Inflation In Canada Has Driven Some People To Adopt Heartbreaking Money-Saving Tactics

Some Canadians have been skipping meals and taking other drastic measures, a study by Dalhousie University revealed.

Senior Editor
Interior view of a grocery store in Toronto, Ontario.

Interior view of a grocery store in Toronto, Ontario.

A study by Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics Lab and consumer data collector Caddle shows that many shoppers have gone out of their way to save money on food in the face of record inflation in Canada this year. Some have resorted to heartbreaking measures.

The survey reached 5,000 people across the country between September 8 and 10.

23.6% of respondents said they were "cutting back" on their food purchases due to rising costs. While 8.2% said they have changed their diet and 7.1% said they were skipping meals or snacks altogether.

Those figures represent what researchers called the "darker side of compromises being made by consumers."

Other less drastic measures, including changes to shopping patterns, were more common.

Almost a third of Canadians (32.1%) said they've been inspecting weekly store flyers more often, and nearly a quarter (23.9%) have made more frequent use of coupons.

33.7% of respondents admitted to deploying loyalty program points more often to pay for food in the last year.

People also seem to be sourcing their food from cheaper, more diverse — though not necessarily more nutritious — sources. Of survey respondents, 19.1% said they've visited a discount store to buy food in the last year, and 11.5% said they're making more trips to the dollar store for sustenance. Eight percent are going to farmers' markets more often.

Bulk food purchases got more popular for 18% of respondents.

Other Canadians made changes to their purchasing habits — 21% rely more on store brands and 19.7% said they've been buying more food that's about to expire.

Penny-pinching measures have even extended to the home, where 40.6% of respondents said they've tried to waste less food.

"It appears Canadians are proactively seeking different ways to save at the grocery store," Agri-Food Analytics Lab Director Dr. Sylvain Charlebois said in a press release. "Options were always there, but inflation just made many options, like loyalty programs and coupons, more attractive."

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