Food prices: Low income earners struggling to find bargains at grocery stores

The falling Canadian dollar means food costs have soared — and this particularly affects those living on lower incomes.
As the dollar drops, the cost of food is going up, especially some fruits and vegetables. Sudbury resident Larry Castonguay says he is feeling the pinch when he goes grocery shopping. (Samantha Lui/CBC)
Food prices are on the rise and that's affecting food banks. Caroline Lewis with the Salvation Army Food Bank in Sudbury says the high cost of food is leading to fewer donations and more people at her door. 5:43

The falling Canadian dollar means food costs have soared — and that particularly affects those living on lower incomes.

For Sudbury's Larry Castonguay, who told CBC News he usually shops in the reduced price section for groceries, rising food costs have made shopping even more challenging.

"Before, I always bought reduced prices on the vegetables and the fruits, because a lot of people who had good income didn't buy those," he said.

"Now, you gotta be first on the job or else they're gone real quick."

We opened up our phone lines to talk about the high cost of food. We wanted to your thoughts on the rising costs and your tips to keep your grocery bill in check. Joseph Leblanc of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury joined us for that conversation. 17:35

Bridget King of the Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council said the higher prices make it harder for those with lower incomes to pick healthier options.

"[But] when you know you're on a limited income, it's often not just between a broccoli or a loaf of bread," King said.

"It's between paying your phone bill or the heating and food as a whole."

Caroline Lewis of Sudbury's Salvation Army said high food prices also affect food bank donations — and the number of users.  

"The amount that we have to purchase has risen as well," she said.

"We run out of stuff like Kraft Dinner, eggs, milk … beans, soups … those types of items," she explained. "[And] we're seeing more clients every month."

Economists predict the high price of food may worsen, with some analysts predicting the loonie could drop to 59 cents US.

Food prices head higher

The Exchange

5 years ago
Diana Bronson of Food Secure Canada explains the effect of high food costs on low-income families 5:07


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