HALIFAX – Chances are, you’ve noticed a big increase in your grocery bill lately, with everything from produce to meat costing more.
In fact, the cost has been fluctuating so much, Chater’s Meat Market in Dartmouth doesn’t even bother displaying the prices anymore. The market says beef and pork prices are stable at the moment, but the price of chicken has been steadily climbing.
George Chater, the owner of Chater’s Meat Market says many foods that would typically be cheaper, are now more expensive.
“I feel bad for the people who have families because normally you can’t afford it if you want to buy a pound of hamburger, we sell it around $4 a pound, so it doesn’t take too much to spend your money,” Chater told Global News.
In June, the Food Counts Halifax Food Assessment report named food insecurity as a growing problem in the Halifax Regional Municipality, with 20% of Haligonians experiencing food insecurity on a regular basis.
Satya Ramen, Community Food Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, says there’s no one specific reason that food prices have been climbing, rather a combination of a lot of different factors, including the price of oil, the low Canadian dollar and intense weather patterns.
“Those who are most affected will be those who are experiencing or vulnerable to food insecurity, so people who either on a regular basis can’t access, or worry about accessing food on a regular basis to have a healthy, active life,” said Ramen.
The high cost of some foods is opening the doors for small businesses who typically can’t compete with larger grocery chains.
“I think most people like to shop local and smaller,” said Christine Intini, Manager at Avery’s Farm Market.
“I’m noticing a lot more people coming in, making comments about the prices of different prices around and how we’re just a little bit cheaper than them.”
Consumers around the Maritimes admit price has a lot to do with what they buy and also where they shop, and many are choosing to shop at local markets and stores to save a buck.
“Avery’s here, I love going in there because you never know, they have stuff on sale and stuff cheaper in there then you can buy at Sobey’s and Superstore. You have to look around though, have a good look.” said Avery’s customer Al Clarke.
“It’s the prices. They are the best. That’s the top of the line, the prices,” shopper Ida O’Donnell said.
As for when prices will start to level out, experts say it’s too early to say.
“Where climate change is introducing really strange and unpredictable weather patterns, I don’t think we can be confident in saying what will happen with the cost of food,” Ramen said.
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