TORONTO — New figures suggest Canadian milk prices continue to increase, while prices south of the border have decreased.
Field Agent Canada surveyed 20 Canadian cities last month and found domestic milk prices of a one-gallon milk carton all went up by 8.8 per cent compared to the same time last year, while U.S. prices went down by 12 per cent. Increases ranged from 3.7 per cent in Quebec City, Que., to 15.3 per cent in Mississauga, Ont.
“Milk is a household staple and a bellwether product in terms of overall inflation in the food industry,” said Jeff Doucette, general manager of Field Agent Canada.
“Our latest Canadian Fluid Milk Report provides the most comprehensive look at retail milk prices in the Canadian market and at Field Agent Canada we have been tracking fluid milk prices in Canada since 2015.”
Out of the 20 Canadian cities Field Agent Canada studied, it found milk prices are the most expensive in Charlottetown, P.E.I., while the cheapest market for milk was Sudbury, Ont. On-shelf prices have increased based on the adjusted farm gate pricing that was implemented on Feb. 1.
The company also found that milk alternatives made from soy or almonds were actually cheaper in some markets than cow’s milk.
“Silk products were just 10 per cent higher than cow’s milk on average and in some markets, the price of a carton of Silk was actually cheaper than a carton of cow’s milk,” said Doucette. “Are Canadians going to make the switch to plant-based alternatives to save money on their grocery bill?”
Doucette said it is difficult to not recognize that Canada’s milk production is very inefficient when farm prices have increased twice in less than a year, and prices in the United States fall.
“It appears that it is time that we stop protecting small, inefficient Canadian supply chains and start consolidation within the Canadian milk industry so Canadian families can continue to afford to put milk on the table,” he said.