BlackburnNews.com file photo.

Get ready to pay hundreds of dollars more for groceries

A new report by the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University says the average Canadian family will pay another $411 for groceries in 2019.

Canada’s Food Price Report says the most significant cost increase will be for vegetables, which it anticipates will go up between four and six per cent next year.

Overall, grocery bills may go up 3.5 per cent as we pay more for dairy, baked goods, grocery items, and fruit. Only the cost of meat and seafood is expected to go down.

BlackburnNews.com file photo of vegetables. (Photo by Jason Viau)

BlackburnNews.com file photo of vegetables. (Photo by Jason Viau)

The report predicts the average family will spend $12,157 on groceries in the coming year.

The cost of groceries in Ontario rose 2.7 per cent in 2018.

The report blames a variety of factors for the increase including weather trends; drier conditions in North America and more rain in South America, and uncertainty over the new trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico.

“A new Congress in Washington means ambiguity in international commerce for Canadians. Although most are breathing a sigh of relief, our unpredictable relationship with our neighbour to the south, Canada’s largest trading partner, creates many questions about food sectors affected by USMCA [the United States Mexico Canada Agreement].”

The report also tracked the way Canadians are buying their groceries. 62.3 per cent say they visit a grocery store weekly, and 38.1 per cent say they spend up to half an hour shopping for food.

More Canadians are using technology to buy their groceries too. Asked how often do you use self-checkouts, 54.9 per cent said occasionally.

While we have embraced buying other goods for the home online, online grocery shopping still is not mainstream with only 1.9 per cent of respondents saying they buy food online every week. Almost half said they do not and have no plans to try it.