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Grocery prices in Canada continue meteoric ascent, rising at fastest pace since 1981

Food inflation remains stubbornly high in Canada as grocery prices climbed at the fastest pace in more than four decades last month.
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A woman shops for produce at the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Food inflation remains stubbornly high in Canada as grocery prices climbed at the fastest clip in more than four decades last month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA — Food inflation remains stubbornly high in Canada as grocery prices climbed at the fastest pace in more than four decades last month. 

While overall inflation moderated in August, the cost of food purchased from stores was up a staggering 10.8 per cent compared with a year ago.

That's the fastest clip recorded by Statistics Canada since 1981.

Dalhousie University food professor Sylvain Charlebois says the protracted nature of food inflation is prompting Canadians to change shopping habits to save money. 

He says new research shows many people are shifting where and how they buy food, shopping more at discount stores, buying cheaper store brands, using loyalty programs and scouring weekly flyers for deals. 

However, experts say food inflation is expected to ease in the coming months as input costs decrease.

"With transportation costs and agricultural commodity prices now off their peaks, the trend in food price inflation should start to soften towards the end of this year and into 2023," Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said in a client note Tuesday. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press