Published 01 April 2020
The newest forecast from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Canada predicts that grocery store prices could soar as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have widespread effects on the food industry.
April 1, 2020 — An update on the food price forecast was issued this week, taking into account the changes that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The report predicts we will see large surges in some food prices, emphasizing that “meat could rise up to six per cent, which means a $20 cut would become $21.20. Seafood could rise up to four per cent, which means a piece of fish that sells for $20 could become $20.80.”
Some of the reasons for this price increase could be attributed to the fact that salaries are expected to go up, especially due to the high demands being placed on grocers. This will put food prices in a position to rise as well.
Food prices could also rise due to grocery stores having to mitigate increased costs that have come as a result of the pandemic. Many grocery stores are installing plexiglass shields at checkouts, increasing cleaning and sanitizing measures and increasing staff pay.
It remains to be seen just how food retailers will continue to adapt as the pandemic progresses. If the reports predictions are accurate, consumers will begin paying more for essential food items during a time when they need them most. It is clear, however, that food retailers are in a precarious position as they attempt to weather the COVID-19 crisis. Time will also tell how long food prices will be increased for.
Researcher Sylvain Charlebois thinks higher prices could be here to stay. “My guess is that it won’t be temporary. They’ve set a new bar,” he says. “That bar will require everyone in the food industry to pay their people more, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But in the end, consumers are going to have to pay for that.”