Purchasing power |  Eating well costs $427 more per year

Purchasing power | Eating well costs $427 more per year

Rising food prices have obviously pushed the price of a nutritious grocery basket to new heights. During the last year, you have to pay $427 more per year to eat healthy in Montreal.

Posted on October 11

Stephanie Berube

Stephanie Berube
Press

$1.17 more

For more than 70 years, the Montreal Dietetic Clinic has determined the price of the nutritious food basket. No one will be surprised to learn that eating well is now more expensive in Montreal: you have to pay $1.17 more per person, per day. Total daily bill: $8.90.


PHOTO DAVID VAN DER WEE

Julie Paquette, Executive Director of the Montreal Dispensary

For low-income families, food can now make up 40% of the total budget, or sometimes even more, says Julie Paquette, general manager of the Montreal Dispensary, who specifies that there are no processed products in her standard basket. .

“So you have to have culinary skills,” she says. More than ever.

The basket is evaluated with a scenario in which you cook most of your meals, with fresh ingredients, and excludes cases where there are special dietary needs, such as that of a pregnant woman, in particular. Instead, he has to pay $9.25 a day for food that meets his nutritional needs, according to the Dispensary.

typical basket

If we calculate for a year, a Montreal family of four would have to spend almost $13,000 on groceries, for the basic basket. A jump of 15% from October 2021 to July 2022.

“It’s not surprising and it agrees with what we hear from food banks that can no longer meet demand,” says François Fournier, a researcher at the Observatoire québécois des inequalities, who is participating in a discussion on the subject, this Wednesday, March 12. october. , the day of the presentation of the Report on the Cost of the Nutritional and Economic Basket 2021-2022.

“It is a very important jump and it harms less well-off households even more,” the researcher also points out.

food insecurity

Because François Fournier specifies that it is not only the price of food that has increased: the part of the budget dedicated to rent has also grown in recent months, which makes the choices at the grocery store even more complex, especially when we’re struggling to make ends meet.

Result: “There was a change between people who were in a situation of mild food insecurity towards a moderate or severe situation”, says François Fournier.

Concretely, this means that people who were not sure of the possibility of eating well now have to live with a reduction in the quality or quantity of the food they eat. Or both.

“People are hungry,” says François Fournier.

The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) calculated between March 2020 and March 2022 an increase of 10% to 15% in the level of moderate or severe food insecurity in Quebec.

The end of nonsense…

To meet your nutritional needs, the Clinic has determined 11 food categories, including vegetables, fruits, animal and vegetable proteins.

The Dispensary team went to the field, to the grocery stores, to really look at price fluctuations and product availability. They concluded that foods in 7 of the 11 categories under study increased by more than 10%.

They also wanted to paint a picture that reflected our reality in the kitchen, where most people don’t always prepare everything with each raw ingredient. That’s why we find frozen vegetable mixes, canned applesauce and oatmeal.

Instead, in 2022 less popular foods have been eliminated, such as liver or beans, as well as individually wrapped mortadella and slices of melted cheese with orange, a childhood prerogative of many, but whose nutritional values ​​are less exemplary than the products. in the same categories.

fruit, very expensive

Then you’ll turn to the right pasta dish – a safe bet? Inflation has also hit there, as its price has doubled.

If you decide to cook more to absorb the costs, you’ll also need to rack your brains over some basic ingredients. The price of white flour increased by 225% during the observed period.

The price of fruit, fresh, canned or frozen, increased 41% between October 2021 and July 2022, resulting in fruits and vegetables accounting for more than a third of the health food bill.

Behind these numbers are many ups and downs in the same niche, the Report notes, citing many examples, including fresh fruits and vegetables that are cheaper in season for those grown here.


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