The average family of four dished out $15,200 on groceries this year and the cost is expected to rise further by 2023 a new food price index has found. 

Canada’s Food Price Report 2023 produced by Dalhousie University researchers in association with Saskatchewan and British Columbia, revealed that on average the price of food spiked by 7% in all categories. 

“To say that it’s been a challenging year for Canadians at the grocery store would be an understatement,” said lead researcher and Director of Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Sylvain Charlebois. 

“Consumers will continue to get smarter about grocery shopping as they navigate through this so-called food inflation storm.”

The report defined an average family of four as consisting of a 31 to 51 year old man and woman, a boy aged 14 to 18 and a girl aged 9 to 13. By next year, the same family will spend an estimated $16,200, or $1,000 more on basic necessities. 

The highest expected increase will be experienced by vegetables which are predicted to go up by 6% to 8% next year. Meat, dairy and baked goods are expected to spike by up to 7%.

To deal with skyrocketing prices, Canadians are turning to cheaper alternatives than they would usually purchase. 

According to the survey, 47% of people have reported opting for value brands to combat inflation.

“It is important to understand that as healthy food becomes more expensive, people are forced to buy cheaper, more calorie dense alternatives,” said research coordinator Janet Music in a statement.

“This has health implications, especially for children. There is an equity factor to food prices. Single income people, women, the elderly, and people living in Northern communities are much more impacted by these rising costs.”

Food banks across the country have seen a massive uptick in new patrons struggling to deal with the high costs of food. 

Last month, the Mississauga Food Bank reported a 60% spike in new clients compared to before the pandemic. A total of 30,000 people have accessed their services this year, compared to only 19,000 before Covid-19 hit Canada.