The new year has brought with it a spike in grocery prices. A University of Guelph report, which analyzes several factors to predict yearly food costs, predicts Canadians will spend up to $345 more on groceries in 2016. But there are ways to help neutralize those higher costs.
Why are food prices on the rise? A number of factors are impacting your grocery bill, including a decline in the value of the Canadian dollar (a surprising 81% of all of our fruit and vegetables are imported), the environmental impact on farming and crops, and an increase in public demand for corporate transparency, ethical treatment of animals, and health-focused products, all of which have cost implications.
Eating out is also expected to be more expensive. Wage increases and food procurement changes (issues around animal welfare) may mean costs are passed along to the consumer. Food prices in restaurants are expected to go up 1.5% to 3.5% this year.
Grocery representatives and industry experts have some suggestions and predictions too, including that 2016 will be the “year of the pulses.” Pulses are lentils, chickpeas, dry beans, etc. and Canada is one of the world’s largest growers. They are inexpensive protein alternatives, with a low environmental impact. Other suggestions are to buy seasonally, purchase frozen or canned goods instead, choose recipes that include cheaper cuts of meat, and focus on healthy options rather than expensive treats and junk food.
We at RateHub.ca also suggest you use the tools in your wallet to ease the pain of the higher grocery bill. So, we’ve selected our favourite food-friendly credit cards.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card is one of the best grocery cash back cards, earning you 4% back on your groceries (and on gas). If you apply before Feb. 29, you’ll receive a $100 statement credit after making $500 of net purchases within the first three months (and note, the average monthly grocery bill in Canada is more $500).
SimplyCash Card from American Express
The SimplyCash Card from American Express has an amazing introductory cash-back program, and a great option for those with a lower or moderate yearly income, as you only need an income of $15,000 to be eligible to apply. With this card, you’ll make the most of your cart with 5% back on groceries and dining out for the first six months (or up to a max of $250 cash back) and 1.25% cash back on all other purchases after six months.
BMO CashBack MasterCard
The BMO CashBack MasterCard also has no annual fee and you can earn 1% in CashBack rewards on all purchases. You can also get up to $75 in CashBack rewards if you apply before April 30. Best of all, there are no income eligibility requirements on this card.
So, if your resolution this year is to trim down — and we mean your grocery bill — consider capitalizing on some great rewards to knock that much more off of your food budget.
Flickr: Open Grid Scheduler