The cost of food in Alberta has risen steadily over the past decade, according to a new report.

Economist Todd Hirsch at ATB Financial analyzed Statistics Canada data on food prices, including common grocery store items and restaurant food.

"It's not just our imagination; those food prices are rising," he said.

  • Hear Alberta @ Noon host Donna McElligott talk to Todd Hirsch about rising food prices. Click on "Listen" above.

Prices are 28 per cent higher today than in 2002, the year in which prices were indexed to 100, with much of the increase coming in the last five years. During that same period, the overall consumer price index for all products increased in Alberta by only 7.9 per cent.

"But of all of the essential items consumers purchase, food prices have shown little relief. In fact, the cost of loading up that cart at the grocery store is rising more than almost anything else we buy," Hirsch writes in his report.

"Part of the reason for rising food prices is the very same reason that has lifted farm income over the past five years …Higher commodity prices for grains, oilseeds and livestock have lifted the input costs for bakers and meat packers. These are in turn passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices at the grocery store or on the restaurant menu."

Statistics Canada tracks the price of food commonly in a grocery store, such as fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh and frozen meat, processed meat, dairy products, eggs, baked goods, and beverages. The agency also looks at food purchased in restaurants.