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A quarter of Canadians have stockpiled food in the last month as grocery prices climb: Nanos survey

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Canadians are buying less expensive food, stockpiling food and even eating less to cope with food prices as inflation soars, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of CTV News, asked more than 1,000 Canadians if their household had used a cost-saving option in the past month in response to the price of food.

The most common answer was buying less expensive food, with six out of 10 Canadians reporting they had done in the past 30 days.

A little more than a quarter of Canadians said they hadn’t changed their food habits at all.

But another quarter said they had stockpiled food that month, and 17 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they were eating less food due to food prices.

Six per cent of respondents said they were actively using coupons or looking for items on sale.

The remaining four options were each selected by one per cent of participants: purchasing less food, going to the food bank, using up items they already had or gardening and foraging for food.

WOMEN MORE LIKELY TO HAVE CHANGED FOOD PURCHASES

When answers were split by men and women, women were much more likely to have changed their food purchasing behaviour than men.

Around 34 per cent of men said they had changed nothing of their food habits, compared to 23 per cent of women. Similarly, 64 per cent of women said they were buying less expensive food compared to around 57 per cent of men who said the same.

However, when the question wasn’t related to purchasing food, the responses from men and women were similar, with 23 per cent of men saying they stockpiled food compared to 26 per cent of women, and 17 per cent of men and women both saying they had eaten less food in the last 30 days.

YOUNG CANADIANS CHANGING THEIR FOOD HABITS MORE

Younger Canadians were also more likely than older Canadians to have changed their behaviour in the last 30 days due to food prices.

More than 70 per cent of those aged 18-34 said they were buying less expensive food, compared to 65 per cent of 35-54 year olds and approximately 51 per cent of those aged 55 plus.

The same trend appeared in reverse when participants were asked if they had done nothing to change their food buying habits, with only 20 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds selecting this option compared to 24.7 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 37 per cent of those aged 55 plus.

Only 13 per cent of adults aged 55 plus reported that they had eaten less food in the last 30 days in response to food prices, compared to 18.5 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 21 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds.

ATLANTIC PROVINCES EATING LESS, QUEBEC STOCKPILING FOOD

In terms of location, there was a four per cent difference between the highest and lowest responses to who was buying less expensive food, with 62 per cent of respondents from Ontario and the Atlantic provinces selecting this option compared to 58 per cent of respondents from Quebec.

Quebec also had one of the highest percentages of respondents who said they had not changed their food habits, with around 31 per cent selecting this option.

Across the board, respondents from Quebec were usually less likely than other regions to report using the various cost-saving options, with 11.5 per cent stating they were currently eating less food to save money. The one exception was in stockpiling food, where the highest percentage of respondents came from Quebec, at 33 per cent.

Those in British Columbia were least likely to stockpile food, with only 21 per cent selecting this.

British Columbia had the highest percentage who said they changed none of their food habits, at roughly 32 per cent.

The Atlantic provinces may have been the hardest hit by inflation in terms of food prices, this survey suggests, with more participants from these regions utilizing these cost-saving options than other regions.

The highest percentage of respondents who said they were eating less came from the Maritimes, with more than one in five participants from this region selecting this option.

Around 29 per cent of respondents from the Atlantic provinces said they were stockpiling food, second only to Quebec.

The Atlantic provinces also had the lowest percentage who had changed none of their food purchasing habits, at only 21 per cent.

METHODOLOGY

Nanos Research is a public opinion research firm.

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,084 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 4 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs.

The margin of error for this survey is ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

Numbers may not add up to 100 due to rounding. 

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