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Food Costs are Going to Rise; How will You Deal?

Starting in the summer of last year, Canadians were continually warned about the rising food prices that were about to hit all of our dinner tables. After last year’s severe drought that hit the Midwestern and southern states, wheat and soybean crops were hit especially hard. And not only does that affect things like grains and cereals, but it also has a trickle-down effect that affects other crops as well, such as cattle crops that feed on those grains. And while we may have been saved from the worst last year, it doesn’t mean that the crisis is over. This year, Canadians are going to be facing rising food costs, and they’re going to need to know how to deal with it.

In its Food Price Index released in December, the University of Guelph reported on which foods we can expect to see an increase, and how much of an increase we can expect. These are outlined in the chart below.

Some companies have already begun preparing their customers for these price increases. Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain has already released a statement saying, “We continue to face higher inflationary costs, as well as projected increases in flour and dairy raw material costs. We expect to pass on higher pricing in the first quarter of 2013.”

So how can Canadians protect themselves from those rising costs?

You can do the same things you’ve already been doing to help save money on the cost of food. These include of course, things such as not eating out as much and brown-bagging it to work, as well as stocking your freezer up with make-ahead meals that can just be tossed in the oven to warm on those nights when you really don’t feel like cooking. But there are other things you can do too that might make an even bigger impact.

One of those things is to include a meatless dinner night some night throughout the week. Many of us have grown up with a meat-and-potatoes type of meal; but if you have a vegetarian stir-fry or big salad with (veggie) sandwiches one night, you’ll do your health a favour – and your pocketbook!

To help you save even more money on those meatless dinners, or just your side dishes any night of the week, also start a garden this summer. Carrots, green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and all your other favourite veg is super easy to grow in a garden, and aside from saving money, there’s nothing tastier than fresh veggies from your own garden!

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