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Food inflation changing the way Canadians buy and eat, according to survey – Montreal

As Quebecers continue to deal with the high cost of food, many say they’ve made adjustments to their eating habits in order to cope.

“I think it’s just harder and harder to afford food,” Oliver Watts said. “Anything I want, I have to look at specials and look at food that’s less expensive.”

A recent consumer survey by Nielsen IQ shows that rising food prices remain the number one concern for Canadians.

Many find themselves spending more on things like fresh produce, meat and dairy, but by the same token, the survey also found that overall, people are buying less food.

“I don’t buy much meat anymore because it’s more expensive,” Georgia Krallis said. “And so I eat a lot of legumes and things that are less expensive. I try to spend the same as I did before, so that means I get less.”

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The survey also found that 43 per cent of Canadians have been sticking to a budget when it comes to spending.

That means that when people are buying food, they are buying differently now.

“People will stay away from the periphery of store a lot more so they’ll basically buy less fresh and also they’ll buy different brands, they’ll probably go for private labels, house labels and of course, they’ll go and visit stores they’ve never visited before, like dollar stores or discount stores,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.

There is a silver lining, however.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that in August, the price of food declined by 0.4 per cent.

“At 6.9 per cent (annual food inflation), it’s the lowest it’s been since February 2022,” Charlebois said. “And now the gap between the general inflation rate and food inflation is now at 2.8 per cent, which is almost half of what it was just two months ago.”

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It’s a reassuring sign, Charlebois says, that food prices will continue to decrease in the months to come.

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Canada’s food fight to stabilize grocery prices

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