outbreak is starting to slow, the economic damage will easily surpass that of…