In two years, the price of baby cereals increased by 66%, vegetables by 23% and cereal products by 45%. Which means that eating well – and eating enough – now costs $9.68 per day per Quebecer, an increase of 25% in 24 months.
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For a family of four, the monthly cost of food comes to $1,178.11, calculates the Montreal Diet Dispensary, now called Alima. In October 2021, it was $940.57.
Alima does not calculate this price using the basic basket that we are used to. This is the minimum price for a balanced grocery store that covers basic nutritional needs.
Its PPNE – a nutritious and economical shopping basket – consists of 68 foods selected based on their nutritional value, affordability and consumption habits of the Quebec population.
Fresh carrots and onions are available, as well as rice, tofu, tuna, eggs, chicken thighs, ground pork, brick mozzarella, etc.
“In the society we live in, it’s not normal that people don’t have the opportunity to eat enough,” complains Julie Paquette, director of Alima.
Her organization exclusively helps pregnant women in need. In 2022, his team followed 720. In the first 6 months of 2023 alone, Alima’s nutritionists followed 620 women.
“Pregnancy is a key period for both the child and the woman. We cannot afford to tell them to come back to us in 6 months,” emphasizes M.me Package.
In the long term, she said, Quebec will need policy programs that increase the purchasing power of the population when it comes to food.
Although not part of Alima’s clientele, Joanie Clément and Steve Jolicoeur couldn’t agree more.
An elementary school teacher and machinist in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac has been paying $50 to $100 a week for the same shopping cart for 12 months.
“We rarely get by on less than $250 a week. And we don’t do anything crazy,” says Joanie.
He cooks more like everyone else. “Picnic has been popular this summer,” she says with a laugh to explain that the restaurant has become more than just a luxury.
They make their list before they go to the grocery store and stick to it as much as possible.
“From time to time I cook with my best friend. We shop in bulk and cook for both our families. It’s cheaper,” says the mother of two.
Not like everyone else
The situation is critical when it comes to Alima’s ever-growing customer base.
“They ate less, but some of them don’t eat anymore,” assures Julie Paquette.
A $284 per year increase in basic nutritious food per person is just worse news in this context.
In collaboration with Mathieu Boulay
A significant increase
From October 2021 to July 2023
Children’s cereals: + 66%
Cereal products: + 45%
Vegetables: + 23%