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Vancouver Island facing highest monthly cost for nutritious food in B.C.

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Everyone is experiencing sticker shock at the grocery store these days, and a new report is putting a dollar figure on how much it’s costing families, per month, to eat healthy.

A new report from the BC Centre for Disease Control outlined how much it costs a family of four to maintain a healthy, balanced diet per month in the province.

Data from May 2022 showed it cost the average B.C. family $1,263 a month.

On Vancouver Island, we’re paying more, $1,366 per month.

Cindy Taylor does all the grocery shopping for her family of four on Vancouver Island and says every trip to the store brings the same reaction.

"Shocked. And it’s kind of like I do the double take, like is that the price for this item?" said Taylor.

Buying healthy for her family has become a challenge.

"It’s a constant battle in my mind at the grocery store. Do I save money or do I buy healthy?" said Taylor.

Economists blame shipping and transportation costs for the grocery price increases.

"The foods that are represented are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and some unsaturated fats," said Charmaine Enns, Vancouver Island medical health officer.

Enns says the high prices are hitting the island’s most vulnerable the hardest.

"The single parent families, households where someone is on disability, lower income households," she said.

The higher costs are leaving them to make some tough decisions that ultimately will effect their overall health.

"On where their money goes, and often it’s not to nutritious food," said Enns.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agra-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, says the question he gets the most is when will food prices come down.

"It’s something we feared last year and it’s happening," he said. "It is not going to happen and so there is a new normal out there."

He recommends shopping around, purchasing produce that is in season or searching out cheaper store brands that could save you a few dollars on your final bill. 

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