Inflation and price hikes had become a global phenomenon in recent months hitting the lower and middle income classes harder across the world including the developed countries like Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. A new poll found that nearly 60 per cent of Canadians were having a hard time providing enough food for their families. The poll from the Angus Reid Institute, released on Friday, showed that 57 per cent of Canadians reported having a difficult time feeding their family recently, an increase from 36 per cent when the question was last asked in 2019. Inflation played a role in this figure, the report indicated, as Canadians were dealing with the highest level of inflation in 30 years. Data released on Wednesday from Statistics Canada found that items such as cooking oil (41.4 per cent) and white sugar (21.6 per cent) had already seen significant price spikes between December 2020 and December 2021. The Angus Reid Institute also calculated the “Economic Stress Index (ESI),” which combined concern over debt, housing costs, household food costs, a participant’s financial situation compared to the past year and expectant financial situation next year and divided respondents into four categories: thriving, comfortable, uncomfortable and struggling. Using the ESI, the Angus Reid Institute found that a whooping 98 per cent of those struggling found it difficult to feed their families. “For those who are thriving, food costs are manageable, or an afterthought,” the poll states. “For those who are uncomfortable or struggling, putting food on the table can be a substantial challenge.” Those in the struggling category were not very optimistic about their future wealth either, as just 8 per cent indicated that they expected to be in better financial standing this time next year. Overall, 27 per cent of respondents fell into the struggling category, compared to 24 per cent in each of the thriving and comfortable categories, and 25 per cent in the uncomfortable category. The poll also found that 39 per cent of Canadians believe their financial standing worsened in the past year, which marks the highest number of Canadians reporting a worse-off financial situation in the 13 years of tracking from the Angus Reid Institute. According to BBC, prices had also gone up at their fastest rate in nearly 30 years in the United Kingdom. But there was worse to come, experts had warned. Soaring food costs and the energy bill crisis drove inflation to 5.4% in the 12 months to December, up from 5.1% the month before, in another blow to struggling families. The last time inflation was higher was in March 1992, when it was 7.1%. And with gas and electricity costs set to rise further in the spring, analysts predict it will reach that level again. Inflation in the United States rose 7% over 2021, an increase not seen since June 1982, the US Department of Labor said this week. With energy and food prices removed from the equation, the “core” inflation rate in the US was 5.5% in 2021, the greatest rate increase since 1991. High fuel costs and inflationary trends had also worsened the economic situation in countries in European Union and Asia including India, South Korea, Pakistan and Kazakhstan among others. The upsurge in fuel prices precipitated a political crisis in Kazakhstan where people took to the roads to protest against rising inflation.