Sask. college students, Regina Meals Financial institution involved about anticipated hike in meals costs

A new study says food prices are on the way up, meaning it will cost more to eat in the New Year.

That increase is concerning for the Regina Food Bank.

“One of the factors that drives people here is the cost of food,” said Regina Food Bank CEO Steven Compton.

Recently, the number of families looking for support has increased.

“On an average month, we’re responding to 9,000 requests for service,” Compton said. “(That) actually translates into 250 families, on average, each working day.”

The Food Bank is expecting those numbers to climb. According to the report from researchers at Dalhousie and Guelph Universities, an average family should expect to pay $348 more next year for food. Dairy, baked goods, meats and seafood will jump in price by 2 per cent, while vegetables and eating out will cost 4 to 6 per cent more.

“It’s going to create pressure on families to again stretch their pocketbooks,” Compton said. “Unfortunately, one of the things that becomes elastic from expenses in the household that gets stretched out or compromised, it tends to be food.”

Saskatchewan students are also feeling the pressure. According to a study by the University of Saskatchewan, rising tuition and post-secondary costs have created food insecurity for nearly 40 per cent of its students, meaning they don’t feel they have enough money to eat. This will only get worse, researchers say, as food costs continue to rise.

“Especially when things like vegetables and fruits, which tend to be what go up the most in terms of prices,” said Rachel Engler-Stringer, a researcher on the study. “So that makes it even less accessible to buy those foods.”

Researchers say international students, students with children and Indigenous students feel the pinch the most.

“If we want to bring people into our universities and have them actually graduate and go on to contribute to our society and pay all those taxes that we need them to pay in order to fund our government services, then we need to ensure that they can actually get through that without sacrificing their health,” Engler-Stringer said.

Last year, Saskatchewan saw the highest increase in food costs out of all Canadian provinces.

Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Ashley Field

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