Average Cost Of Food For One Person In Canada 2023: $200, $300, or $400?

You’ve 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 2023 edition of Canada’s Food Price Report, the forecasted food expenditure of the average man between 31 and 50 is predicted to be $347 per month. Women of the same age are forecasted to spend $311 per month 

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 2023

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 $16,288.41 on food per year, or $1,357.36 per month. Other family situations are detailed, including older couples and single parents.

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 for 2023

In 2022, the data in Canada’s Food Price report shows that men aged 31 to 50 spent $324.66 per month in food expenditures. For women of the same age, they spent $291.25 per month on average in 2022. This is an increase of a staggering 10.3% over 2021.

The news doesn’t get any better, unfortunately – In 2023, food prices are expected to increase between 5% – 7% in Canada above 2022.

The increase in monthly food expenditures is on par with rises in other facets of Canadian life, namely fuel and energy costs, as well as a staggeringly high inflation rate. 

These price increases started with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted global markets and economies while significantly impacting 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 by 3% – 5% during that time period. 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 relied 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 to buy frozen. 

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

6) 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

Experts agree that food prices won’t settle down anytime soon, and the data from 2022

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.

Photo of author
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.

Check Out These Posts:

24 thoughts on “Average Cost Of Food For One Person In Canada 2023: $200, $300, or $400?”

  1. I live in Alberta and had to go on disability two years ago. I so wish I could still be working. I have $170 left for food each month. I really don’t think I can go on like this much longer.

  2. Came here to compare how well my family spends compared to the average. Good article and the numbers cited make sense. And as expected, the comments section is full of people who struggle with budgeting and are angry that they come in way above average. Our education system simply needs to do a better job of teaching kids how to manage their personal finances.

  3. I think many people are missing that the costs quoted at the top are per person. We are a family of four and budget $1200/month. We may not exactly hit that target but we have analyzed our spending a few times and we’re in that ballpark.

    We rarely order out or dine out.

    When we went through hard times and were on social assistance we survived on far less., about $600/month for groceries. We mostly shopped at Costco as buying in bulk is cheaper. We did get some food from the food bank but they do not provide much and almost no meat.

  4. Our family of 4 actually spends $532 per month on food for all of us. $266 is much more than we spend, and we eat very well, very diversely, and very healthy. We are very conscious about how we spend our money and shop around for best prices. We also shop in bulk and cook almost completely from scratch. The food prices going up are definitely more challenging, takes more planning and some cutting back but we still stick to our budget and eat great! It is definitely harder if you work a lot and buy more prepackaged foods but very possible.

  5. whew. thank goodness I read the comments! I was gobsmacked when I read the article stating 260 per month. maybe only oatmeal and spag for the entire month? I won’t come to this site again. useless info.

  6. There’s no way this math is right. We’re a family of 3, all athletes and big eaters. We eat healthy too and spend about 1500/month in food.

  7. 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.

    • It can be done. I am a single mom with 3 kids under 12. After my divorce I had to get creative with the budget and learn to manage the food budget. Now we spend 115 $/week for the 4 of us so about 460$/month on food for the whole family. At Christmas, I budget about a week extra to get treats, appetizers and such, but otherwise, we eat a lot of veggies, fruits, fish and meat, a bit of bread/pasta/rice. We get cereals if I can get them for less than 3$/box with coupons or sales. For drinks we only do tap water and milk and mio water drops. I buy pasta at dollarama for 1$/package. I buy cans of corn/tomatoes/etc whenever they are on sale for 1$ or 1.50$. Otherwise, it is mainly fresh stuff. I also bake cookies/crumbles or cake for the kids about once a week for treats/snacks for school. We do air pop corn with butter when we want a salty snack or for movie night. It costs almost nothing. It took time to tweak the budget to optimize it and it is not always easy, but it can be done. We eat healthy and nothing goes to waste. If a veggie or meat does not get eaten fast enough, I freeze it to use later in a recipe. Halloween candies last almost the whole year. At the end of each week, the fridge is pretty much empty. Before my divorce, I spent a lot more on food and I also wasted a lot more food.

    • 100 % agree with you Sarah. I would love to see some receipts showing how to feed a person three meals a day, at 2000 healthy calories, for around $10.

  8. 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

    • Yeah for real lol. 266$ a month, what, are they surviving on ketchup pasta and bread or something? Genuinely curious. If this is true they are either hungry all the time or getting some takeout because that is one week’s worth of groceries in my experience

      • Math seems to be bang on for my partner and I (1 adult male and 1 adult female). We spend $300 – $400/month for the two of us but I’m a from-scratch cook, eat meat or fish 4-5 times/wk and other protein sources, e.g., eggs, cheese, legumes, etc the remainder of the week. Lots of carbs and lots of variety and when it comes to eating meat I follow the palm sized rule though I know a lot of people are steak and potato types of eaters who eat huge (to me) amounts of expensive protein and lots of fatty and/or sugary foods.
        The only thing I really miss are the amounts and varieties of cheeses I used to buy.
        Gone are my days of buying little $60-$80 bags of assorted cheeses 🙁

    • Living in Toronto, ft student, I generally eat much less than the average person and am on the slimmer side of slim and not by choice. I prefer to eat healthy and stay away from things that don’t have nutritional value; my only indulgence is nuts! I don’t ever buy extra snacks or junk unless I absolutely have to (company or whatever.)
      To me groceries includes detergent, tp, soaps-you know; all the household basic necessities in addition to food and drinks like coffee/tea. Just very basic household stuff -meaning stuff that I cannot eat -can easily be 200 a month just for me because of the astronomical prices AND insane oppressive taxes on top of that.
      To get very basic food (cans of tuna, soup, minimum meat and veggies and fruits-like twice a month I may eat meat) This could easily be 200-300. I don’t have storage to order costco bulk in my small space even if I wanted to instacart it. I am paying about 400/month and I have the bare min and eat the bare minimum. I cook as much as I can. If I could get what I wanted or needed to be healthy, I would be at 600 /month.


Leave a Comment