A new survey from Food Banks Canada states one-in-five Canadians are eating less or skipping meals.
When Jenan Zammar grocery goes shopping, it’s a calculated trip.
“I’m still buying what we need but it’s a lot more expensive obviously,” says Zammar. “I plan for the week. So, Sunday morning I’ll sit down and figure out what we want to have. And then I’ll buy things according to that menu.”
With the increasing cost of food, grabbing extra items isn’t happening too often.
“Obviously if things are too expensive I wont buy it,” says Zammar. “We’ll switch to something else.”
The Food Banks Canada study shows 23 per cent of Canadians are unable to afford a complete diet.
“Millions of Canadians are making really difficult choices around food,” says Kirstine Beardsley, Food Banks Canada CEO. “People are either eating less than they feel that they should have a healthy diet or they’re actually skipping meals.”
And fewer people can afford to donate food.
Food Banks Canada says this summer will be the toughest they have faced in the organization’s 41-year history.
Consumers buying food are using flyer sales, coupons and are willing to shop at several stores for deals.
“I’m not buying less because I still have to eat,” says shopper Doreen Corriveau. “There’s nothing I can do about it. We still have to eat. It’s too bad, but it is what it is.”
“I am cutting back. Definitely cutting back,” says one grocery shopper. “And find myself shopping around at different stores because you can get things cheaper at different stores.”
“I just buy what I need to buy. Check the prices, and that’s it,” says another shopper.
Many shoppers say only the essentials are on their grocery lists now.
“We are less flexible I think now,” says shopper Ifrah Elmi. “Usually you could add something and be like, yeah, whatever, it’s a little more, it’s fine. But now it’s like, I absolutely cannot buy this.”
Inflation, the cost of groceries, and high gas prices have forced some people to use food banks for the first time.