Shea McInnis used to love to cook.
But higher prices have reduced the graduate student to basic meal planning on a tight budget.
“Now it’s just a matter of what nutrition I can produce with the dollars I have,” said McInnes, who attends Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. “I make a lot of decisions based on whether there’s a sale. The pleasure and joy are gone.”
Food inflation remains stubbornly high in Canada as food prices rose at their fastest rate in more than four decades in the last month.
While headline inflation eased in August, the cost of store-bought groceries rose a staggering 10.8 percent year-on-year.
This is the fastest clip recorded by Statistics Canada since 1981.
Higher prices swept almost every aisle of the grocery store. Even items that were once considered cheap substitutes for more expensive products were not immune to inflation.
For example, frozen and dried vegetables — usually seen as a budget-friendly option — rose 14.1 percent year over year last month, while fresh vegetables rose a more modest 9.3 percent.
A similar trend appeared to be developing in the meat department.
“A few months ago, when beef and pork prices rose significantly, you could substitute chicken for chicken,” said James Orlando, director at TD Economics.
“Now the opposite is happening, where beef and pork price inflation is slowing and chicken prices are rising.”
Some staple foods also recorded significantly higher prices.
Flour prices rose 23.5 percent in August compared to the same month last year, pasta rose 20.7 percent, bread 17.6 percent, eggs 10.9 percent, fresh fruit 13.2 percent and fats and oils 27.7 percent Percent.
The simple potato also achieved double-digit price gains.
Persistently higher prices are prompting Canadians to adopt new shopping habits to save money, according to a new survey released Tuesday.
The survey found that Canadian consumers are shopping more at discount stores, buying cheaper private label products, taking advantage of loyalty programs and perusing weekly flyers for deals.
“Food inflation is continuing and is starting to really determine where and how people buy food,” said Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University and director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, which conducted the survey with Caddle. an online data platform.
The survey also found that nearly a quarter of Canadians have reduced the amount of groceries they have bought in the past year due to high grocery prices.
“Some people are actually buying less groceries,” Charlebois said. “Many Canadians make compromises when it comes to diet.”
To save money, McInnis said he cut back on both treats and healthy foods.
“I used to really enjoy going to the bakery department and buying some cookies or a cake as a treat,” he said. “But now that I’m trying to get as much mileage out of my money as possible, I’ve taken that off.”
He has also stopped eating so much lettuce. The rising cost of vegetables and the risk of spoilage with fresh food doesn’t even make it worth it, he said.
“I definitely made sacrifices at the grocery store to save money,” McInnes said.
Some relief from rising food prices may be on the horizon as cutting input costs eases pressure on food prices.
“With transportation costs and agricultural commodity prices now past their peaks, the trend in food price inflation should moderate towards the end of this year and into 2023,” said Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, in a note to clients.
Michael Medline, President and CEO of Sobeys Inc., said that grocery store inflation may have peaked in Canada last week as price hikes by grocery manufacturers stabilize.
The number and rate of cost increases being passed on to the grocery chain by food suppliers have started to decline in recent weeks, he said during an earnings call.
family food inflation