Wednesday, 07 December 2016 14:06

Razor-thin budgets hit once more with news of higher food prices in 2017

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Canadians can expect to pay on the average three to five per cent more for food in 2017, which is an increase of as much as $420 for the average family on an annual basis.


That according to the Dalhousie University’s 7th Annual edition of Canada’s Food Price Report where the distinguished Nova Scotia University gets “expertise” from four departments including computer science, management, science and agriculture.
The increase is due to both higher grocery prices and restaurant prices. In Alberta, there will be an increase, but lower than the rest of the country’s increase in part “due to a weaker economy” while Saskatchewan prices should remain relatively stagnant. The biggest jump in cost will be in vegetables, meats, fish and seafood (four to six per cent). The lowest increases will be in cereals and bakery (zero to two per cent).
With the cost of a lot of ordinary day-to-day expenditures increasing while many people are still under or unemployed, one of the areas which may come under attack is food quality.
There are a lot of problems which can be result from this increase in food costs.
The temptation will be high as we muddle through the tough daily grind, that when the price of quality food goes up, we may turn to lower quality cheaply-made or highly-processed options. These are sometimes not as nutritious options, but they do stretch ever-decreasing monthly budgets.
Restaurants which serve quality food won’t be as busy and the fast food establishments will inevitably be the benefactors.
Because of the introduction of a new carbon tax by Premier Rachel Notley, which will increase input costs for Alberta farmers, there will be rebate cheques sent out to some of those families of lower income to help offset those increases. For what it’s worth the Wildrose Party stated Dec. Dec. 7 “When the carbon tax is fully implemented, it will cost the average Alberta household over $2,500 per year.”
Herein lies the biggest adjustment for Alberta families: attitude and a commitment to budgeting and planning. There has to be a commitment by consumers to eat healthy.
Six out of 10 Albertans in 2015 were found by the Health Quality Council of Alberta to be overweight or obese. Further, a January 2016 National Post story pointed to an Australian study which indicated those hit economically by the global recession had a 20 per cent higher risk of becoming obese. A 2009 German study found those high-in-debt people were twice as likely to be obese than those financially stable.
Why? Because those people lower their consumption of healthy foods and choose more cheaper, high-calorie foods.
The lesson here is with prices increasing, consumers who are on slim budgets need to ensure they are buying smart. If they don’t, the health costs will outweigh any benefits of buying cheap.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor