Bargain Hunting In Canada

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Bargain hunting is quickly becoming a new national sport as more people look to save money in the face of a recession. But some Canadians may want to check their frugal ways at the grocery-store door - or they could end up paying for it with their health. A new report released yesterday by the Heart and Stroke Foundation reveals that the price of many healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, milk, lean ground beef and brown rice, varies widely in different communities. Although it's widely known that food prices tend to be higher in remote regions and parts of Northern Canada, where food has to be shipped long distances, the report contained some examples of high prices in urban areas and central parts of Canada. For instance, a bag…show more content…
A poll conducted for the foundation found that more than 40 per cent of Canadians have gone, on occasion, without various foods because of cost. More than 80 per cent of those surveyed said they want the government to regulate the price of nutritious food. Beth Abramson, a cardiologist and spokeswoman for the foundation, worries that access to affordable healthy food could become more limited as Canada slips deeper into the economic downturn. "I would look at this as a wake-up call for all of us," Dr. Abramson said yesterday . "This can only potentially get worse. We need to think about what we're putting into our grocery carts." A major source of concern is the fact that while grocery-store staples such as potatoes or apples are expensive in some regions, the cost of chips, pop and other processed foods is fairly low, and stable, across the country. It's a reality that is stoking fears that more people will be forced to dine on less-healthy…show more content…
Mr. Wilkes said the organization has serious concerns about the methodology used by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to compile the national pricing report. The foundation recruited volunteers from 66 communities across Canada and told them to shop at national or regional grocery chains - not discount stores - for food items from the national nutritious food basket, a list federal officials created in the past to measure the accessibility and cost of healthy foods. One of the problems Mr. Wilkes cited is that shoppers avoided discount grocery stores, which offer a wide variety of lower-priced healthy food options. It's also unclear whether shoppers purchased any private-label or no-name brands, which are often cheaper than brand-name products. He also said the number of stores sampled - 66 - seems too small to draw conclusions on a national scale. "We do have concerns about their criteria," Mr. Wilkes said. "There's a danger that Canadians could get the wrong message, for sure." Canada gets failing marks on affordable food report

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