Average Cost Of Food For One Person In Canada 2022: $200, $300, or $400?

Within the past year, you probably noticed a significant increase in the price of groceries during your weekly run.

With food prices soaring, you might be wondering; what is the average cost of food for one person in Canada?

According to the 2021 edition of Canada’s Food Price Report, the average man between 31 and 50 spends around $296.61 per month on groceries. Women of the same age spend $266.13 

The answer and the outlook for the future might surprise you. While groceries have increased, there are still ways you can save on your supermarket trips.

Average Cost of Food Per Family in Canada

The annual food price forecast considered family diversity and included tables showing average annual expenditures.

For example, a family of four, including two parents, a teenage son, and a younger daughter, spends around $13,907.25 on groceries per year. Other family situations are detailed, including older couples and single parents.

Annual Food Expenditure

These numbers only account for families cooking at home. They also don’t consider the need for specialized diets or food delivery services. Consequently, it isn’t necessarily indicative of how most Canadians eat but offers insight into how much typical families pay for groceries each year.

An Increase in Food Prices

The report identified that men aged 31 to 50 expect to pay $169.49 more for food per month than last year. Women of the same age can see an increase of $152.08 per month. The increase in monthly food expenditures is on par with rises in other facets of Canadian life, namely fuel and housing prices, as well as a staggeringly high inflation rate. 

The cause of most of these price increases started with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted global markets and economies while having a significant impact on the food supply chain.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there were border and facility closings, layoffs and limited workforces. Combine this with changes made to enhance safety procedures and time spent sanitizing, and you can see how problematic it was getting food from farmers to consumers.

Monthly food prices increased for families and individuals as their needs did. The pandemic saw many restaurants closing for safety and people working from home. This meant a rise in home-cooked meals and a need for food retail instead of food service.

The report found that overall food prices increased 3%-5%. Meat products, bakery items, and vegetables saw the biggest surges.

Will the Increases End Soon?

Will the Increases End Soon?

Rising food costs are causing grief for many Canadian families. With a rise in countless consumer items and many Canadians struggling financially, is there an end in sight?

Sylvain Charlebois, author and Dalhousie University professor, isn’t so sure. He told Global News, “We don’t expect a break at the grocery store any time soon. This is the highest increase that we’ve ever expected. If farmers are asked to spend more on equipment and COVID-19 cleaning protocols, consumers will eventually have to pay more.”

Most of Canada’s produce comes from California, a state ravaged by wildfires. With significant damage to many of those crops, expect continuing price increases.

Climate change is another factor affecting prices. The historic wildfires weren’t the only significant event causing food chain issues. Droughts throughout the prairies hurt grain crops. Many harvests were smaller than usual, and the shorter supplies affected both humans and the animals who rely on it for their feed.

With extreme weather patterns becoming the norm – expect no relief from soaring prices. Grains, fruits, and vegetables will remain high for the foreseeable future.

Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

It’s common knowledge to budget and never go to the grocery store hungry if you’re looking to save money. However, with significant rises in prices, many consumers need to do much more to make their money go further. Here are some tips to keep costs low, while still enjoying the foods you love.

1) Buy Generic

Sometimes brand-name items taste better. For example, many people swear by certain ketchup or mayo brands. However, many pantry staples like sugar, flour, and certain canned goods aren’t much different than their brand-name counterparts. Substituting just a tiny part of your grocery list with generic items will lead to even more savings.

2) Save on Meats

Meat prices increased substantially in the past year, causing many consumers to experience sticker shock at the grocery store. While you can give up meat entirely and add more vegetables to your diet, that probably isn’t the norm for most families.

To save money on meat products, it’s best to buy larger cuts of cheaper meats. For example, instead of buying a pack of preportioned hamburgers, get ground beef in bulk and make your own patties. Often, many stores will offer a cheaper rate if you purchase in larger amounts. You could use what you need for the week and freeze the rest for another time.

3) Shop with Cash

This one might be tough if you always pay with a credit card. However, leaving your card at home could save you money. Consumers paying with cash are more likely to stick to their grocery list and not add other incidentals to their carts.

Furthermore, this type of shopping makes buyers more aware of prices and forces them to meal plans to stay successful.

4) Buy Less Prepackaged Items

You might need to spend more time chopping, but putting in more time in the kitchen could be worth the extra savings. Prepackaged items are always more expensive than their counterparts. For example, grocery stores offer chopped vegetables for sale at a huge markup. Instead of buying the already prepared diced carrots, peppers, and onions, go for the whole versions of each and do the work yourself.

Yes, it might be more time-consuming, but you’ll notice a change in your grocery budget immediately. With prices steadily climbing, that extra effort in the kitchen can save you money each week.

5) Buy Frozen

If a particular fruit or vegetable isn’t in season, the price skyrockets. While fresh strawberries are delicious in the summer (and affordable), winter berries lack flavour and cost twice as much. The solution for your craving is buying frozen. 

The best part is that frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh ones. In addition, you won’t have waste. You can use what you need and put the rest in the freezer. 

Repurpose Meals

Save money on your weekly grocery list and make your ingredients go further by repurposing meats and vegetables. Roast chicken for dinner one night? Use the leftovers to make a casserole or soup. Not only will this save you money, but it’ll also cut down on your food waste.

Related Reading: How to Save Money on Groceries in Canada

Final Thoughts

Men between the ages of 31 to 50 pay $296.61 per month at the grocery store. Women the same age average $266.13 per month. Both amounts are higher than the previous year, and experts agree that prices won’t settle down anytime soon.

With that in mind, make sure you stick to a budget so you can get the most for your money when you’re at the store. If you’re looking to get serious about budgeting, check out these best budgeting apps.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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5 thoughts on “Average Cost Of Food For One Person In Canada 2022: $200, $300, or $400?”

  1. The tips are sound advice, but troubling if you were doing all of the above to get by before the price inflation. Some Additional options are to stop shopping until you’ve used up the food in your home already, even if you only need 1 ingredient to make your usual fare resist the temptation to go to the store. Thanks to the internet there is much information available about ingredient substitutions and omissions in recipes, as well as new ingredient combinations to help you use up food that’s in your pantry already. Next, if someone in your household has the time making your own flour based goods like bread and tortillas may cut your grocery bill down as well, but this largely depends on your situation as sometimes the dollar per serving for homemade vs pre packaged only varies by a few cents at the grocery store. You would have to factor in increased use of energy utilities to bake the items and potentially to freeze them as well, and factor in any reduction in transportation costs from potentially less needed trips to the store to find out if this makes sense in your situation.

  2. Who on earth did this math ? 266 a month? Try $250 minimum a week. Minimum. If you’re going to post an article about food cost you should probably do some quick math first

    • We spend about 450.00 per week for a family of 6 (1 man 1 women 4 children under 10)
      Groceries are getting extremely frustrating with some grocery stores.
      I find the parent company which owns Sobeys is the worst to exploit profit from their customers.
      Save on foods is rough as well (Mac and cheese case of 12 sale price 14.99 reg price 19.99) who sells max and cheese for 19.99. Lol.
      It’s the stores you shop at that dictate your price


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