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Fruit, vegetable costs top Canadians’ 2020 grocery concerns: survey | CTV News

Most Canadians are concerned about rising prices of vegetables, fruit and meat as the cost of basic groceries is expected to go up in 2020, a survey found.

The report, conducted by Angus Reid and released by Dalhousie University, surveyed 1,507 Canadians in early December. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said they’re worried about vegetable prices, with another 60 per cent concerned about the cost of fruit, and 54 per cent concerned about how much they’re paying for meat.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents agreed that food prices are rising faster than their household incomes. The most recent inflation rate, in October, was 1.9 per cent, compared with a 3.7 per cent rise in food prices this year. Vegetable prices alone rose a staggering 12 per cent in 2019.

A report by researchers from Dalhousie and the University of Guelph released earlier this month suggested that, next year, the typical family will pay an extra $487 for food.

Researchers described challenges related to climate change, such as droughts and forest fires, as “the elephant in the room” for 2020 grocery prices.

To save money, it may be time to consider stockpiling the freezer, according to Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab.

“So people, when they’re spending time on the periphery (of the grocery store), they’re exposed to high inflation rates. So the one thing I would recommend … is perhaps to go and visit that freezer aisle once in a while because (in) that freezer aisle, prices don’t fluctuate as much. Those products are somewhat immune to food inflation a little bit,” he said.

Canadians are increasingly concerned about cutting back on food waste too. The top food resolution among Canadians for 2020 was to cut back on waste, with fifty-three per cent of respondents making it a priority, followed by 46 per cent focusing on eating more fruits and vegetable. Another 44 per cent plan to cook more.

Charlebois called those results a surprise.

“We were expecting a different diet or cooking, but the number one choice by Canadians is actually to reduce food waste. And of course, if you reduce food waste, you will save money,” he said.

Shopping habits are set to change, too. Six in 10 respondents said they plan to eat out less – a plan Charlebois said isn’t entirely convinced Canadians will follow through on.

“I’m not sure if that’s going to happen because of our modern lifestyle. We travel, let’s face it, we do go out more,” he said.

The survey also found that 49 per cent of shoppers plan on using more flyers and coupons and looking for discounts, 41 per cent plan to buy in bulk, and another 31 per cent will focus on shopping for plant-based food.

With files from The Canadian Press

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