Canadians have been hit hard at the grocery store thanks to the falling dollar and the plummeting price of crude oil.
And our grocery spending is not offset by savings at the pumps — click here for more on that.
Every week, it seems, there’s a new item to give shoppers sticker shock. Whether it’s skyrocketing cauliflower or scarce green onions, we’re paying more for fresh produce.
One of the reasons is because most of our produce is imported. The price of fruits and vegetables climbed between 9.1 and 10.1 per cent last year and that is expected to continue rising, according to a report by the Food Institute at the University of Guelph.
The market turmoil is impacting importers, grocers and shoppers. Late this week, it was zucchini and celery, Frank Ferragine said at the Ontario Food Terminal, and other products are also climbing.
What’s going to be expensive at the grocery store next week?
“I haven’t seen peppers or tomatoes at these prices, in, I’d say, ever,” Robert, a buyer for Galati Market, told Ferragine.
“Cauliflower and the lettuces, those are dropping,” he said, meaning consumers will see some relief soon.
“But there’s a shortage on products, especially out of Mexico, due to the weather.”
It’s not just currency and freight. Weather pays a huge part in prices. If there’s low supply, due to poor growing conditions, but the same or even higher demand, prices increase.
That has led many consumers to turn to flyers and other cost-saving measures. Comparison shopping is as big as ever but the way we do it has changed. Apps like Flipp allow customers to see prices right on their phones, and in stores where there is price-matching, products can be seen at the swipe of the screen.
Another popular app is Coupon 51, which gives shoppers money back for buying certain items. However, it’s typically pre-packaged items like dish soap and Minute Rice, not loose produce.
Thinking about heading to Chinatown or other Asian markets? Don’t assume prices are cheaper there.
“It’s hard to say [if they’re cheaper] because they all go to the same source,” Rita DeMontis said.
Shoppers are sharing tips on the Breakfast Toronto website. One person suggested buying the day before a holiday, when a store will be closed, as they’re trying to clear the shelves. Getting creative with leftovers was brought up multiple times, whether it’s converting mashed potatoes to Shepherd’s Pie or using every part of a chicken.
What are your tips? Let us know in the comments.