Grocery bills going up in 2019, according to food report

By Nigel Maxwell
December 11, 2018 - 5:09pm

The average Canadian family can expect to see their food costs go up by over $400, according to the 2019 Canada Food Price Report.

The projections for the yearly report are based on a family of four.

Kayla Papp and her husband live slightly outside Prince Albert, and have six children ranging in age from five to 11 years old. She said she was a bit discouraged when she heard her food costs would be going up more.

"Yeah we were not too excited, we were like 'thank God we have a garden,"' she said.

Papp estimated her monthly grocery bill in recent months was over $800. In order to save on some costs, the family prepares a lot of meals in advance using their slow cooker and for the past few years the family has been growing a garden. Papp's mother taught her how to can vegetables and store them for the winter. Despite those skills, Papp said they still can't take all the vegetable buying out of their grocery store visits.

"I guess I could start a greenhouse or grow them inside, but things aren't really ready to be picked and eaten until the end of August or mid-September," she said. 

According to the report prepared by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, the cost of vegetables will rise four to six per cent, attributed mostly to this past year's poor harvest and weather. The Executive Director of the Prince Albert Food Bank, Kim Scruby, said they will feel the pinch.

"We get a lot of produce and that sort of thing donated out of local gardens over the summer but there are other times of the year where if we have the resources, we do buy them,"Scruby said, "And if the price goes up we have limited funds to deal with so it means less produce."

Scruby said the food bank's usership has increased 10 per cent, per month, over the past year. With 50 per cent of those eating out of a food hamper being children.

As the holiday season approaches Scruby said the food bank feels more pressure and is in need of non-perishables such as canned fruits and vegetables, rice and canned milk.

"We see a lot of new people come in during the month of December that may not normally use the food bank but as utilities, rent and that sort of thing goes up, you know money is even tighter," he said.


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