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Food Prices in Canada by Province

Written by Stephen Hoenig
No matter where you live in Canada, you’ve probably noticed that there’s been a major increase in the cost of groceries. That said, the cost of different items will vary based on where you live. The further away from the infrastructure that you are, the more expensive your groceries are likely to be.
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    Even though the cost of housing is much lower in these places, you’re likely to feel the hit to your bank account with the increased cost of living. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the costs of groceries for the average Canadian throughout the country. 

    Cost of Food Per Month in Canada

    Every year, the cost of food seems to be getting higher and higher. In 2022, the average monthly cost of food for the average Canadian household was $1,065.60. In 2023, the average cost for the same amount of groceries is $1,357.37. That’s almost $300 per month or $3,600 per year more for average food prices in Canada. 

    Whether you’re a single person or shopping for a family of four, the average monthly costs of groceries are significantly higher than last year. The average price of individual items has risen between 5% and 7%, making it harder than ever to make ends meet on the average salary. 

    Why do grocery costs keep increasing? Well, that has a lot to do with inflation. Normally, inflation sits at around 2% per year; however, in 2022, inflation rose to around 8.1%. Not only did that increase the price of goods dramatically, but we are still seeing that influence even as the inflation rate decreases. 

    Highest Food Prices Per Province

    Even though the price of groceries has increased overall, there are certain foods that are priced higher than others. Let’s take a look at some staples in Canada and see what province they cost the most, according to Statistics Canada. These prices are taken from a wide range of food and beverage stores. Depending on what Canadian city you shop in, the prices can be a bit higher or lower than what they’re depicted to be in your province. 

    FoodProvince Cost
    Milk 4LPEI$8.07
    A Dozen EggsBC$5.37
    1L CreamNewfoundland and Labrador $6.03
    500-gram YogurtNewfoundland and Labrador $4.00
    Butter 454 gramsQuebec$6.72
    Romaine LettucePEI$3.21
    While Bread 675 gramsQuebec$4.37
    Pasta Sauce 650 MLQuebec$3.72

    These numbers are bound to fluctuate, but you can see the highest prices on some basic food costs. 

    Food Prices in Canada per Province

    When it comes to looking at the overall prices of food, let’s look at some of the basic costs throughout the country. Buying food can be costly for Canadian shoppers, so it’s interesting to see the difference between each province and how it affects how much Canadians spend monthly on food. 

    ProvinceGround BeefCanned SoupPeanut ButterCoffeePastaCarrotsSalmonChicken Breast
    BC$11.38/kg$2.06/284ml$6.44/1kg$7.10/340g$3.57/500g$2.15/ 1.36kg$27.06/kg$15.84/kg
    New Brunswick$11.53/kg$1.89/284ml$6.37/1kg$7.44/340g$3.61/500g$4.33/1.36kg$26.13/kg$13.64/kg
    Newfoundland & Labrador$11.34/kg$1.73/284ml$6.29/1kg$8.05/340g$3.53/500g$4.57/1.36kg$28.03/kg$15.21/kg
    Nova Scotia$11.68/kg$1.84/284ml$6.28/1kg$8.00/340g$3.72/500g$4.14/1.36kg$27.90/kg$13.64/kg

    While these are just a few examples of how the prices vary in Canadian dollars. You can see that some provinces have way higher food costs than others.  We didn’t even include costs like toilet paper, householder cleaners or detergent. These big-ticket items also have prices that vary through different Canadian cities and provinces. 

    The Most Expensive Province in Canada for Food

    If we look at the different provinces and how their food costs vary, we notice that the province with the highest total cost of food is Ontario. This isn’t entirely surprising since it’s the country's largest province with the highest population. In fact, Toronto is one of the most expensive cities in the country for Canadian families to purchase groceries. 

    Other provinces that are also considered to have higher food prices are:

    • British Columbia
    • Saskatchewan
    • Alberta

    Even though the rest are considered to have the lowest prices, you’ll notice above that they have some of the highest prices on the foods we compared prices off. Honestly, the cost of food will depend on what foods you purchase consistently as well as where you live. Whether you are in Ontario, BC or the prairie provinces, the price of groceries is still higher. This is especially the case in major Canadian cities. 

    Canada’s Food Price Report

    One way economists help predict food costs is through Canada's Food Price Report. This report is created by:

    • Dalhousie University
    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Guelph
    • University of Saskatchewan

    It breaks down the predicted cost of food, what the predicted increases are going to be, and how this impacts different individuals according to their monthly food costs. Throughout the report, they reference situations that many Canadians might be in and other demographics to demonstrate an accurate prediction of the cost of groceries. They reference which items will have the higher cost, differences from one province to another, and how these prices will reflect in major cities. 

    Ways to Save Money on Groceries in Canada

    Even though grocery prices have increased everywhere that doesn’t mean you still can’t save money. Here are a few tips on how to save on your groceries every day. 

    1. Price match: Price matching is an easy way to save without having to shop around. All you have to do is ensure the store you’re shopping at price matches. From there, you can search online flyers to see sales on products you want to buy. You can shop the flyer at the till and get the sale price on the item. It also can prevent you from shopping around at different stores. 
    2. Coupon: Couponing is now easier than ever. You can get product coupons online, or you can find paper coupons in-store. The best time to use a coupon is when the product is on sale. This way, you can get the most savings. 
    3. Meal plan: Planning your weekly meals before you go shopping can help you narrow down your list to only the items you need. This helps to avoid overbuying and then throwing out food you don’t use. 
    4. Write a Grocery List: Going into a grocery store with a list can help you remember everything you need and avoid overbuying. It also keeps you on track, so you don’t have to go back to the store for any items you’ve forgotten. 

    Cheapest Grocery Stores in Canada

    All over Canada, you have different grocery stores that provide competitive pricing. These stores are all located in different places in Canada. 

    Grocery StoresLocations
    Pricesmart FoodsBritish Columbia
    WalmartAll Over Canada
    No FrillsAll Over Canada
    Food BasicsOntario, including southern Ontario
    Giant TigerAlberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan
    Maxi Quebec
    FreshcoBritish Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan

    Most Expensive Grocery Stores

    Since grocery stores are highly competitive, there are some stores that are more expensive than the rest. In Canada, these stores are:

    • Thrifty Foods
    • Sobeys
    • Metro
    • Safeway 
    • Longos

    That said, there are some products that you can only get at these stores, which is why many people choose to shop there. 

    Other Options for Buying Groceries

    Instead of doing all of your shopping at traditional grocery stores, you can also shop for seasonal products at farmer's markets like:

    • Halifax Seaport Market
    • Hamilton Farmers Market
    • Lawrence Market

    These are just examples. There are plenty of local farmers markets in all Canadian provinces. You don’t just have to purchase farm fresh produce here, either. You can often get local meats, local cheeses, fresh white bread, and other food items that aren’t found in grocery stores. They don’t always have all of the traditional food categories you would get when grocery shopping in a grocery store, but you can find plenty of quality products while saving money. 

    Final Thoughts

    Food costs in Canada are constantly rising. In fact, Canada is one of the most expensive countries in the world for groceries. Other countries, including the US, seem to spend much less on groceries than we do. While this has a lot to do with inflation, increasing interest rates and high housing costs, it can also be attributed to supply chain issues. No matter where you live, though, there are plenty of ways to spend less money on groceries while still purchasing your favourite items. You just may have to be more mindful when you’re shopping. 

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