Ingredient shortages have been a big detriment to our business: Toronto-based bakery owner
While supply chain issues and higher inflation have already jacked up grocery bills for Canadians, it could soon push up the price of sweet treats or salty snacks from small businesses in the new year, according to foodservice professionals.
“I think every business is going to have to increase their prices,” said Lisa Sanguedolce, owner of Le Dolci, in an interview.
“It’s just hard because you don’t want to price yourself out of the market. People say prices are going to bounce back but I don’t think it’s going to, it will become the norm.”
Sanguedolce said she had to hike prices at her Toronto-based bakery in order to keep up with the soaring cost of basic ingredients like butter, flour and sugar.
Le Dolci used to charge $30 for small cakes but now they’ve increased the price to $40. While their large cakes used to cost $79, they’re now asking $90.
But it’s not just Ontarians that can expect to pay more for their favourite treats in the new year.
Many small business owners across the Canadian food industry are having to raise prices due to the scarce availability of some ingredients.
Sheena Russell, chief executive officer of Made with Local, said she’s struggling to get oats after Canadian farmers had a smaller than usual harvest this year, and after a fire broke out at her supplier’s warehouse in the fall.
“It’s something that we are now trying to figure out because our margins are getting eaten up, it’s like death by a thousand cuts,” said Russell, in an interview.
“We have not increased prices yet but we started talking about it for the first time ever. We’ve sold our products in big grocery stores for the past five years, we’ve never changed them so it’s hard.”
But some businesses might hike their prices more than once in the new year.
Shauna Maclean, co-owner of Humble Pie Kitchen Inc. said she already raised the price of her steak and chicken pies earlier this year to $10.44, from $8.70.
“If we see a significant rise in raw ingredient costs, we will have to pass this along to the consumer again,” said Maclean, in an email.
“We currently purchase local Nova Scotia beef, pork and bacon and we would like to keep our supplier the same. Demand for buying local has increased since the pandemic which is part of the reason costs are going up.”
Sanguedolce said it was a hard decision to raise prices for her loyal, sugar-loving customers but she feels she has no other option to keep up with the total cost it takes to make her cakes.
“A lot of customers were upset when we first increased it and it’s like have you been watching the news? Have you seen just how bad these issues are for businesses right now?” said Sanguedolce.
“We’ve already raised prices for all of our bakery items but we’re going to have to revisit that soon in the new year. I think everyone is just sliding price increases in and customers are either taking it or leaving it since what else can we do at this point?”