BLT, anyone? Bacon, lettuce, tomatoes among ‘broad-based’ grocery price relief

Multiple grocery store staples saw price hikes not only ease but reverse course in January, according to Statistics Canada.

The agency on Tuesday reported an overall decline in the annual rate of inflation to 2.9 per cent last month. As part of that, food inflation at the grocery store cooled to 3.4 per cent, down from 4.7 per cent in previous two months.

StatCan says the easing was “broad-based,” with many aisles of the grocery store seeing relief.

Many food staples saw price growth drops from December to January, including breakfast cereal (down 2.3 per cent), pasta mixes (down 6.6 per cent), rice (down 1.4 per cent), frozen fruit (down 2.9 per cent) and margarine (down 4.3 per cent). (Figures not seasonally adjusted.)

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Compared with January 2023, meat price growth cooled to 2.8 per cent annually. Price growth for dairy products was 1.5 per cent year-over-year, while eggs were up only 1.3 per cent annually, but down slightly (0.1 per cent) month-over-month.

The cost of making a BLT was cheaper in January 2024 than a year earlier, in fact. Bacon prices were 8.4 per cent lower, tomatoes were 9.8 per cent cheaper and lettuce cost 18.6 per cent less year-over-year, according to StatCan. (The cost of the bread was flat year-over-year.)

Eric La Fleche, CEO of Montreal-based grocer Metro, warned in late January that prices on some products including orange juice might be set to rise in February amid inclement weather and an end to the annual supplier blackout period across the industry.

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