Students are concerned as a new Canadian report outlines the rising cost of food since last year
Items like fruit juice lead the increase with a 17.5 per cent jump from last year.

The increase in food costs is becoming a burden for many Canadians, including students who are already grappling with the financial strain of education. According to a recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from Statistics Canada, the cost of food increased by 4.7 per cent while the overall inflation rate rose to 3.4 per cent year-over-year in December. 

Fruit juice topped the list of products experiencing the steepest hike in price, with a staggering 17.5 per cent increase in price from 2023 and a 3.5 per cent increase from November to December 2023. 

Preserved fruit and fruit preparations also spiked in price, with a year-over-year inflation rate of 13.4 per cent in December, marking a 1.9 per cent increase from November. Although fresh fruit prices rose at a slower pace compared to other categories, the report revealed a 4.6 per cent increase: a 0.8 per cent growth since November.

While food prices overall increased in December, some foods experienced a price decrease. The year-over-year prices of lettuce and tomatoes decreased by 21.9 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively.

The rising cost of living is especially burdensome for students, many of whom are already strained under the high expenses associated with education. To learn more about students’ opinions on these escalating expenses, The Medium spoke with the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) students about the rising costs of food in Canada.

Jacob Mazze, a third-year student specializing in digital enterprise management (DEM), expressed concerns about the affordability of groceries for students. “Grocery prices are definitely not affordable for students,” Mazze remarked. “Students already have a lot of things to worry about from housing to studies, so grocery prices being high adds extra stress to students who shouldn’t have to worry about affording food to support their nutrition and health.”

Rio Mcken, also a third-year DEM student, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the substantial impact of soaring food costs on students’ lives. “Canada’s increase in food prices is through the roof,” Mcken said. “I would be lying if I said that Canada’s rising grocery costs aren’t affecting me. On top of other stressors such as tuition costs and housing, I often find myself sacrificing eating nutritious and healthy food for cheaper and less healthy alternatives.”

Hillary Baker, a second-year biology student, emphasized the necessity of affordable, nutritious food options for students. “Grocery prices are not affordable to students, at least not healthy fresh produce or meats,” Baker explained. 

“All processed food is cheaper but not suitable for students to buy 24/7. If [the] UTM Student Union could continue to do their food bank initiatives with fresh produce, it would give students a better opportunity to eat good and healthy food and help save them money, too, so that they may afford tuition or residence or the other costs of university.” 

These students’ voices reflect a growing concern among the student body regarding the affordability and accessibility of nutritious food options amidst rising food costs. 

As prices continue to climb, the ability to afford nutritious meals becomes increasingly precarious for consumers, including students like Mazze, Mcken, and Baker.

Associate News Editor (Volume 50) — Karine is currently completing her bachelor’s degree specializing in Digital Enterprise Management at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2022 as a contributor. She hopes to contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers during her time at The Medium. Her goal is to take her interest in ongoing research within the business and technology field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she enjoys going on walks, FaceTiming her family, and painting sunsets with her friends. Moreover, she passionately pursues the chase of the Aurora Borealis, seeking to experience and capture the breathtaking beauty of these natural light displays. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.


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