In a study to understand how rising inflation has impacted Canadians, Agri-Food Analytics Lab (AAL) at Dalhousie University found that 23.6 percent of Canadians have cut back on the amount of food they purchased in the past year to make ends meet.
The study, which includes a survey conducted in partnership with Caddle, also noted that 8.2 percent of Canadians have changed their diet to save money while another 7.1 percent have skipped meals to cope with rising food prices.
“A lot of people out there are struggling with higher prices.”
The survey, conducted between Sept. 8 and Sept. 10, involved 5,000 Canadians nationwide who were asked how rising food prices have changed the way they shop for groceries and make dietary compromises.
Food Prices Rise at Fastest Pace Since 1981Of the respondents, 33.7 percent said they were using more loyalty program points to pay for their groceries. A total of 32.1 percent said they were reading weekly flyers much more often than before to snag better deals, while another 23.9 percent said they have turned to using more coupons at grocery stores.
Charlebois said unlike the food inflation that happened four decades ago, which only lasted for just a few months, the current one will stay for a while.
“Food inflation dilemma has been lingering for quite some time,” he said. “In fact, our food inflation has outpaced the general rate for several months now.”
Findings from the survey indicate that Canadians are looking at other places to buy food, including discounters, discount grocery stores, and dollar stores as well.
Almost Expired FoodNew shopping habits include 8 percent of Canadians saying they have changed their primary grocery store where they used to buy most of their food, the report said, and 12.9 percent said they have started visiting more than one store in the last year.
Canadians have also adopted waste reduction and private store labels as part of their strategies to cope with rising food costs, the report said.
A total of 40.6 percent of respondents said they have tried to waste less food compared to a year ago, while 21 percent are now buying more privately labeled food products. Another 18 percent said they are buying food in bulk more often.
“Also, 19.7 percent of Canadians are buying more food that is about to expire,” the report added.
Some have decided to be self-reliant with 15.5 percent of them growing their own food in the past year. Ontario has the highest percentage at 17.4 percent, followed by British Columbia at 16.2 percent, the Atlantic (15.2 percent), Quebec (13.7 percent), and the Prairies (13.1 percent).
“Now we’re seeing Canadians just committing to a different strategy because they know they don’t have much of a choice,” Charlebois said.