Amid skyrocketing food prices, a recent study reveals that nearly half of Canadians are giving precedence to the cost of their groceries over their nutritional content.
The survey, conducted jointly by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab in Halifax and consumer data firm Caddle, divulged that 45.5% of respondents prioritized financial considerations above their dietary health during grocery shopping. Concurrently, an alarming 63.3% expressed concerns about potential long-term health repercussions due to nutritional compromises.
When questioned about adjustments to their dietary intake due to high food prices, 49.2% confessed to cutting down on their consumption of meat or protein.
“This general concern for their health in view of the mounting food costs is shared by three in every five Canadians,” noted Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab.
Households with higher incomes were less likely to sacrifice nutrition for cost, unsurprisingly. However, balancing finances with dietary needs is increasingly challenging for a growing number of Canadians, noted Charlebois.
Majorities in New Brunswick and Alberta confessed to superseding nutrition with cost at grocery stores. Albertans also expressed the highest concern about the long-term effects of compromising on nutrition due to high food prices at 70%.
Across generational divides, Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, were among the most likely to compromise on nutrition for cost, at nearly 53%. Millennials, who might be raising families, face the greatest pressure, says Charlebois.
As the Thanksgiving holiday looms, Canadians are facing the prospect of higher costs than in previous years. Despite inflation having slowed down recently, the cost of most food items has increased year-over-year as of August.
With food inflation biting, most respondents reported significantly changing their shopping routines, resorting to discount stores, coupons, apps, loyalty programs, and flyers. An almost equal number contemplated growing their own food as a counter-inflation measure.
Approximately 64% considered generic, cheaper brands over known ones to save costs. Furthermore, 59% visited discount stores more frequently over the past year, with close to 50% favoring supermarkets, and about 47% resorting to dollar stores periodically.
Nearly 80% claimed to have considerably cut back on food waste in the past year, reinforcing Canadian homeowners’ efforts to conserve resources and retain the value of their purchases.
The survey, conducted in September encompassing a representative sample of 5521 Canadians, takes into account a margin of error of 2.1%.