What You Can Do to Counter 2019's Rising Food Costs
Canadian food prices are rising yet again with an estimated average increase upwards of 3.5 percent, and vegetable costs spiking between 4 and 6 percent.
Canada's 2019 Food Price Report forecasts the average Canadian household will pay over four hundred dollars more next year for the same groceries.
The sectors hit the hardest are all plant-based: vegetables, fruits, and bakery items like dough.
Meat and seafood will actually see a decrease in prices for the first time since the report's inception due to waning interest in animal products. Big dairy will be largely unaffected. And, of course, restaurant prices will increase as per usual.
The study says the increases are attributed to weather changes, a drop in meat consumption, and an increase in vegetable consumption.
And now? Well, these market shifts will further affect consumer behaviour. I mean, I remember when the go-to for getting healthy, saving money, and protecting the planet was to eat less meat. That's just not realistic (or sensible) advice anymore.
The truth is, many households will not be able to afford the advice of yesteryear. We need new strategies. This is what I've come up with so far, but if you have any other ideas, toss them in the comments for the community.
P.S. I know these changes can stir frustration, fear, and worry about the future. They make us feel powerless, and that sucks. Gaining sustainability is the number one way to fight back for ourselves and the planet.
Break up with avocados, mangos, and any other imports that already cost over a dollar a piece
In 2019, these are luxuries. I mean, it's not like they have exclusive essential nutrients. In Canada, we can still live a healthy life without these pricey produce items. Plus, reducing our reliance on imports helps cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Limit dining out
Sorry, but unless you're exceptionally financially secure, you probably need that bistro budget for regular ol' groceries now.
Turn group dinners into potlucks
If you're always the host, you might wonder why you've never done this before. Throwing a potluck means the grocery costs, cooking time, and dish-washing is spread across multiple people rather than one poor soul struggling to do it all while everyone else mingles.
Look at your list
Food is necessary for life, but we can easily forget that when scouring aisles of commercially-processed junk. If your budget needs tightening, remove treat items like baked goods and desserts first. If you want to counter the impact of this increase further, stop buying anything that doesn't directly nourish your family.
Get serious about growing food
If you don't have access to a yard, consider a community garden plot, balcony garden, or indoor option. Find a way. Now more than ever, we need to focus on growing our own food security. If you're new to food gardening, don't worry. There are endless rabbit holes of free information to teach you everything necessary for success.
Gain some basic cooking skills
You don't need to be in the kitchen daily practicing your craft, you just need to know how to cook a handful of healthy meals. From there, you can add your own touch to the recipe and swap costly ingredients for local, in-season, or bulk options.
Actually, gain some basic skills in general
It's depressing how far we've fallen from our self-sufficient ways in the name of convenience and overconsumption. What happened to sewing rips or canning preserves or fixing what's broken instead of tossing? Well, we got super busy, super broke, and super distracted from the true meaning of security. It's time to refocus our attention away from awards and degrees and back to basic life skills that can save us money and return us to our roots.
Show off your new skills and batch cook with friends or family
If you're fortunate enough to have likeminded people around, make the most. Get everyone together, split the recipe costs and steps, and enjoy spending time together while making food to share across multiple households.
Cover image credit: Unsplash