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Canada’s annual report on food prices going national in 2021


July 8, 2020, Halifax, N.S. – Canada’s annual Food Price Report is going cross-country.

Jointly released by long-time collaborators Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, the 2021 project team will include the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“We’re going national,” says Sylvain Charlebois, senior director at the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie and the report’s lead author. “When we started this project a decade ago, we always wanted to make it fully Canadian and have institutions across the country contribute. We now have four very strong institutions joining forces.

“With COVID-19, it’s going to be challenging to forecast food prices this year, so we need all the help we can get.”

Now in its 11th year, the report research team uses historical data sources, machine-learning algorithms, and predictive analytics tools developed over many years to make predictions about food prices in Canada.

“The report gains national recognition and attention year after year,” says Stuart Smyth, associate professor and University of Saskatchewan’s Agri-food Innovation and Sustainability Enhancement chair. “It’s an exciting opportunity to collaborate and bring our expertise in crop production to the table. Innovation in food is such a fascinating subject – people love food but they fear innovation, so these are conversations that everyday consumers want to have.”

“Our food and resource economics team will include faculty members with expertise in commodity markets and international trade, and students from the masters of food and resource economics program with expertise in econometric analysis,” adds UBC project lead James Vercammen, professor, Food and Economics group with the Faculty of Land and Food systems. “British Columbia’s unique determinants of regional and national food prices will now be emphasized in the report, broadening its scope and accuracy.”

Simon Somogyi, Arrell Chair in the Business of Food, is the University of Guelph project lead.

“It’s an exciting time for this report and the contributions from our new partners will add tremendous value to our endeavours and to the information we can offer consumers,” he says.

Charlebois, meanwhile, is looking forward to the more complete perspective the new partnerships will bring.

“The relationships people have with food across the country are very different. It’s important to capture those different perspectives.”



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