How to cut grocery costs when produce is pricey

You may be eating all of your groceries, but you may be finding that your groceries are eating up more and more of your monthly budget. Food production costs continue to rise and this expense is turned over to you, the consumer.cut grocery costs

A recent study done by the University of Guelph’s Food Institute and Dalhousie University looked at whether or not Canadians had changed their grocery shopping habits to counter rising grocery prices.

The study found:

  • Nearly a quarter of respondents said that they’d cut back on fruits and vegetables because of the expense
  • Two thirds of respondents said that they still ate fruits and vegetables, but chose the least expensive available
  • The most common produce items that were being passed over? Broccoli, lettuce, oranges and apples.
  • 45 per cent of respondents indicated that they were turning to frozen veggies and fruits over fresh as a means to save money

With all indications that food prices will continue to climb, it’s time to rethink your grocery list to cut grocery costs but still make sure that your family is getting the nutrition they need.

“You don’t have to sacrifice your budget for nutrition or vice versa either. It comes down to applying some big picture thinking around your grocery list in terms of your overall eating habits,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“By being aware, educating yourself about nutrition and food alternatives and committing to planning ahead for your food shopping will help you cut grocery costs and you’ll get more bang for your buck from your grocery budget.”

 ‘Tis the season

When it comes to produce, you can automatically save money by shopping for produce that is grown in season and is grown locally. It’s all about supply and demand and how they dictate the prices.

In-season produce will be more plentiful, so the supply is larger, and the prices will be lower. As we head into the summer, think strawberries, cherries and blueberries for lots of nutrition and savings.

Creative strategies

Respondents in the survey said that they were turning more frequently to frozen fruit and veggies to cut costs. This can be a great way to cut costs from your grocery budget. In many cases, frozen is as healthy as fresh.

Many respondents said that they were turning to juice instead. Be careful with this option. While you may get a lot of the vitamins in a glass of juice, you are also getting a lot of added sugar. You may also be missing out on the important fibre that you get from eating the actual fruit or veggie.

Grow your own

The best way to cut down on your produce costs (in the summer anyways)?  Grow your own.

You don’t need vast farm fields to grow your own produce. A little corner in the backyard will do, or if you’re allowed to have a small garden on your balcony, that will work too. It’s all about being creative.

Are you struggling to make ends meet because your expenses keep mounting? Is a pressing debt load the culprit? We can help you get back on track. Contact one of our trained credit counsellors at or visit our free online debt analysis.

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