5% to 10% over the next year or so.
World food prices have hit a record high this year, according to the United Nations World Food Organization, due to a combination of poor crops in major growing countries, such as Russia and Australia, low inventories and rising global demand.
The high Canadian dollar, the high proportion of food costs unrelated to crop prices such as marketing and transportation, and intense retail competition have all helped buffer us. Walmart, for one, is expanding in Canada and other chains are reluctant to start raising prices, Grier said.
And the higher commodity prices are good news for corn, wheat and soybean farmers in Ontario's farm belt who experienced years of grinding low prices in the last decade.
Evan Fraser, a University Selling Converse High Tops
"Nobody wants to be caught being the first," he said. "But their margins are a little tighter and they are going to continue to get tighter. Eventually it is going to get passed along to us."
"We have gone through some pretty lean years, so this is an opportunity to build a little equity to help you go through those years when the prices will come down."
The amount of disposable income Canadians now spend on food has dropped to 10%, below what even Americans spend. Saturday was Food Freedom Day 2011, the date by which the average Canadian has earned enough money to pay for groceries for the entire year.
But there are few tears being shed for the Canadian consumer.
Grier said soaring corn prices will eventually be felt at the meat counter as well.
"We currently have all this corn starch and corn syrup sloshing around our supermarkets. I think that stuff is going to become much more expensive," he said.
a senior market analyst at the George Morris Centre, an independent agri food think tank in Guelph, Ont., said the upward pressure on prices is already taking place.
"It is like a boiling pot of water. The water is boiling and that is commodities. We as consumers don't see it because for the most part the lid is being kept on by the processors and retailers. It hasn't filtered through to us yet," he said.
After decades of stable, low food prices, your grocery bills are set to climb within the next few years. One expert, a University of Guelph, Ont., geography professor, predicted food prices will likely increase Converse For Men 2018
More than half of North America's corn crop this year will likely be used for fuel ethanol production, instead of being available to feed livestock and poultry. As a result, more livestock producers will be forced out of business, and eventually beef and pork prices will rise because of lower supplies, he said.
"It is an exciting time as a producer to be able to forward contract next year's crop at some of these higher prices," said Ottawa area farmer Don Kenny, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario.
A combination of factors, according to economists, has so far kept Canadians from feeling the pinch that is squeezing consumers in other countries, some to the breaking point.
"Food bills over the last 20 or 30 years have to a large extent been dependent on pretty good weather and pretty cheap oil. There is a fair bit of evidence oil prices are likely to rise into the future and as climate changes, it is likely to make harvests at a global level less predictable," he said.
"It's sad. It wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the subsidies, the tariffs. It is government policies, it is not the market," Converse Black High Tops Mens Grier said.
In North America, the crops that underpin much of the rural economies corn, soybeans and wheat have surged close to the record levels set two years ago.
The record high prices are being blamed, in part, for the political unrest that has already swept aside governments in Egypt and Tunisia.
of Guelph, Ont., geography professor and the holder of the federally funded Canada Research Chair in global human security, said Canadian consumers can expect food price increases of 5% to 10% over the next year or so.
"We need to come to grips with that simple fact," said OFA president Bette Jean Crews in a commentary released Friday calling for a national food strategy.
But eventually it will, he warned.
Grocery bills set to rise
How much food prices increase will vary from one grocery item to another. Foods with large amounts of corn starch or corn syrup, such as junk food and pop, will climb more than others, Fraser predicted.
"I call it a train wreck. Nobody would have anticipated that in North America we would now be seeing 40 to 45% of our corn crop going into ethanol instead of it being fed to animals.
And another, Kevin Grier, Converse Dark Red Style
The Bank of Montreal, in a forecast released Saturday, predicts a "moderate increase" in food prices in the coming year while the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) said a rise in food prices is inevitable.
Enjoy the walk down the grocery store aisle while you still can.
"Food might get a little bit more expensive but it is not going to be a revolution on our hands, not like Egypt," he said.
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