Canadian households will be hit by yet more increases in food costs in 2016. Experts are predicting that the increase of food pricing in 2015 will continue into 2016.

The University of Guelph’s Food Institute experts are predicting that Canadian families who were forced to spend an additional $325.00 in 2015 will now have to pay an additional increase of about $345.00 in 2016 for groceries they purchase.

How Much Will Different Foods Increase?

The increases in groceries 2016 vary according to food type. Fruits and vegetables are slated to increase by about 4.5 percent. This increase can be offset by purchasing these foods in-season or in canned or frozen form. Meat prices could go up as much as 3 percent, with seafood following at 2 percent increases.

Dairy and eggs are predicted to have price increases of 2 percent. These increases may begin to moderate by the end of 2016 depending on the financial climate and weather around the world where Canada’s imported food is raised.

This is important because Canada imports up to 81 percent of its vegetables and fruits for consumers.

What Are Pulses?

Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of “pulses”. These are crops such as lentils, chickpeas, beans, and dry peas. These foods are some of the least expensive forms of proteins for people around the world.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has named 2016 the International year of the Pulses. With the world food problems, the emphasis will be on less expensive protein sources such as these pulses because they have been proven to be:

  1. Affordable
  2. Nutritious
  3. A very good source of protein
  4. They have a lower environmental footprint

How Can Canadian Families Offset These Food Price Increases?

Getty Stewart, a home economist in Winnipeg has some suggestions for Canadian families feeling the pinch of higher food prices.

  1. Waste less food. The average Canadian family wastes up to $1,500.00 per year on food purchased, but not eaten. Plan shopping and menus to make the best use of food purchases.
  2. Purchase foods in-season. Don’t buy strawberries in the winter when they are more expensive, purchase oranges, apples, and other more economically prices fruits. Vegetables should also be purchased more in season.
  3. Experiment with recipes using less expensive cuts of meat that use the slow cooker, stewing, braising or marinating.
  4. Try recipes with root vegetables such as squash, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes or beets. Use more pulses in daily cooking.
  5. When fruits and vegetables are too expensive, use the canned or frozen versions in cooking.
  6. Cut down on expensive, over-processed foods such as candy, cookies and other baked goods, salty snacks like chips, fancy coffee, and pop. Instead, spend more food dollars on healthy foods.

When Canadian consumers reduce food waste, it can have a bigger effect than the current inflation does. The major Canadian food chains are paying more for the produce they bring into Canada and they are passing this inflation on to their customers as much as competition will permit.

Inflation and overall food prices are hard to predict because there is no control over world weather and political events.

For more information on groceries 2016 price increases, go to the website.