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  • Writer's pictureWayne Drury

Food Insecurity – And You Thought You had it Bad!

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

The real story about food costs in the north of Canada.

Every time I hear statistics about inflation and food costs, I shake my head. I wonder where the government is getting their numbers.

Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I believe the way they report their food cost numbers is way off.

Anyone who goes to their local grocery store knows that food costs have exploded way beyond 10%. But that is what we hear from the government, and I have even heard it reported as low as 5.8%.

For 2023, the forecast for an average family of four, including a man (age 31-50), woman (age 31-50), boy (age 14-18), and girl (age 9-13) will spend up to $16,288.41 per year on food, an increase of up to $1,065.60 from what was observed in 2022. That is another 10.7% increase.

What is the impact?

It is not a “simple” issue of going hungry. As healthy food becomes more expensive, people are forced to buy cheaper more calorie-dense alternatives. This has serious health implications, especially for children. There is also an equity factor in food prices. Single-income people, women, the elderly, and people living in Northern communities are much more impacted by these rising costs.”

We think food costs are tough below 60, read what the folks in the north face.

High Northern Food Prices

Not much needs to be said about the Northern food prices below.Other than having worked in the north for almost 10 years, I have no idea how the good folks in the northern communities make a go of it.

To put the increase of 43.8% into perspective, that would add $4,362 to the annual cost of food purchases in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto. Just think of the hue and cry that would take place, and quite rightly so – politicians would take some sort of knee-jerk reaction, but because the present situation is “out of sight, out of mind,” guess what? No action, no reaction, and the communities are working very hard to survive with the worst food insecurity anyone could imagine.

Need for Another Policy Statement?

This is from August 16, 2022: “New Report finds persistently high rates of food insecurity, policy action on inadequate income needed.”[1]Do we need more policy, or across the country, do we need action?

The story remains the same — food insecurity is a significant problem that hasn’t gotten any better, and in fact, it has become worse. There are reports that food bank use has increased by about 20% in the last month alone. More people are going hungry, more people are becoming sick, and more impacts on our healthcare system, all consequences of not taking appropriate action.

[1] PROOF (16 08 22).

Coming to the End

More Canadians, reported to be almost 50% of our population, are having to rely on cheaper, lower-quality food to survive. In the north, the percentage is well beyond that. Food bank visits are way up, and we all must wonder when our politicians will take action to make this stop.

Our health and mental health depend on it.

Sustainable Circular Economy

Vancouver, Canada


Wayne Drury is CEO of Sustainable Circular Economy, a boutique firm in Vancouver, Canada, that helps businesses and First Nation communities to arrive at environmental solutions that are good for the people and the planet and are sustainable based upon a circular economy lens of reuse, repurpose, and recycle. He also has Type II Diabetes and wishes to impart all he has learned to the millions that are living with diabetes too. His goal is to help everyone to have a better life.

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