General News

Rising food prices make it difficult for healthy choices

March 3, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

As the cost of living continues to rise, many residents find it difficult to put basic healthy food on the table, according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s 2022 Nutritious Food Basket Survey.
The survey is used as a tool to monitor food affordability. Conducted annually, the NFB survey measures how much it costs residents in the region to purchase a basic healthy diet.
The 2022 survey showed that it costs $1,159.92 for a family of four – two adults and two children – and $419.00 for a single-person household to buy basic groceries for a month.
For many individuals and families living with lower incomes, the cost of healthy food and rent uses most of their income, and in some cases, all of it.
A family of four with one full-time earner making minimum wage, is spending 66 per cent of their income on food and rent.
“When people have no other option but to cut their food budget to pay for other essential fixed-expenses, they are experiencing household food insecurity,” said Vanessa Hurley, public health nutritionist and registered dietitian. “The struggle to put food on the table is real for many of our residents – one in six households are experiencing some level of food insecurity. Without access to nutritious foods people may begin to experience negative health outcomes that can last a long time and even a lifetime.”
Individuals living with food insecurity are more likely to suffer from poor physical and mental health, diabetes, hypertension, and depression. Children are more likely to develop asthma and mental health conditions.
“What we need are policies and programs at all levels of government that reduce poverty and help people afford basic healthy food and the cost of living,” says Hurley. “This includes increased social assistance rates, jobs that pay a living wage, and more affordable housing options in our communities. We need to reduce household insecurity rates in our communities – it affects us all and we all have a role to play”.

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