Food in Canada: How Much Will it Cost to Feed Your Family?

May 30, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Feeding your family in Canada involves understanding various factors influencing food in Canada. Where you live in Canada also matters, as grocery costs vary greatly between provinces and territories. We will also provide insights into seasonal fluctuations, dietary preferences, and smart shopping habits, enabling you to journey confidently through food costs in Canada.

Ready to learn more about food in Canada and how much it will cost to feed your family in the country? Then, join us in uncovering the factors influencing food prices in Canada and learn tips for managing your family’s food costs in Canada.

How Much Will Feeding Your Family in Canada Cost?

A Canadian family's grocery bill is determined by several factors, but here's a national snapshot to get you started.

National Food Costs in Canada

According to Numbeo, the average food costs in Canada per each major food item can be outlined as follows.

Major Grocery Items in Canada Average Cost in Canada (CAD)
1 liter of Regular Milk 2.95
500g of Loaf of Fresh White Bread 3.61
1kg of White Rice 5.04
A dozen (12) of Regular Eggs 4.75
1kg of Local Cheese 15.64
1kg of Chicken Fillets 16.68
1kg Beef Round or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat 19.76
1kg Apples 5.73
1kg Banana 1.95
1kg Oranges 5.19
1kg Tomato 5.68
1kg Potato 3.58
1kg Onion 3.59
1 head of Lettuce 3.54
1.5 liter Water Bottle 2.47

If you have family members who drink or smoke, considering Canada’s excise duty rates, the costs associated with these habits are outlined below, with figures from Numbeo.

Major Excise Grocery Items in Canada Average Cost in Canada (CAD)
Mid-range Bottle of Wine 18.00
0.5 liter bottle of Domestic Beer 4.04
0.33 liter bottle of Imported Beer 4.35
20 pack of Marlboro Cigarettes 19.00

Which Canadian Provinces or Territories Have the Most Affordable Food Costs?

While national averages provide a starting point, grocery costs vary significantly across all Canadian provinces. Here’s a breakdown of the most affordable Canadian provinces about food costs, according to Statistics Canada.

Major Foodstuffs in Canada National Average Cost Average Cost in the Cheapest Province
Ground Beef 10.92 CAD per kg 10.15 CAD kg in Ontario
Vegan/Vegetarian (Meatless) Burgers 6.23 CAD per 226 g 6.01 CAD per 226 g in Prince Edward Island
Bacon with Eggs 7.50 CAD per 500 g 7.15 CAD per 500 g in Newfoundland and Labrador
Milk  6.30 CAD per 4 liter carton 5.39 CAD per 4 liter carton in Manitoba
4.94 CAD per 2 liter carton 4.21 CAD per liter carton in Prince Edward Island
Potatoes 4.37 CAD per 4.54 kg bag 3.63 CAD per 4.54 kg bag in Nova Scotia
Celery  3.64 CAD per unit 3.47 CAD per unit in Quebec
Tomatoes 6.99 CAD per kg 6.74 CAD per kg in Alberta
Frozen Mixed Vegetables 3.41 per 750 g package 3.09 CAD per 750 g package in Saskatchewan
White Bread 3.70 CAD per 675 g loaf 3.11 CAD per 675 g loaf in Ontario

Tips to Save Money on Groceries in Canada

Canadians face a unique challenge in grocery shopping, often higher prices than their southern neighbors. Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to go through the aisles and stretch your grocery budget further. Here are some research-based tips to help you save money on groceries in Canada.

Plan Your Meals And Make a Grocery List

Planning your meals and budgeting a grocery list can greatly reduce your family’s food costs in Canada.

Plan Your Meals

This simple step can significantly reduce impulse purchases and food waste. Dedicate some time each week to plan meals for the upcoming days. Consider factors like dietary needs, seasonal availability, and leftover potential. Use resources like Canada's Food Guide for healthy meal inspiration.

Craft a Comprehensive Grocery List

Create a detailed grocery list once your meals are planned. Include specific quantities to avoid overbuying. Sticking to your list helps you resist tempting in-store promotions that might not align with your meal plan and budget.

Cook at Home More Often

Eating out frequently is a major budget drain. Studies have shown home-cooked meals are healthier and significantly less expensive than restaurant meals. Explore budget-friendly recipes, experiment with different cuisines, and involve your family in cooking to make it a fun and rewarding experience.

