Canadians Panic As Food Prices Soar On Collapsing Currency

Tyler Durden's picture

It was just yesterday when we documented the continuing slide in the loonie, which is suffering mightily in the face of oil’s inexorable decline.

As regular readers are no doubt acutely aware, Canada is struggling through a dramatic economic adjustment, especially in Alberta, the heart of the country’s oil patch. Amid the ongoing crude carnage the province has seen soaring property crime, rising food bank usage and, sadly, elevated suicide rates, as Albertans struggle to comprehend how things up north could have gone south (so to speak) so quickly.

The plunging loonie “can only serve to worsen the death of the 'Canadian Dream'" we said on Tuesday.

As it turns out, we were right.

The currency's decline is having a pronounced effect on Canadians' grocery bills.

 As Bloomberg reminds us, Canada imports around 80% of its fresh fruits and vegetables. When the loonie slides, prices for those goods soar. "With lower-income households tending to spend a larger portion of income on food, this side effect of a soft currency brings them the most acute stress" Bloomberg continues.

Of course with the layoffs piling up, you can expect more households to fall into the "lower-income" category where they will have to fight to afford things like $3 cucumbers, $8 cauliflower, and $15 Frosted Flakes.

As Bloomberg notes, James Price, director of Capital Markets Products at Richardson GMP, recently joked during an interview on BloombergTV Canada that "we're going to be paying a buck a banana pretty soon."

Have a look at the following tweets which underscore just how bad it is in Canada's grocery aisles. And no, its not just Nunavut: it from coast to coast:

And while some Canadians might think this is a regional phenomenon ...

... folks in the northern parts of the Great White North do have the most cause to cry foul:

No "Jack Nasty" it's not The Great Depression, but as we highlighted three weeks ago, it is Canada's depression and it's likely to get worse before it gets better. "Last year, fruits and veggies jumped in price between 9.1 and 10.1 per cent, according to an annual report by the Food Institute at the University of Guelph," CBC said on Tuesday. "The study predicts these foods will continue to increase above inflation this year, by up to 4.5 per cent for some items."

If you thought we were being hyperbolic when we suggested that if oil prices don't rise soon, Canadians may well eat themselves to death, consider the following from Diana Bronson, the executive director of Food Secure Canada: 

"Lower- and middle-class people — many who can't find a job that will pay them enough to ensure that they can afford a healthy diet for their families" — also feel the pinch of rising food prices"


"The wrong kind of food is cheap, and the right kind of food is still expensive."

In other words, some now fear that the hardest hit parts of the country may experience a spike in obesity rates as Canadians resort to cheap, unhealthy foods. As we put it, "in Alberta it's 'feast or famine' in the most literal sense of the phrase as those who can still afford to buy food will drown their sorrows in cheap lunch meat and off-brand ice cream while the most hard hit members of society are forced to tap increasingly overwhelmed food banks." 

And the rub is that there's really nothing anyone can do about it.

Were the Bank of Canada to adopt pro-cyclical measures to shore up the loonie, they would risk choking off economic growth just as the crude downturn takes a giant bite out of the economy - no food pun intended.

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Jason T's picture

Inversely, I just bought a lb of bacon that was "product of Canada" for 5.99 .. which was pretty good price.  Had some this morning.

Now I feel bad..

Perimetr's picture

Food prices haven't excactly been going down around here, either.

freewolf7's picture

We've been warned. Or, as someone told me, ""We're not Canada."

WayBehind's picture

$3 for cucumber? Big deal. It's fucking winter in Canada. I have seen prices similar to that around here on the west coast in the summer.

... the price of rice, beans and bullets is still OK. I may stack some more ... you never know (and don't forget the toilet paper)

ZeroPower's picture



this must be a joke article. Wtf gives ZH??

Durrmockracy's picture
Durrmockracy (not verified) ZeroPower Jan 13, 2016 6:59 PM

You've obviously never been to the arctic.  The food is flown in there.

stacking12321's picture

i know, can you believe it, the price of poutine down at the tim horton's is through the roof, eh?


Big Corked Boots's picture

It seems the people in Nunavut are having none of it.

On the other hand, mooseburgers are unavailable in New Jersey at any price.

Nutsack's picture

It's Trudeau's fault since it happened during his watch.

