Extra

How the rising cost of food counts in your shopping cart

Written by Javed Iqbal

It has been going on for months. You get to the bottom of your shopping cart at check-out, go to pay, and then feel the sting of yet another total that is higher than normal.

Food prices rose 9.7 pct. in May compared to the previous year, which corresponds to the increase in April. Almost everything is from meat to fruits and vegetables to pantry items like flour and cooking oil – which rose 30 percent.

Earlier this month, Food Banks Canada released data suggesting that nearly one in four Canadians (23 percent) are “eat less than they think they should“due to inflation.

So what exactly is driving your food bill up? CBC News put together a test cart with 16 regular items to illustrate it – and the price of it has risen by $ 16.25 in the past year.

Here’s how it works:

A graphic of a shopping cart highlighting meat and fish.

If you are thinking of using dairy products to supplement your protein intake, there is bad news on that front. The Canadian Dairy Commission this week approved another price increase of 2.5 per centwhich will drive up the price of milk and goods made from dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt.

The average price of four liters of milk had already risen over the past year from $ 5.50 in April 2021 to $ 6.04 in April 2022.

A graphic of a shopping cart highlighting fruits and vegetables.

Average, fresh fruit costs 10 percent more in April than a year ago, while fresh vegetables rose by 8.2 per cent. in the same period.

The price of frozen vegetables remained relatively stableand even dived a bit in some cases.

A graphic of a shopping cart highlighting cereals and cereals.

Not only did Food Bank Canada studyconducted by Mainstreet Research, finds that 23 percent of respondents say they ate less due to sky-high food costs, but almost as many (19 percent) also said they were hungry but unable to eat , because there was not enough money for food.

“Food is often the first thing people want to cut back on,” Rachael Wilson, CEO of Ottawa Food Bank, told CBC’s Heather Hiscox. “We constantly hear about parents going outside to make sure their families and children have food to eat.”

In March 2021 alone, there were over 1.3 million visits to food banks across Canada – an increase of about 20 percent compared to 2019. And that was a long time before inflation hit.

“We’re seeing more repeat visitors,” Wilson said. “This is not once a month. It’s people who need food regularly during the month because they just can not afford to feed their families. We’ve never seen anything like it in the history of the Ottawa Food Bank.”

A graphic of a shopping cart highlighting pantry items.

One of the main reasons why your basic staples are rising is cooking oil. Edible fats and oils registered that category biggest increase ever at 30 per cent.

Note that there is individual goods that have not experienced an average price increase the past year. These include potatoes and sweet potatoes, which have actually fallen in price.

Bananas are largely unchanged. Lemons are unchanged even though the limes are up. And broccoli is a vegetable that has remained relatively unchanged in price.

SE | Make ends meet when prices rise:

Canadians are forced to make difficult choices while inflation rises

Many Canadians feel the pressure from the high cost of living, forcing some to make difficult choices about where to spend their money.


Mainstreet Research surveyed 4,009 adults using automated telephone interviews from February 25 to March 2. For comparison purposes only, a random sample of the same size would give an error margin of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About the author

Javed Iqbal

Leave a Comment