Statistics Canada says fewer fresh fruits and vegetables were available to Canadians in 2022, due to factors such as ongoing supply chain issues, labour shortages and price increases.

StatCan says the amount of available fresh fruit declined by more than five per cent in 2022 from the previous year, to 72.9 kilograms per person.

Even though there was a 12.7 per cent increase in domestic fruit production, it was not enough to keep up with an increase in exports and a decrease in imports, the agency says in a report released today.

The availability of fresh vegetables - excluding potatoes - was 64.7 kilograms per person in 2022, a decrease of nearly six per cent from 2021.

Just like with fruits, Canada's vegetable production increases in 2022 were not enough to keep up with a rise in exports and a drop in imports, StatCan says.

The agency says some Canadian food industry sectors experienced record production in 2022, but also exported more food internationally than the previous year.

It says the entire industry was affected by pandemic-related supply chain issues, such as shipping delays and shortages of labour and products.

StatCan also cites price increases as one of the factors. Extreme weather, the war in Ukraine and energy costs severely impacted global food prices last year.

Food inflation was stubbornly high in Canada in 2022, outpacing overall inflation. Grocery prices were up 9.8 per cent in 2022 compared with 2021, the fastest pace since 1981.

StatCan's latest report says the amount of milk available to Canadians also decreased by nearly four per cent in 2022, compared to the previous year.

StatCan says that was mainly caused by a drop in production of one per cent milk and two per cent milk.

In contrast, red meat availability increased by 4.3 per cent in 2022, led by beef as cattle slaughter increased from the previous year. The amount of poultry available to Canadians increased by 1.5 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2023.