The Rising Cost of Food
Consumers desire to remain healthy by making the best food choices. Focusing on food value requires strategies to purchase the most nutritious food at the best price.
Canadians feel that food prices are raising faster than their income. Dalhousie University looked nation-wide at Canadian’s perception of affordability of food as well as what we are willing to do to offset the increase in the expense. Canadians were most worried about the rising cost of fresh produce, meat, seafood and poultry.
What Ways do Canadians Expect to Save Money on Food?
- 60% intended to eat less often in restaurants.
- 49% intend to use flyers (search for deals online) or food coupons.
- 48% plan to look for discounts in grocery stores.
- 41% intend to buy in bulk more often.
- 31% intend to eat more plant-based food and less meat.
- 24% plan to visit the freezer aisle more often.
What Strategies May Work Best?
- The Canada Food Guide emphasizes cooking more and consuming less processed and packaged foods. We should be eating in restaurants less, and avoiding Uber Eats, and Skip the Dishes. Ordering out is too easy and tempting especially with our busy schedules. Quality of food may be questionable in terms of greens, fresh fruit, and vegetables vs. pizza, burgers and fries.
- Use Apps to your Advantage: “FLIPP” App will compare prices of items on sale in local grocery stores. Other APPS, “Yummly” and “Mealime” will help with meal planning. When you select from the recipes provided, a grocery list will be populated for you.
- Be cautious of buying in bulk. My preference is to purchase only what I need. It’s not economical when you end up throwing the food items out. You must be aware of what you have purchased and plan to use the items up during your regular meal planning. Often buying in bulk equates to overconsumption by the consumer.
- Meat is most often the highest ticket item in the grocery cart. Intend to eat more plant-based products and less animal protein. Eat vegetarian options more often that you enjoy already i.e., burritos. Modify familiar recipes i.e., vegetarian chili or wraps. Be adventurous, try something new i.e., Daal, or lentil soup.
- When shopping in the freezer isle, frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. When you only cook what you need there is less waste and you do not have to be as concerned about shelf-life. Be cautious of prepared and packaged meals such as meat pies and Lean Cuisine type meals, as they may be high in sodium and fat.
- Another concern is the rising cost of fresh produce. Remember to shop for fruit and vegetables that are in season. Consider frozen produce a nutritious and economical alternative. Shop with an open mind and plan your meals around what is on sale at your local grocery store this week. In the spring think about planning a garden. Even a patio garden can reap a worthwhile harvest.
- Menu planning is the key component to ensure your grocery list reflects your needs. Plan to cook extra, or make the most of your leftovers by incorporating them into another day of the week. Don’t shop when you are hungry. Shop the same store most often and become familiar with the layout. Avoid unnecessary aisles, and focus on your shopping list.
Did You Know?
The % Daily Value on the far right-hand side of the Nutrition Facts food label is very helpful. 5% Daily Value or less is a little. 15% Daily Value or more is a lot. This applies to all nutrients with a % Daily Value. We are looking for low percentage daily values of total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Higher percentage daily values are desirable for such nutrients as fibre, iron, protein, vitamins and minerals.