WhackoWarner's picture

Try again.  I think your job description includes a guideline for "schmoozing"  Cuddle up elsewhere.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Well ... maybe vegetables went up in price but snow ice have gone down in price so it balances out.

0b1knob's picture

Many of those prices are from Nunavut in the far north and include a BIG mark up to pay for transport.   Fresh veggies and fruit are similarly expensive in Alaska for the same reason (transport costs) and has little to do with the decline of the Trudeau Roble.

Soul Glow's picture

What's the spot markup on gold in Nunavt?

ACP's picture

So, Canada is getting screwed by Saudi Arabia with low oil and screwed again by having to take in a bunch of terrorist refugees that Saudi Arabia won't take in. Doesn't get any more ridiculous than that.

Wait, my bad, it DOES get more ridiculous. They just were stupid enough to elect a pretty-boy socialist punch-drunk boxer for Prime Minister.

Tripple-whammy, eh?

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Ok let's see some non-seasonal costs. Anyone from Canada, approximately what do you guys pay for the following right now?:


24 Pack of Charmin

Pound of whole bean coffee (not Star**cks)

Liter of Gas

Pound of Ground beef

12 Pack of Molson

750ml Jack Daniels

quintago's picture

Damn, I'd hate to be your toilet.

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Buy in bulk, son. TP keeps nicely. It might even be money some day...

Never One Roach's picture

The Canadians who bought gold awhile back are sitting pretty. Sell an ounce to two a month and live off it unless you were suckered into one of those astronomically high mortgages for an overpriced house.

RafterManFMJ's picture

I remember when a US $20 would buy you a quality lap dance on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and as God is my witness, those days will come again!!

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

6 beer (not 12)= $14 CDN (maybe 14.50 for the good locally brewed stuff)

ground beef = $10+ CDN /pound

1 litre (not gallon) of gas = $1.20 (depending on municipality)

hal10000's picture

You in Iqaluit?

12 pack of beer here in NB is about $20.00.  Maybe less for Coors Lite and other types of swill that is only beer because the label says they legal can claim to be it.

Ground beef, lean, was $3.99/lb this morning.

Gas is also 88 cents a litre (diesel is 92 cents).

BobPaulson's picture

Agreed. Gas 0.88 in Edmonton. Real estate just picking up speed in the down direction here. In 2015 I think it held up fairly well actually because Edmonton didn't get nuked as badly as Calgary. I hear in Hongcouver it's still insane for real estate. Most people I talk to around here are thinking the real pain starts this year now that the belt has been tightened as much as possible. I don't know who is going to buy all those condos they are building right now downtown beside the new hockey area us tax payers paid for. :|

sleepingbeauty's picture

24 Pack of Charmin 24 pack charmin double rolls is 9.99 (20ish not on sale) Price is the same as summer.

Pound of whole bean coffee (not Star**cks) 10.66 for McCafe (adjusted to be a pound) Price hasn't moved.

Liter of Gas .79 Way down

Pound of Ground beef $5 (up a lot over the last couple of years)

12 Pack of Molson No idea... sorry

750ml Jack Daniels Again, no idea.


Honestly I am a pretty careful shopper. Veggies are up, but not consistantly. Romaine is higher and cauliflower is WAY higher. But carrots and yams and potatoes and other root vegetables are the same. Apples have gone from 1.39 regular to 1.79 /lb. But on sale they are still the same price. Cheese is the same price but shrunk in size about 4 years ago and is still the same. Milk is 3.99 for 4 litres. Meat went up (all of it) about 3 years ago. I remember there was a lot in the news at the time (and it is pretty much stuck at that level).

My sister lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for a few years many many years ago and the food there has always been crazy high.

armageddon addahere's picture

Gas today in Cobourg Ontario 89c a liter. Cauliflower $4.97 a head (ridiculous). 400ml bottle HP sauce $4.19. 450G No name cheddar cheese on sale $3.97 reg $5.97. Ziggy creamy coleslaw 454g $1.79. Bread on sale $2 reg $3.59. Ham steak 175 g (1/4" thick slice) on sale $2. 4l No name white vinegar $1.78. All from the cheapest supermarket in town No Frills. Don't forget to add 13% sales tax.

zuuma's picture

sales tax on food?   NICE!

The poor should be taxed more.

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Yeah. I just looked and those prices aren't bad at all yet. This article is lame,  that place is way up inside the Arctic Circle. Sheesh!