Buy in Bulk

While bulk buying can be cost-effective for staples like rice, beans, and lentils, it's crucial to be strategic. Only buy in bulk if your family will use everything before it expires. Consider your storage space and ensure you have a plan to use up the purchased items to avoid spoilage and wasted money.

Consider Generic or Store-Brand Products

Many grocery stores offer generic or store-brand alternatives to name brands. Do a taste test at home to see if you notice a significant difference in quality. Often, the generic option offers comparable quality at a lower price point.

Take Advantage of Sales And Coupons

Most grocery stores offer weekly flyers with sales and coupons. Plan your meals and grocery list around these promotions whenever possible. Mobile apps and websites are also dedicated to grocery coupons and flyers in Canada. Look for apps like Flipp, Checkout51, and Drop that offer digital coupons and cashback rewards on grocery purchases.

Additional things you can do to reduce food costs in Canada include shopping at discount grocery stores for certain items, taking advantage of stores offering price-matching policies, and doing proper food storage and meal planning to reduce food waste significantly.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Feeding Your Family in Canada

The cost of putting food on the table for your family in Canada depends on various interdependent factors. Understanding these influences is crucial for stabilizing your grocery bill and ensuring your family receives a healthy diet. Let's go deeper into the key elements that shape your family’s grocery costs in Canada:

Family Size And Ages

The size of your family greatly impacts your ability to feed your family in Canada, as outlined below.

Number of Eaters

The more people you feed, the higher your grocery bill will be. A family of four requires a larger quantity of food compared to a couple or a single person.

Age Matters

Teenagers and young adults tend to have higher metabolisms and larger appetites, requiring more food than younger children. This directly impacts the quantity of groceries needed and translates to a higher grocery bill.

Family Location in Canada

Your location in Canada can impact your family’s food costs according to the following factors.

Urban vs. Rural Divide

Your family’s location in Canada significantly influences grocery costs. Big cities and remote areas often have higher prices compared to smaller towns. Urban centers have higher operational and transportation costs for grocery stores, while remote locations need more access to fresh produce and other staples due to transportation hurdles.

Provincial Variations

Grocery costs vary considerably across provinces. Generally, Atlantic provinces like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick benefit from proximity to fisheries and local agriculture, leading to lower prices. Conversely, provinces like British Columbia often see higher costs due to reliance on imported produce.

Family Eating Habits

Your family's eating habits also affect how much you will spend on food costs in Canada.

Home Cooking vs. Eating Out

The frequency of eating out significantly impacts your grocery spending. Dining out is a budget drain compared to preparing meals at home. Planning meals and preparing food in bulk can lead to substantial savings.

Processed vs. Fresh Choices

Convenience often comes at a premium. Opting for fresh produce and whole grains over pre-packaged and processed foods can be more affordable in the long run, even though it may require more preparation time. Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally less expensive than pre-cut or pre-washed options.

Food Waste Warrior

Improper planning and impulse purchases can lead to significant food waste, translating to wasted money. Planning meals, creating grocery lists, and sticking to them can significantly reduce food waste and save money.

Family Dietary Needs

Allergies, intolerances, and specific dietary needs can significantly increase grocery costs. Organic produce, gluten-free alternatives, and allergy-friendly options often carry a price premium compared to conventional options. While plant-based proteins like beans and lentils can be budget-friendly, organic options or meat substitutes can elevate costs.

Canada’s Seasonal Fluctuations in Food Prices

Canada’s seasons affect which type of food is grown at any given time and how much of that food item is grown, influencing families' food costs in Canada.

Seasonal Availability

Produce is generally more affordable when it's in season. Strawberries in December will likely be more expensive than those readily available in July. Consider incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into your meal plans to take advantage of their lower prices and higher nutritional value.

Weather Events

Droughts, floods, and other weather events can disrupt crop yields and increase food prices for specific items. For example, a major frost in Florida could significantly impact the price of oranges across Canada


What Are Some Common Food Items Increasing in Price?

Common food items increasing in price include fresh produce, meat, and dairy products due to supply chain disruptions, inflation, and environmental challenges impacting agriculture.

How Can I Ensure My Family's Nutritional Needs Are Met While Sticking to a Budget?

You can ensure your family's nutritional needs are met while sticking to a budget by prioritizing whole, nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains and planning meals to minimize food waste and maximize nutritional value.

How Much Do Canadians Typically Spend on Food Per Month?

Yes, government programs and resources are available to assist families with food costs in Canada. Programs such as the Canada Child Benefit and the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) provide financial assistance to eligible families to help cover the cost of groceries.