'It's going to cost you more': The impact of 'shelflation' on your … – CTV News Winnipeg
With the price of food continuing to be high due to inflation, experts are concerned that it is creating a state of ‘shelflation.’
“People are getting less for their money because at the end of the day, they may actually buy a product and they have less time to consume it. And you’re always a day or two away from spoiling things that you’re buying,” said Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the agri-food analytics lab at Dalhousie University.
‘Shelflation’ is when fewer fresh food products are on the shelves and Charlebois said this is a phenomenon that is happening more.
“If you don’t buy the quality that you think you’re buying, it’s going to cost you more," he said.
“Food waste is already a big problem in Canada. So you don’t want to make things worse.”
A food council report at Winnipeg City Hall said single family household food that is thrown out makes up 44 per cent of Winnipeg’s waste.
The report shows this is costing the average Canadian family around $1,100 a year and 50 per cent of the waste is avoidable.
Munther Zeid, the owner and operator of Foodfare, said he tries his best to provide discounts on items that are closing in on their best-before dates.
He said stores have a responsibility to try to lessen the waste as much as possible.
“So if anything is not moving in our store, especially in the meat department, after a couple of days, we reduce the price down, offer a deal to the customers before it starts turning into something that becomes less quality,” said Zeid. “Same with fruits and vegetables. We maintain our shelves at a decent level, we maintain our buying at a decent level to keep everything fresh.”
HOW CONSUMERS CAN COMBAT SHELFLATION
While stores have a responsibility to try and provide the freshest product, Charlebois said consumers can play a role to ensure they are buying the appropriate items and limit what turns into trash.
“At the point of purchase, you really have to look at the product you buy, instead of just grabbing and going,” he said. “People not only buy food at the grocery store, they buy time and so you want to put time on your side by looking at dates as much as possible.”
He also suggests people go the food rescue route, using apps to buy products that are close to their best-before date at a significant discount. The food has to be used right away, but it prevents stores from throwing it out.
“You do buy food that is about to expire or food that was packaged a while ago. But you can save a lot of money too.”
Zeid said people are also becoming more educated about best-before dates, knowing it doesn’t mean the food is going to expire.
“It’s becoming more and more important to people day by day. Once it hits the chequebook and it hits your pocket, and you’re realizing it, people start paying attention to what they’re buying,” said Zeid. “So people are trying to figure out ways to avoid waste.”
Charlebois said the best course of action is to make sure planning takes place before going to the grocery store, which will help limit the chances of wasting food.
The food council report recommends Winnipeg implement a city-wide residential food waste collection program for composting. Results and future recommendations on a program are anticipated shortly following a 2020 green cart pilot project in select neighbourhoods.
The city said the project helped divert 440 thousand kilograms of food from the landfill, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.
– With files from CTV News’ Jeff Keele
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