Never did I think that I would be spending up to $150 per week to stock my kitchen. Grocery prices after the pandemic have been ruthless towards the City of Toronto, the one segment of the society that suffers from these would be students. On top of that, if you are an international student, it makes it even harder to manage. Increased rent prices, managing your cash flow with four times the tuition fees as compared to a local student and securing fresh food to maintain healthy nutrition.
Statistics Canada report mentions an increase of 9.8 per cent in food prices across the country from a year earlier in Aug. 2022. It was the highest reading witnessed since Aug. 1981. The major sources of proteins meat and dairy saw an increase of 6.5 per cent and seven per cent, respectively. Chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables are a few nutrition sources I rely on that I am able to buy in only limited quantities for a few months now.
A nutrition survey conducted by Public Health Ontario in 2021 reports about 95 per cent of Ontario residents consumed vegetables and fruits, while about 98 per cent consumed protein foods. The majority of respondents in this survey were aged from 18 to 64.
This survey also tells that Ontario residents really like salads and apples! Personally, I am a salad person, which I tend to eat almost every day to fulfill my nutritional needs. Depending on the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Toronto by Numbeo.com, it costs around $5 to $7 for a 40/50 ounce serving (it might be different depending on the ingredients). But if you choose to get a salad from the Humber College Lakeshore Cafeteria it costs $0.59 per ounce and can settle you at $7.25 including tax and $0.50 for the container for a snack-sized salad.
With being the third-largest destination for international students, the country offers a chance for the youth to start fresh while the burden of responsibilities piles up. Along with bearing these expenses and relying on minimum wage jobs, it gets tricky to buy sufficient fruits, vegetables, and proteins to suffice for a week. Considering the daily recommendation of 2,400 calories nutritional intake, the average monthly food expense for a Torontonian settles at a whopping $462.51.
I do not think I would be able to continue to consume fresh fruits and vegetables amid these soaring inflation prices. It does not seem a viable option to spend hundreds of dollars on fresh supplies which can only last me a week. An onset of CPI increase and supply chain issues leaves me with only a few choices of rather buying these lavish groceries or saving money, comfortably affording my monthly rent.