Here at C3FC, we’ve been tracking food and consumer issues for many months. First, we were interested in how pandemic-related restrictions were affecting food selection, availability, and prices.
Remember in the early days of the pandemic when it was difficult to find yeast at the grocery store? The same went for a variety of products such as hand sanitizer, masks, and toilet paper.
Thankfully, highly functioning supply chains and governments around the world working together to keep trade flowing meant that prices remained relatively stable and food remained plentiful. Any products that were scarce were quickly re-supplied by the market.
Yet, just a few months later, supply chain disruptions are the new normal, food supply has been upended due to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and inflation is at a 31-year high.
In short, there are a variety of factors affecting food prices. As a result, people are hurting.
We see it at the grocery store where people are comparing brands versus generic products to find the best price. We’re all doing it. Sometimes we simply must put the item back on the shelf and hope the price comes down the next time we shop.
For many families, these are stressful and difficult times. For students, single mothers, seniors, new Canadians, and unemployed workers, these are even tougher times – and there’s no end in sight. No single, silver bullet to solve the affordability problem.
Perhaps worst of all, people are literally struggling to put food on the table like never before. The use of food banks is on the rise (and donations in some places way down compared to a year ago).
A poll from March finds that over 60 per cent of Canadians are worried about how they’ll feed their families.
So, what are we supposed to do? First off, we are going to state the obvious:
This is unacceptable.
Canada is supposed to be a free and prosperous country; people come here for a better life. No matter what the world situation is, Canada should take care of its people. The Canada of 2022 is NOT providing a better life for Canadians. People are falling behind and this is wrong.
But we’re not just going to complain.
We’re going to do something about it.
In the coming weeks, we are going to be urging politicians, governments, businesses and others to take action to make food more affordable and, most importantly, ensure that food banks have the resources they need to provide food for families that literally can’t put it on their table.
As part of a food affordability series, we are going to be talking to food bank officials, anti-poverty experts, and others so we can better understand how best to help.
We are also going to be speaking with everyday Canadians to share their tips on how to do more with less and stretch their dollars a little further when it comes to providing for their families.
Finally, we are going to work with industry leaders to dispel the myths that farmers are making more money and that businesses are profiting from misery.
We exist to be a group that tells the truth and gets to the bottom of the issue. And there is no issue more important than people being able to afford to eat. This is a basic human need, and we are going to ensure that those that need our help get it.
Please join us as we unpack these issues and put some concrete actions into place. We need all the help we can get!
And please, if you can, support Canadian farmers by buying Canadian agriculture and agri-food products. There is no shortage of delicious, nutritious, and sustainable food to choose from!