How Canadians do their shopping while trying to stay healthy | ETN News

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It’s peach season in British Columbia and a pile of the delicious fruit from the Okanagan Valley lies outside a market on Davie Street in Vancouver. Grab three to snack on this week and at $8.80 per kilogram you’re looking at $4.39 for your fresh fruit.

The price of fresh fruit was 11.8 percent higher in July than a year earlier Statistics Canada. Other products were even higher, such as eggs (15.8 percent) and bakery products (13.6 percent). Taking into account the high prices of almost all other living costs, more than half of Canadians responded to a recent Angus Reid Institute Survey said they are struggling to cover the cost.

Tracy Frimpong, a registered dietitian in Toronto, says there are ways to make nutritious choices while trying to make ends meet.

The most important thing, she told ETN News, is to make decisions “that work for you and that you enjoy.”

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ETN News followers on Instagram shared some of the ways they are cutting their grocery bills while still putting nutritious meals on the table.

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Reach for the canned food

One follower said canned food is the way to beat supermarket sticker shock — it lasts much longer than fresh produce and often involves less waste.

Frimpong says it’s a myth that canned foods are less healthy than fresh, describing canned fish in particular as “one of the healthiest foods out there.”

While many canned products can be preserved with sodium or sugar, a concern for those with certain dietary restrictions, she says there are usually options to meet those needs, including products that are preserved only in water.

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She also recommends buying in bulk.

“A good pantry helps you make healthier decisions,” she said. “That way you won’t be tempted to eat outside.”

Beating the high cost of beef

Rita Rhammaz, an Instagram follower in Halifax, has teamed up with a group of four or five families to buy beef in bulk, a whole cow in fact, from a local butcher.

She says the last time they ordered beef, it cost about $1,600, or $400 per family. It’s butchered into the cuts they like—from steaks to ground beef—packaged individually and delivered to their door.

She knows $400 sounds like a lot to pay up front, but says her freezer is stocked “at least four months.” Her family of five eats beef three times a week, even more during barbecue season.

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She estimates it works out to about $5.50 per pound, or $12.10 per kilogram — much cheaper than what it costs at most stores.

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Combating high grocery costs due to inflation

Tamara Kuly, a mother of two in Winnipeg, shares how her family’s groceries nearly doubled and how they had to adjust their habits to stay within budget.

Hunting for deals

Some people hunt for these deals by going from store to store, but Alison Stewart of Strathroy, Ontario, recommends an app called Flashfood.

It warns users of discounted items for quick sale at select grocery stores across the country, from $5 boxes of produce to packages of meat, milk and baked goods selling for half price or less.

“This year I’ve already saved over $275,” Stewart said.

Photos of steaks, burgers, a bag of milk, and boxes of fruits and vegetables with prices below each image.
The Flashfood app shows food marked for clearance, at a supermarket in Strathroy, Ontario, for sale at a significantly lower price on Wednesday. (flash food)

Quality can be “hit and miss,” she said, especially when it comes to items that mature quickly, but says it just takes simple planning to use those items quickly.

Frimpong says a product “still has its nutritional value” toward the end of its shelf life, but reminds people not to buy anything they’re not going to eat.

Cut meals to save costs

Susan Praseuth of Burnaby, BC, suggests cutting out one meal each day.

She said it has always been a bargain buyer, but over the past year became interested in the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting — such as eating only for a certain time of the day or week, and reducing calorie intake.

Praseuth says this may not work for everyone, but says that not only does she feel better, she also saves $100-200 a month on groceries.

Frimpong says people considering cutting out meals to cut spending should make sure what they eat is “optimized” for their nutritional needs. .

“That way you feel full all day and you don’t feel like you have to sacrifice,” she said.

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Canadians paid 9.7 percent more for groceries in April compared to a year earlier, the highest food inflation in Canada in 41 years. There are many reasons: inflation throughout the economy, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. But while consumers struggle, giant food companies are making money. According to an Oxfam report, the pandemic created 62 new food billionaires around the world. Phoebe Stephens, a postdoctoral researcher in global development studies at the University of Toronto, tells us why she thinks the high concentrations of companies in the Canadian food supply chain are a key part of the problem.

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