The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has declared today Food Freedom Day.

The CFA says it's the date by which Canadian households of average income have generally earned enough money to pay for their entire year's grocery bill. 

President Keith Currie says Food Freedom Day is a celebration by Canadian farmers and ranchers on the basis that we're able to continue to produce food at an affordable rate. 

"The average consumer will have made enough money by this day to pay for their groceries for the rest of the year. But that's pretty special when, six weeks into the year, you've been able to actually raise enough money to pay for your groceries for the rest of the year."

According to the data, Canadians spent 11.1% of their disposable income on food in 2023, which is slightly higher than the 11% of disposable income spent on food in 2022. 

The CFA uses Statistics Canada information on average incomes to calculate the data based on disposable incomes and what items generally go into the grocery cart.

They note that people's buying habits are different right across the country,  but there are certain staples that people buy all the time like dairy products, fruit and vegetables and bread.

Currie points out that despite inflation and increased food prices it's the same date as last year.

"We certainly have seen, you know, interest rates and costs for individual communities go up putting pressure on their incomes. But as much as food may be sneaking up, the price of that is still one of the most affordable countries around the world for buying food. I mean, 11% of your income is spent on food. It's pretty significant cost savings when you can buy relatively cheap food here in Canada."

He adds that while we've seen an increase in prices that increase doesn't make its way back to the producer who has seen a dramatic increase in input costs over the years.

The CFA notes as an example, a recent report from the Agricultural Producer of Saskatchewan showed that if the sole driving factor behind the escalating prices of bread were the increasing costs associated with wheat, the inflation rate for 2022 would have registered at 2%. However, the actual observed inflation for 2022 amounted to a considerably higher 18%.