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What’s the average food bill for Alberta families?

What’s the average food bill for Alberta families?

Posted on: 12/19/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Especially at this time of year, Albertans love getting together with friends and family—and top of the list of things they’ll be doing is eating! But keeping food on the table can be costly. Yesterday, The Owl reported that about 13 per cent of household spending went to food last year. But what is the dollar value of that, and where are those dollars being spent?

In 2016, the average household in Alberta spent just shy of $10,000 in food. The chart below shows the breakdown of how much was purchased in grocery and other food stores (the blue bars) compared to meals purchased in restaurants and (the orange bars). The ratio is nearly 2-to-1 in favour of food purchased in stores.

Over the last seven years, spending on food purchased from stores has risen by 5.4 per cent. However, spending on food in restaurants has grown by an astounding 21 per cent, from $2,523 per year in 2010 to $3,059 last year.

No doubt some of this has to do with rising menu prices in restaurants. The monthly Consumer Price Index shows that restaurant prices have gone up 17 per cent since 2010. Prices for groceries purchased in stores, however, rose only 13 per cent. Restaurants have had to cover rising operating expenses such as labour costs, energy and insurance.

But while restaurants may indeed be increasing their menu prices, it seems many Albertans are content paying those higher prices. Be it in our kitchens, a fast food joint or a trendy high-end restaurant; food is something that we can’t do without.

Albertans household spending on food, graph

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