Trips to the grocery store are now a cause of frustration for most consumers, given the rising costs at checkout.
“A lot more,” Saint John resident Melanie Burns said, comparing how much she’s paying for groceries to a year ago.
Burns said items like canned chicken, which would previously be a budget item, are even costing more.
“We just try to combine trips to places to reduce gas costs to the grocery trip,” Burns remarked, adding sometimes online shopping can save money.
“It’s hard when you’re in the store. You get distracted by other stuff, and you end up with more stuff in your cart.”
Sentiments felt by Burns are likely shared by the many other Maritimers shocked by price tags at the grocery store.
Inflation data for April indicated Canadians are paying 9.7 per cent more for food purchased from stores compared to the same period last year.
According to Statistics Canada, the increase was the largest since September 1981.
While new strategies to cut grocery bills will do the trick for some families, others have been forced to find alternative ways to put food on the table.
In Saint John, the North End Food Bank has recorded a significant rise in users.
“We actually did our hunger count in March, and we went from 588 to, I think it was 947, so it’s almost double,” said Executive Director Hazel Clarke.
Despite what many believe, said Clarke, the new faces they see are often just normal people trying to make ends meet.
“We’re seeing people that normally wouldn’t ever have come to the food bank, so people who are working and have worked for years. We have people who own their homes who have to come,” Clarke said.
Clarke foresees food security getting worse, referencing the rising cost of fuel and disruptions in the supply chain.
“The food delivery chain is kind of interrupted right now with some of the things going on in the world, and also with a lack of drivers, and sometimes it takes longer for food to get from where it’s produced to here so it also doesn’t last as long.”
It’s Clarke’s hope that anyone who requires the services of the North End Food Bank will not hesitate to use them.