How rising food costs add up to your shopping cart

It’s been happening for months. You go to the bottom of your shopping cart at checkout, go to pay, and then feel the sting of another higher-than-normal total.

food prices rose 9.7 percent in May compared to the previous year, comparable to the increase in April. Just about everything from meats to fruits and vegetables to pantry staples like flour and cooking oil — which are up 30 percent.

Earlier this month, Food Banks Canada released data suggesting that nearly one in four Canadians (23 percent) are “eating less than they think they should” because of inflation.

So what exactly is pushing up your food bill? CBC News has put together a sample cart of 16 common items to illustrate it — and its price has risen by $16.25 in the past year.

Here’s how it adds up:

An image of a shopping cart with meat and fish.

If you’re considering using dairy products to supplement your protein intake, there’s some bad news on that front. The Canadian Dairy Commission this week approved another 2.5 percent price increasecausing the price of milk and products made from dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, to rise.

The average price for four liters of milk had already risen last year from $5.50 in April 2021 to $6.04 in April 2022.

An image of a shopping cart with fruits and vegetables.

Average, fresh fruit costs 10 percent more in April than a year ago, while fresh vegetables rose 8.2 percent in the same period.

The price of frozen vegetables remained relatively stable and in some cases even fell slightly.

An image of a shopping cart with an emphasis on grains and grains.

The Food Bank Canada survey conducted by Mainstreet Research found not only that 23 percent of respondents said they ate less because of rising food costs, but nearly as many (19 percent) said they were hungry but couldn’t eat because there was not enough money for food.

“Food is often the first thing people will cut back on,” Rachael Wilson, CEO of Ottawa Food Bank, told CBC’s Heather Hiscox. “We constantly hear about parents going without to make sure their families and kids have food to eat.”

In March 2021 alone, there were more than 1.3 million visits to food banks across Canada — an increase of about 20 percent compared to 2019. And that was well before inflation hit.

“We’re seeing more repeat visitors,” Wilson said. “This isn’t once a month. These are people who need regular food throughout the month because they just can’t afford to feed their families. We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of the Ottawa Food Bank.”

An image of a shopping cart highlighting inventory items.

One of the main drivers of your staple staples going up is cooking oil. Edible fats and oils registered that category biggest increase ever at 30 percent.

Attention, there are a few items that haven’t seen an average price increase last year. These include potatoes and sweet potatoes, which have even fallen in price.

Bananas have remained virtually unchanged. Lemons are unchanged, but limes are gone. And broccoli is a vegetable that has remained relatively unchanged in price.

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Mainstreet Research surveyed 4,009 adults using computerized telephone interviews from February 25 to March 2. For comparison purposes only, a random sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.