More than just the heat is on the rise for families in Canada and it may be affecting the way your family is eating. Have you noticed that your grocery bill is going up? And is it changing what you buy?
A study from the University of Guelph recently found that fresh produce prices went up almost 12% since last year. Weather in key growing communities is to blame. And unfortunately many families are coping with rising costs by buying less produce. This means fewer Canadians are getting 10 servings of fruit and vegetable a day as recommended by the Canadian Food Guide.
Other than reducing your intake of produce overall, like 26% of Canadians are, there are other strategies for increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, but not breaking the bank with the high cost of groceries.
How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Produce
Buy frozen instead – You may have heard conflicting information about the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables. It is in fact a great choice for getting the nutrients you need at a more affordable price. Frozen fruit and vegetable is picked close to ripeness and flash frozen. This process means the nutrients are preserved. To thaw, leave fruits and vegetables out on the counter or cook them from frozen. Avoid canned fruits and vegetables as cans can contain BPA.
Buy direct – Go straight to the source and find fresh in-season produce at your local farmer’s market, or through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Buying from the farmer means you cut out the middleman. This can reduce yoru cost, and give you access to fresher produce. You are also supporting work in your community, and by getting to know your local farmers you understand where your food comes from.
Buy bulk when fruits and vegetables are in-season – When a particular fruit or vegetable is in season it is often out in abundance and cheapest. Buy in bulk during this time and freeze, or preserve your excess. This will help you always have access to fruit and vegetables throughout the year. You can also visit a local farm for a u-pick program. By picking your own berries, for example, you can get large quantities of the fruit while saving due to your own labour.
Keep these tips in mind when you head to the grocery store. You’ll need them: prices are expected to go up by 4% this year. You can also shred excess costs by re-considering the treats you really don’t need – like juices, pops and potato chips. Just sayin’.