Rising grocery prices have made headlines across the country this summer as businesses seek to recover costs related to COVID-19. Between higher labour costs, additional expenses such as personal protective equipment and COVID-19 surcharges, consumers are paying more for food.
But statistics Canada data for the first six months of year show that celery and cucumbers were among the products at BC supermarkets that saw prices fall during the pandemic.
The price of celery fell 26% to $2.55 per unit versus the pre-pandemic average while cucumber prices cooled 19% to $1.59 apiece. Cucumbers also saw the steepest drop in price of any food item during the first six months of the year, dropping 29% versus December.
Cost-conscious consumers looking for some meat to go with their cucumber salad would have had no better choice than chicken. With reduced demand from foodservice channels, chicken was plentiful. Supermarkets were selling whole birds, thighs and breasts at discounts. Thighs saw the biggest drop, falling 5% to $9.72 per kilogram.
Price increases at BC supermarkets primarily affected beef and pork, products impacted by plant closures during the pandemic, as well as imported produce.
Beef logged the greatest price increases during the pandemic, with both stewing and striploin cuts rising 41% to $19.68 per kilogram and $33.93 per kilogram, respectively.
Pork loin cuts, the most expensive cut of pork, rose 33% to $11.76 per kilogram.
Those living high on the hog could accompany their meal with cabbage, which saw the greatest increase of any vegetable sold in BC during the pandemic. A head of cabbage rose 16% to $3 a kilogram.
Among fresh fruits, oranges saw the greatest price appreciation during the pandemic, rising 15% to $4.34 per kilogram. Cantaloupe were close behind, rising 14% to $3.57 apiece.