The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has calculated that by Thursday, February 9th, 2023, a Canadian household of average income will have earned enough to pay for their entire year’s grocery bill.
Canadians spent 11 per cent of their disposable income on food in 2022, which is slightly higher than the 10.7 per cent of disposable income spent on food in 2021. Due to this, Food Freedom Day is now one day later, landing on February 9th, 2023.
This will likely come as a surprise to many within the current context of rising food prices and overall inflation. While Canada’s food system continues to provide access to affordable food by global standards, inflation, global events and supply chain disruptions have led to sharp rises in price for food and other essential products, cutting into every Canadian’s disposable income.
For many, the “average Canadian” that the Food Freedom Day metric describes does not portray their experiences and struggles with rising food prices. Due to this, CFA has examined this metric through the lens of the different quintiles of income of Canadian households in Canada to show the percentage of disposable income that they spent on food over the year. The graph below presents this information.
Source: Distributions of household economic accounts, income, consumption and saving, by characteristic, quarterly
As can be seen in the graph above, there is a large difference between how much disposable income households in the lowest income quintile (23.1%) and the highest income quintile (5.2%) spent on food and beverages throughout the year. Adding onto this, rising prices are affecting the lowest quintile disproportionately, with the lowest income quintile’s disposable income spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages rising faster (21.3% in 2021 to 23.1% in 2022) than the highest income quintile (5.1% in 2021 to 5.2% in 2022).
Source: Canadian Federation of Agriculture February 9, 2023 news release