As Canadians adapt to new ways of living during the pandemic, a Statistics Canada report shows that grocery habits have changed as well.
The report — which shows data up to April 11, 2020 — reveals a dramatic spike in spending at Canadian grocery stores during the first three weeks of March.
According to the 52-week comparison, there were noticeable increases in the areas of personal health-care items, bathroom and cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items and baking products.
In Regina, however, some residents say their grocery habits do not agree with the findings of the new report.
Many claim the only habit that changed during the pandemic was the frequency of trips to the store.
“I used to go to the store every week,” said Regina’s Jamie Friesen, who is a mother of three. “Now I’m trying to go every two weeks.”
Another resident, Susan Lauritsen, said she has been spending her time at home learning how to make use of what she already has in the pantry.
“I’m trying to find new recipes online,” she said, “so I can use what I have at home, not, ‘Oh I need this one ingredient, I’ll just go to the store and grab it.’”
Besides the number of trips, residents claim their time spent inside the stores has also diminished.
“I browse less now,” said Lauritson.
Less time spent in-store means less temptation for non-essential items, according to shopper Brad Sinclair.
“I’m buying less of the frilly stuff,” said Sinclair of his shorter shopping trips. “Like candy, and things we don’t really need.”
Although Sinclair has opted to skip the sweets, the Statistics Canada report shows that the pandemic did not sway Canadians from purchasing Easter chocolate this year. Sales for the sweet treat rivaled those from 2019.
Additionally, while sales for traditional Easter ham were down 13 per cent this year, this number was offset by the 19 per cent increase for fresh or frozen turkey.
With many Canadians celebrating Easter in smaller numbers than normal, sales for flowers also drastically fell 47 per cent in the week before the 2020 holiday compared to last year.
Increased sales were also seen nationally in March for some non-essential items such as coffee filters, beauty supplies, and family planning products.
Sales for the month of April point to signs that national grocery habits may be normalizing in the near future.