The cost of groceries in New Brunswick has increased drastically over the past four years.
For people who would normally spend $10,000 a year on groceries, by the end of 2016 they will have spent an additional $320 on the same items.
Katharine Hartnett says she’s notice the increase, and tells Global News it’s changing the way she shops.
“We do spend more money on groceries, and I find it difficult because everything is going up in price — but our salaries,” Harnett said.
Harnett says she’s started to grow her own vegetables in order to keep herself and her family healthy, ensuring they still get nutritious food.
“I’ve planted my own kale, my own zucchini, and my own cucumbers,” Hartnett said.
Foundation Health Centre registered dietitian Jenn Traboulsee says there are some simple ways people can save money that still allow them to eat a balanced meal.
“I hear a lot about the cost of meats and stuff have gone up, but there’s other protein sources out there. So a lot of times I emphasize legumes — which would be like your chickpeas, your lentils and your beans,” Traboulsee said.
Traboulsee says there are some frozen items that can be just as healthy as fresh ones, and are extremely cost effective, specifically frozen or canned vegetables.
“A lot of times those frozen and canned items are picked when they’re ripe, and then they are frozen or canned immediately. So a lot of times they might be more nutrient-dense than actual fresh produce,” Traboulsee said.
She also says that there’s a misconception about fast food being cheaper than healthy food. Items like fast-food cheeseburgers may cost less than a bag of apples from the grocery store, but she says you’re getting more calories and less nutrients.
Traboulsee also suggests that people can go through flyers and find coupons one day and then plan their grocery list based on what items are on-sale. She says it’s important to be organized, and that meal planning will save you money in the long-run.
Another cost-saving option is to purchase weekly grocery boxes.
In many cities, shoppers can find locally grown produce boxes, along with other types of foods such as a variety of meats.
Real Food Connections in Fredericton offers weekly produce boxes for $25.
Locally grown foods are price-stable, says Real Food Connections co-owner and president Levi Lawrence.
“Most of our local producers are pricing their food on what it costs them to grow it, and that’s a very different strategy than at the supermarket level,” Lawrence said.