Bread prices expected to jump in April due to Russian invasion

Prices for bread and bakery items are expected to rise significantly in April due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Find out how much extra you could be paying at the grocery store.

By Mike Visser and Richard Southern

The impact of Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine will soon have a ripple effect on Canadian grocery stores.

Prices are expected to surge in the bakery section beginning in April.

“You could see spikes of 10, 20 per cent for some products that you may buy on a regular basis,” said the director of the Agri-Foods Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.

“Right now already in Canada, you’re seeing manufacturers alerting distributors with memos telling them that bread will cost you more,” Dr. Sylvain Charlebois said.

The invasion is triggering a double whammy of sorts when it comes to global commodity supply. Russia is the world’s top exporter of wheat, while Ukraine is the third leading supplier.

“If you take both countries out of the equation, obviously you’re going to have to address a gap,” said Charlebois.

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Filling that gap would involve boosting wheat growth in other countries using fertilizer, which is also heavily sourced from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, a close ally of Russia that has been supporting the invasion.

“50 per cent of fertilizers used in Canada come from that region, and China as well,” said Charlebois.

“It’s a problem, so we are expecting the global agricultural output to be reduced this year as a result of what’s happening, which is why futures are way, way up,” Charlebois said. “A bushel of wheat is worth over $12 U.S., which is more than 50 per cent more than just two weeks ago.”

Charlebois expects Canadians will start to see the effects of that shortage in April, with the cost of bakery products rising by an average of seven per cent.

“That region exports a lot of really popular commodities like wheat, corn, barley, pulses, sunflower seeds,” said Charlebois.

“It is the breadbasket of Europe and the Middle East,” Charlebois said.

“You’re already hearing from Egypt and Syria that they’re running short of some commodities. It’s quite concerning what’s happening right now. This conflict really is happening at the worst time.”

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