HowdyDoody's picture

They get really screwed by the US pretending to be an ally.

"The US way of life is not negotiable" - Cheney

So screw you 'allies', bitchez.

newdoobie's picture

When I lived in Moncton (New Brunswick) Lobster was cheaper than boneless skinless chicken breast

mtl4's picture

If you go back far enough, lobster was actually served to prisoners because nobody else would eat how times have changed.

Jim in MN's picture

Uranium is cheap...if you dig it out yourself.

Offthebeach's picture

Canadian recession and devaluation...long strip clubs/lap dances.

conscious being's picture

Honestly, I hate lap dances. When I used to go to Huston, I'd have to take the customers out, about 20 of them. I'd say where do you want to go? Rick's! Ok, attractive women, but what's the point? That show is going nowhere. Maybe Canada is not such a police state and the girls won't lose their jobs or the place get shut down for too much extracaricular activites?

aurum4040's picture

war drums beating louder every day, will we see Canada align with Russia on this, I dunno, but these oil prices are so fucking cheap and so fucking manipulated it's insanity, how many countries will take this US waged economic warfare for much longer, not much,we are at the breaking point 

InanimateCarbonRod's picture

ssshh.don't tell gets in the way of hysterical rant blog posting about the end of the world...

Seer's picture

"similarly expensive in Alaska for the same reason (transport costs)"

Wait, I thought that oil prices were rock bottom?

THX 1178's picture

Holy fuck Canada's currency is hyperinflating? 16$ for fucking cereal?


max2205's picture

2 thoughts

1 move to Hawaii the prices are the same but it's warm

2 I am buying 10k in gold now


duo's picture

I was in Hilo (kind of a dump) for 10 days back in September.  I shopped at the local grocery stores.  Produce and veggies were no higher than what I pay in Dallas, and beef prices weren't crazy either.  Shit, even California wine was maybe a buck more a bottle than Dallas.  And mangoes and passion fruit were free, because they were laying on the ground on the walk back.


Bay of Pigs's picture

Hilo does suck. Let me now when you come to Maui and we'll hang out.

Here in BC, prices are ridiculous....the headline is correct.

Braverdave's picture


Never been to Maui but smoked some Maui Wowee and here I am in BC and get by in that department with a little help from my friends.

I bought a cucumber last week. Three buckssounds about right. But in a few months when those hot house cukes in the Fraser Valley (and some hot house stuff here in OK Valley now too) are available it will be a 3 pack for $ 3.00. 

Another couple months after that my garden will have enough cukes to feed me and my friends too.

Deathrips's picture

I have spent years of my life on west maui. Napili bay. Was there in sept last year. Heat wwave and thunderstoms....still beautiful. Dove hanalua bay and out front of the lahaina sheraton... great spot. Even caught some Dorado and Uku.

Great place to visit.


Now how do i get rid of all the assholes in San Diego........



conscious being's picture

I met these amazing Quebecois, lesbian cucumber harvesters one time. All day, they have to lie face down on these vibrating frames, projecting off of each side of a tractor, grabbing the cukes

Mr.Peak_Crackers's picture

Same in southwestern ON ..Just seen $4.00 dollars for 4 sticks of celery and in my area There are more green houses then homes everthing is hot house grown ( shrugs ) 


Mr.Peak_Crackers's picture

.this should be a good warring of whats to come 

Vincent.Vega's picture

> Holy fuck Canada's currency is hyperinflating? 16$ for fucking cereal?

Canada relies on the colonial taxation as much as the USSA does.

It looks like the influx of free cash from the colonies is finally gone, but no one expected that things would turn so bad, so fast and Canada would enter The Greatest Depression before the States -- usually we have a couple of months' leeway here...

lincolnsteffens's picture

No, Canada did not enter the Greatest Depression before the USA. It has been going on here and getting worse since 2008. Canadians came late to the Depression but quickly entered  a short and steeper decline. It is all smoke and mirrors in the States and now can't be denied with much success anymore.

Have no fear we are right behind you in severity.

Toronto Kid's picture

It's 4.99 for cauliflower by me and apparently that's cheap. I have six months worth of basics put aside, but now I wish I'd put aside more.

Most folks here don't even have a month's worth of basics put aside. I have to do a grocery run tomorrow.