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Here’s How Canadians Will Change Food Spending Habits in 2022

Woman in grocery store with a mask on and examining tomatoes

New year, new grocery spending habits, right? Given that 2022 is projected to see grocery bills skyrocket upwards of $1,000 annually for the items you normally buy, many Canadians are proactively trying to buck the trend by changing up how they spend on food. 

Recently, Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab shared findings based on a survey reflecting Canadians’ concerns over rising food prices. Nearly 10,000 Canadian adults participated in the survey, which asked them to anticipate prices and consumer behaviour at both grocery stores and restaurants.

See also: Joshna Maharaj on tackling food security, inclusion in Canada’s hospitality industry + more.

The survey followed another recent report that predicted food prices overall will increase between five to seven per cent in 2022, which is building on existing increases in 2021.

Dalhousie’s survey found that majority of Canadians anticipate food prices will rise even higher than seven per cent. This is directly translating to consumers’ spending habits at the grocery store, with many approaching their grocery shopping with a strategy. 

Related: This new food guide could be the key to eating better

Woman with braids trying to choose between different loaves of bread

How Canadians are spending money differently in 2022

  • Majority of Canadians plan to use coupons more often when shopping
  • Just under half of the respondents said they plan to consult grocery store flyers before shopping
  • Just under a third of Canadians also plan to visit different grocery stores than their usual go-tos 
  • Just under a third of all respondents plan to buy in bulk more in 2022
  • More than a quarter said they plan to buy discounted food about to expire 
  • Just under a third of respondents said they plan to cook more themselves and eat more fruits and veggies
  • Canadians also plan to reduce personal food waste by minimizing the amount of food they toss out and by understanding what’s in their fridge and cupboards and by not buying more than they can realistically eat in a timely way

Related: 10 foods that might actually increase your anxiety.

Sylvain Charlebois, professor and scientific director of Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab also said in a press release that grocery stores are paying attention and working to “empower” consumers to be “food rescuers.” 

Regardless of such strategies, the pandemic has seen more Canadians than ever are facing food insecurity, and undoubtedly the price increases will only exacerbate the problem further. 

Cheese and bread

What grocery items will increase in price in 2022?

According to Canada’s 2022 Food Price Report, some food categories will increase more than others. Here are the most significant increases to budget for: 

  • Dairy will cost consumers six to eight per cent more
  • Baked goods will go up five to seven per cent
  • Veggies are expected to go up five to seven per cent, with fruits going up three to five per cent more 
  • Meat and seafood will add two per cent more to your bill
  • Eating out will also cost more, with a predicted increase of up to six to eight per cent in 2022

See also: 10 things restaurant workers want you to remember during the pandemic.


Interestingly, more Canadians were more concerned about the price increase of meat rather than produce, even though the latter is seeing a greater increase; this likely has to do with the fact that meat costs more to begin with, so a two per cent increase may translate to greater costs than an apple or a pepper might. 

Canadians were least concerned with seafood and baked goods price increases, and a whopping 90 per cent of those surveyed shared that food costs are increasing faster than their income. More than 65 per cent said food prices are in fact increasing “much faster” than their income. 

You may also like: These 20 foods will boost your immune system.

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