Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating about 8 servings of vegetables a day, which is a lofty goal if you happen to have been in a grocery store recently.
Food prices are on the rise, and a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute found that a majority of Canadians (57 per cent) are saying it’s even more difficult to feed their families this year than in 2015. Parents are among the most heavily affected, but people of all income levels report feeling the pinch at the checkout area.
While many of us try to counter these forces by switching to cheaper alternatives or shopping the sales, 40 per cent of the Canadians polled report that they’ve been choosing less healthy options as a result. Others are cutting whole foods from their diet to save some cash, such as meat (61 per cent) and vegetables (42 per cent).
The result is that we’re unwittingly priming ourselves for unhealthy eating habits, which could have a devastating effect on the health care system if changes aren’t made to slow growing costs.
“If a lack of affordability drives large numbers of Canadians to consistently make choices that are detrimental to their health when buying groceries, how far will public health consequences lag behind?” Angus Reid reports.
Obesity, for example, costs Canada anywhere between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity, according to a Senate Report.
And if you think food prices are rising according to inflation, think again. Fresh, whole foods are leading the way to unaffordability. Numbers from StatsCan, for example, show that the cost of a 1 kg sirloin steak went from $17.17 in 2012 to $23.87 in 2016. Celery, meanwhile, almost doubled in price in the same time period, surging from $2.59 per kg to $4.29.
It’s not surprising that Angus Reid reports that 53 per cent of Canadians believe rising food costs are among the top issues facing the country. But whether that means politicians will actually do something about it is an issue that remains to be seen.
Until then, we have a guide on how to save cash at the grocery store right here.