Opinion | Spooked by rising food prices, Canadians are planning changes to their diets and habits in 2022 – StCatharinesStandard.ca
Since 2022 is (almost) here, it is time to reflect on what has happened this past year and anticipate what lies ahead. Food inflation obviously affected most food categories this year, which is why the last 12 months have been challenging for Canadians, both at the grocery store and at restaurants.
Canada’s Food Price Report 2022, recently issued by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in partnership with Caddle, looked at what Canadians intend to do in the new year, with food and with other aspects of their lives related to food. The report forecasts that the average Canadian family could spend up to $966 more on groceries in 2022, compared to this 2021.
Almost 10,000 Canadians were asked what they expect in both food retail and service over the coming 12 months. The report looked at New Year’s resolutions and how Canadians intend to cope with higher food prices, or if they plan to do different things with food in their lives. The survey first asked Canadians how they think food prices are increasing compared to their household income. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents stated food prices are increasing at a faster pace than their income. That is a high percentage indeed.
With food prices, there is one funny thing happening — these results are interesting since perceptions don’t reflect what is really happening in the grocery stores. For example, even if produce prices this year barely moved, Canadians are still concerned about fluctuating prices for vegetables and fruits, as they were two years ago when prices did go up.
The infamous “cauliflower crisis” is something many remember. When consumers are spooked, it leaves a mark, mentally. Many still believe a head of cauliflower is $8, when most cauliflower this year was sold under $2 a head. Consumers should remember that food prices change almost daily.
Based on the survey, 2022 will bring some changes. A total of 63 per cent of Canadians said they intend to alter their food habits in some way this year. The most popular decision for 2022, cited by 52 per cent of Canadians, is to use coupons more frequently. Given that menu prices will spike, it’s unsurprising that not eating out as often is the second-most popular habit change revealed by the survey — just over half of Canadians intend to avoid restaurants in the new year. Flyers are likely to become more popular as well, as 45 per cent of shoppers intend to consult them more often.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been reports of shoppers visiting or even switching primary grocery stores, as 26 per cent …….