On February 12, 2009, the average Canadian will have had enough income to pay his or her individual grocery bill for the entire year. In observing Food Freedom Day, farmers across the country will celebrate their role in providing consumers with one of the safest and most affordable food supplies in the world.
Food Freedom Day is slightly later in 2009 due to the recent rise in the price of food. This bucks the trend of recent years, where the disposable income of Canadians rose significantly faster than the cost of food. However, thanks to farmers, Canadians still get the best deal in the Western world for their food dollar. In many parts of the world, the cost of food is significantly higher. Member countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), on average, spend 8.3 per cent more of their disposable income on food than Canadians. Australians spend 12.7 per cent more, the Japanese spend 35.7 per cent more, and Mexicans spend over 125 per cent more of their disposable income on food than Canadians.
In 2008, while prices in some agriculture commodities soared, Canadian farmers continued to take only a very small percentage of the consumers’ food dollar at the grocery store. In 2005, a grain farmer received seven cents for the corn in a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and 11 cents for the wheat in a loaf of bread. Even with a doubling in the price of commodities, those costs would then become 14 and 22 cents, certainly not justifying the significant retail markups which many consumers complained about. Given the processed nature of many consumer foods, it is far more likely that an increase in the cost of energy played a much larger role in the retail price increase.
Canadians continue to receive high-quality food produced at the highest food safety and environmental standards. To ensure that consumers are able to identify Canadian food products and support our agriculture sector, the CFA will continue to advocate for effective ingredient-based “Product of Canada” guidelines that are both informative to the consumer and practical to the agri-food industry.
For more information on how Food Freedom Day, visit the CFA website at www.cfa-fca.ca