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CEO Michael Graydon: No matter who wins the election, Food is Fundamental to Canada's future
Created on 7/8/2019 1:35:22 PM

Written by Michael Graydon, CEO at Food & Consumer Products of Canada. 
Published on June 18, 2019.

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” - James Beard 


FCPC announced today that a new national poll from Abacus Data shows that rising food prices will be a key concern in the coming federal election. An astonishing 9 in 10 Canadians worry about food prices, and 40% of Canadians say cost of living is a top voting concern. 

With food prices expected to rise by as much as 3.5% this year, an average family of four will have to shell out an additional $400 to put food on the table. Canadians already spend 50% more on groceries than our American neighbors. Astronomical food prices contribute to shockingly high food insecurity, particularly in rural Canada. 

While the government can’t control some factors contributing to the trend (like the extreme weather in California that can make fresh produce more expensive), others are actually a result of government policy. Without corrections, government policy will continue contributing to this alarming trend. 

Canada’s food and beverage companies face some 140,000 regulations at the federal level alone - the costs add up and ultimately hit consumers in the pocketbook. FCPC reported in April that food companies are struggling in the face of overly-burdensome regulations and policies that foster decreased competition in grocery retailing. 

Abacus’ new poll shows companies aren’t the only ones worried about rising costs. You might wonder whether Canadians blame food companies for rising prices, but instead the poll reveals that Canadians correctly identify government action as a key contributor to their grocery bills. In fact, a majority of voters believe food prices will rise further if government does not prioritize supporting a strong food industry. 

From the cash register to farm fields, the cost of inaction is unacceptably high. Canada’s food industry purchases 40% of what our farmers grow, and we employ more people than any other manufacturing sector. 

And don’t forget - Canadian companies make 75% of the food Canadian families rely on every day. The vast majority of these companies are small businesses (99% have fewer than 500 employees), who are hard-pressed to navigate Canada’s minefield of regulations and deal with the pressures of an increasingly concentrated retail landscape. 

There is one bright spot - Abacus’ research shows Canadians know what government can do to keep food affordable - support a strong, competitive food industry. The majority of Canadians expect prices will continue to rise if government does not commit to support a strong food industry. 

In short, food is fundamental to Canada’s future. Whoever wins the election must prioritize solutions that keep the food industry strong to support the families, farmers, and workers who rely on us every day. 

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