Are you feeling the grocery gouge? Well, it’s not just in your head.
A study out of the University of Guelph’s food institute found food prices have outpaced inflation for the fourth year in a row, rising four per cent since 2014. As a result, the average Canadian household spent about $325 more on groceries this year. And the institute is predicting food costs will rise by another four per cent in 2016.
Part of the reason for the problem has been tied to weather (which is driving up the price of lettuce), but it’s also based on the fact that Canada imports much of its food supply.
“Of all the fruits and vegetables we consume, 80 per cent is imported which makes fruits and vegetables highly vulnerable to currency fluctuations,” Co-Author of the Food Price Report, Sylvain Charlebois said.
So where are prices rising the most? Vegetables are king of the gouge, with a price 10 per cent higher than you’d pay in 2014. Fruits and nuts trail behind at nine per cent, while meat rose 5 per cent. Seafood, dairy and grains had more modest gains, so you could save money by stocking your cart full of those items.
The only good news is, restaurants are somewhat comparatively cheaper to eat at this year, given menu costs have only risen by just shy of three per cent. But it looks like you’ll have to eat selectively to really keep your grocery bills down in the future.