Food prices up 2.1% in February; grocery sales up 0.9%


Food prices in Canada rose 2.1% in February versus the same month a year ago. And the latest figures from Statistics Canada show sales at grocer stores and supermarkets rose 0.9% in January compared to the previous month.

In its monthly Consumer Price Index report, StatsCan said that the gain in food prices was identical to January and in line with overall inflation rate, which was up 2.2%, led by a 15.7% hike in gas prices.

In February, the biggest hike in food prices came at table-service restaurants, where prices rose 2.7%, versus a 2% hike for food sold at retail outlets and a 2.1% rise at fast-food and takeout restaurants.

At retail, prices rose 6.3% for ham and bacon compared to the same month last year, 7.6% for sugar and confectionery products, and 6% for coffee and tea.

In produce, lettuce was up 34.5% and potatoes 11.5%.

While retailers over the past year have complained of food price deflation, largely due to competition, manufacturers and retailers have more recently said they plan to introduce price hikes this year.

Statistics Canada's monthly retail sales report showed that overall business at food and beverage stores was up 0.7% in January versus the previous month. Beer, wine and liquor stores had the largest gain (2%), followed by supermarkets (0.9%).

Specialty food stores, which have led the category for most of the past year, saw a decline in January of 6.1%, while convenience stores dropped 0.2%.

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