OPINION: Look beyond grocers such as Loblaw: Food insecurity is going to get a lot worse – by Todd Hirsch (Globe and Mail – March 8, 2023)


Todd Hirsch is the former Calgary-based chief economist of ATB Financial and author of The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline.

Food is getting so expensive that grocery executives such as Loblaw Cos. Ltd. chairman and president Galen G. Weston are being hauled before a House of Commons committee this week – after dodging a previous informal invite.

But cast aside this bit of political theatre and the role of Canadian grocers. Not only is this issue so much bigger than them, everything is also going to get much worse.

Tune into the news on any given day and you’ll be bombarded by sobering issues. There’s inflation, yes, plus geopolitical clashes and climate change – three issues that are raising anxiety levels around the world. And it’s already getting worse. Prior to this year, who would ever have thought that something as simple as a rogue weather balloon would stir up fears of global war?

These three horsemen may seem discrete, but inflation, geopolitics and climate change are combining in ways that could push food insecurity to crisis levels by the end of this decade. First, even as central banks raise interest rates in an attempt to get inflation under control, food prices are not going to fall back to where they were. In other words, a return to a 2-per-cent inflation target won’t return the price of meat, bread or produce back to 2019 levels. It just means that food prices will continue to rise, only a bit more slowly.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-food-insecurity-inflation-climate-change/