Food is vital to everyone. It plays such a huge part in our daily lives. And no matter what you think, here in Canada we have inexpensive food. It may not seem that way when you have to pay at the grocery store register, but we really do. In my business travels of over 20 years, I saw food prices much higher and quality much lower in many countries around the world, compared to what we have here in Canada. If we are honest with ourselves, we do take the prices and quality of our food for granted.
Through these weekly articles, hopefully we all realize our farmers are very efficient at producing food. Our producers are so efficient, that the average Canadian has now earned enough income to pay our grocery bill for the entire year! This past February 14th was Food Freedom Day here in Canada.
Canadians will be working for many more months this year to pay off what they owe in taxes. But as of February 14, we will have made enough money to buy all our food for 2014, which is an amazing thing to appreciate here in Canada, and something we need to be more thankful for.
In terms of food prices, farmers get paid one price for their commodities, while consumers pay a very different price for the end products they buy in the supermarket or restaurant. The difference in price is related to the added value from processors, wholesalers, and retailers. It is also related to the relationship between buyers and sellers at every step along the way.
Over the last ten years, prices paid by consumers for food increased over eight times more than the prices received as a return to farmers. Our Canadian producers continue to take only a very slim percentage of the money consumers spend in the grocery store or restaurant.
For example, for a 250-mL glass of milk at a restaurant that costs $1.95, the dairy farmer’s share would be about 22 cents, with the remainder going to processors and retailers.
The box of corn flakes for which you paid $3.95, the farmer was paid 7 cents for the corn.
The prime sirloin steak you bought last week for $15.00 brought the farmer about $2.00.
Or that loaf of whole wheat bread for $2.50 had the farmer receiving 15 cents for the wheat.
Food waste is another area of concern. Annually, Canadians waste approximately $27 billion worth of food, which means over $770 in food dollars wasted per person every year.
Of this waste, which includes transportation, distribution, food service, farmers’ fields, retail stores, packaging and processing, a whopping 51% of food waste was at the home.
In terms of food production, there are many factors involved in the cost of growing food for Ontario consumers. To respond to growing consumer demand, Ontario producers are improving the environmental sustainability of their operations. They are implementing programs that continue to ensure the safety of food, right from the farm gate to your dinner plate.
When you are out this weekend buying your groceries, remember that our producers grow some of the highest quality, safest, and most affordable foods in the world.
Think about this – Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness.
Just some food for thought.