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Cost of groceries puts damper on Thanksgiving

According to Dalhousie University food distribution professor Sylvain Charlebois, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner will be a lot more expensive than last year.

“The bird itself is about 18 per cent more,” said Charlebois, who added the price of all groceries continues to be on the rise. “Generally speaking, everything is five to 10 per cent more expensive than last year.”

Charlebois expects to see a dramatic impact on the meals served for Thanksgiving, and for grocery shopping routines in general.

“People are adapting new habits,” he said.

Based on the latest study from the Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics Lab, more than 64 per cent of Canadians in the last 12 months have already altered their shopping habits, 86.4 per cent said they are now more price-conscious, 55.1 per cent are employing cost-saving mechanisms and 79.2 per cent have joined loyalty programs in the past year.

“Groceries in general seem to be crazy right now,” said Dartmouth shopper Mike Shea, who says he will continue to make spending adjustments. “We are trying to do penny-pinching where we can.”

Souls Harbour Rescue Mission CEO Michelle Porter has serious concerns heading into Thanksgiving weekend.

“I woke up this morning and I had this heaviness right away, because the cost of groceries is so high,” Porter said on Wednesday.

Souls Harbour will serve Thanksgiving meals this weekend in Halifax, Bridgewater, Truro, and Lower Sackville -- but it won’t be easy.

“The word we are hearing, is the prices have tripled in a lot of the items,” said Porter.

Porter fears a large swath of people will not be able to afford Thanksgiving dinner and they will have even greater food affordability concerns in the future.

Charlebois also said, more so this year than previous years, people are shopping at discount stores like Giant Tiger and Dollarama to get many of the grocery items. He also expects this consumer trend to continue in the future.

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