Food prices rise as dollar slides
Josh Crabb, CTV Winnipeg
Published Wednesday, January 13, 2016 2:30PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 13, 2016 8:47PM CST
As the value of the Canadian dollar slides, the price of your food bill continues to climb.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for consumers experiencing sticker shock at grocery stores -- especially in the produce aisle.
While it may involve a little more work, experts say there are ways to make your food dollar go farther as food prices rise.
The plummeting Loonie has made grocery shopping and staying within a budget more difficult for Bev Ross.
“I have to go to the bank to get a loan to buy produce these days,” said Ross.
Professional home economist Getty Stewart said going to the grocery store can be an “eye-opener” and makes shoppers think harder about how they can put a healthy meal on the table for their family.
“I know I want healthy food, but prices are making it seem like that’s going be impossible, but it’s not,” said Stewart. “I don’t see things changing anytime soon, so people do need to think strategically about their food purchases.”
If your food budget is tight all it requires is some savvy shopping, said Stewart.
With a head of cauliflower selling for around $8.99 in some stores, Stewart said it’s imperative to look for alternatives to fresh produce.
She said one place to start is the frozen food section.
“Fresh kale, which is a great option, we want to get our greens at $2.89, that’s not too bad,” said Stewart. “We can also get this in frozen version, so if you’re using it for smoothies, by all means (choose) the frozen option.”
“You’re actually getting a lot more kale in this product (the frozen version) than you’re getting with the fresh bundles. Or, go for spinach, and frozen spinach is a great healthy alternative, as well.”
Avoid buying fruit that is not in season, because it will usually be more expensive, said Stewart.
If you want to eat berries during the winter, choose the frozen variety, said Stewart.
For proteins, meat prices are also up and Stewart suggests choosing beans and lentils as alternatives.
“These are a great source of protein. It’s the ‘International Year of Pulses,’ so you’ll find lots of recipes online for these, and it’s super affordable,” said Stewart. “I made a butter chickpea recipe and it cost about $5 for feeding the entire family of four with just a few canned products.”
“It can be very affordable, very nutritious and very healthy.”
Looking to the reduced section for products past their expiration date is also an option.
Stewart said salad dressing, for instance, can go for half-price at times and just because the best-before date has expired doesn’t mean it’s not safe to eat.
“Most things, best-before date is a sign of quality, not safety, so most things can. Obviously dairy products, meat products, I wouldn’t go past the best before date, but certainly lots of products can.”