The vast majority of Canadians see the price of food increasing faster than their household income, researchers say.

In its end-of-year study, the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, working with Angus Reid, found that 87% of Canadians are concerned about rising food prices.

“Of those earning less than $50k per annum, 92% are concerned about food affordability, while 83% of Canadians earning more than $100k feel food prices are rising faster than their household income. The sentiment of not being able to afford food appears to be widespread across several demographics,” the study says.

Alberta and Quebec tied for the most concerned about food affordability, with 89% of people lacking confidence in their ability to pay for food in 2020.

Just over half of Canadians say they will have to change their habits to save money on food in 2020, with 60% saying they will have to eat at restaurants less.

Dalhousie and Guelph universities, in their recently-released Canada’s Food Price Report 2020, predicted that food prices could increase next year by 4%, or an average of $487 per person.

Overall, Canadians are leaving 2019 feeling less financially secure, with recent studies suggesting many feel increasingly anxious about 2020.

According to one recent poll, 56% of Canadians are worried about a possible recession in 2020. In October, Canada saw its highest number of insolvencies since the 2008 financial crisis, and in November the Canadian economy lost a staggering 71,000 jobs.

As a result of the current economic situation, younger Canadians in particular are finding themselves unable to afford the same things their parents did. A recent survey by tax and audit firm KPMG found that nearly half of millennials think buying a house is a “pipedream” for them.

“The combination of rising house prices, high levels of personal debt and annual incomes that are just a fraction of the cost of buying a home compared with their parents’ generation, is pushing the dream of home ownership out of reach for many millennials,” said KPMG partner Martin Joyce.

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