top of page

Why Price Doesn’t Matter For Some People

The rising cost of living is in the news almost daily, though people are never more aware of the situation than when they go for groceries, scan thinning flyers, and partially gas-up a vehicle. The problem is not regional, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, unstable prices in the Canadian market and in other parts of the world have increasingly impacted millions of Canadians. And this inflation is not just an unfortunate coincidence. Rather, it is an indirect result of the pandemic itself.

Higher prices are one of the many negative impacts felt during the pandemic, especially for those with reduced income due to lockdowns, individuals who have lost their jobs, and the working poor.

Canada’s Food Price Report, published annually by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph, indicates that we will be paying more for basics this year and for years to come, but how much more can Canadians afford to pay?

An April 2022 study of adults age 50-plus suggests that as much as 38 percent of Canadians are at or near their threshold when it comes to price. We’re not talking about luxurious products. The research looked at over a dozen everyday items, from milk and peanut butter to toothpaste and shampoo. These are basics that are quickly becoming luxuries for more and more people.

While the price of goods, including food, has been forecast to increase by as much as 30 to 35 percent in 2022, almost one in three people (29%) surveyed said if prices increased by even 5 percent, they would have to change their buying and consumption habits. If prices increase by more than 10 percent, the number of habit-changing consumers grows to 38 percent. Already people are looking for less expensive options and going to more stores in search of savings. Further changes could mean reducing or eliminating some purchases altogether.

Experts warn to expect empty shelves, higher prices and smaller products.