Even with rising food costs, many Canadians find Thanksgiving meal traditions tough to break


It’s a busy day at The Meat Company, an internet butcher store in Winnipeg.

On the Thursday earlier than Thanksgiving, Stephen Cross and his employees are slicing meat and packing up orders that might be picked up or delivered to their clients for his or her huge meals.

“Now that the COVID epidemic is considerably coming to an finish, hopefully, persons are beginning to collect once more at dwelling. So, greater meals. So, we’re busy. It’s good. Finally,” Cross, a co-owner and head butcher, mentioned as he sliced a boneless prime rib roast.

Cross was solely in a position to get frozen turkeys this 12 months, he mentioned, they usually offered out final week. So, persons are shopping for roasts.

“They’re doing briskets on the smoker, pork butts on the smoker. So, a bit bit completely different from the norm,” he mentioned.

Two-thirds of Canadians plan to eat identical food: ballot

A latest on-line Angus Reid survey of 1,244 Canadians that discovered of those that have fun Thanksgiving, greater than two-thirds might be consuming the identical food they normally do, even with inflation pushing up the price of the whole lot from turkey to potatoes. 

Statistics Canada reported on Sept. 20 that inflation is up almost 11 per cent throughout all retail food gadgets. One of the principle drivers continues to be supply-chain disruptions attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, sophisticated by labour shortages. Another issue is Russia’s warfare in Ukraine, which has pushed up commodity costs.

But some traditions are exhausting to break.

“The majority of Canadians are sticking to traditions. If they plan to host, they most likely can have a turkey,” mentioned Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, which had partnered with Angus Reid for the survey. It was performed in September with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 occasions out of 20.

Still, about about one-quarter of Canadians will make some meal changes, the survey discovered. Sylvain famous that lower-income households, which earn lower than $50,000 a 12 months, are nearly definitely making adjustments due to larger food costs.

WATCH | Price of food skyrockets: 

The value of food is rising on the quickest fee in 40 years

Canada’s inflation fee cooled to seven per cent in August, Statistics Canada says. While gasoline bought cheaper throughout August, food costs continued their enhance — the price of groceries has risen by 10.8 per cent previously 12 months.

Charlebois mentioned the per-kilogram value of turkey has elevated about 16 per cent from this time final 12 months. Potatoes are 22 per cent dearer. Bacon, ham and hen value about 10 per cent extra.

“People could determine to go for a smaller chook. They could determine to maybe go for a less expensive protein supply like hen or ham,” he mentioned. “Perhaps individuals will simply go for an additional aspect as an alternative of potatoes.”

“They’ll plan forward they usually’ll strive to stretch their greenback,” Charlebois mentioned.

‘Nice to have a turkey’

At a Winnipeg Food Fair, buyer Jerry Brown says he is nonetheless after the standard chook.

“It’s solely yearly or twice in case you depend Christmas. Nice to have a turkey,” he mentioned.

The value of turkeys has elevated roughly 16 per cent since this time final 12 months, however Jerry Brown — pictured at a Winnipeg Food Fair — says he’ll nonetheless have a roasted chook on his Thanksgiving desk. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Others are slicing again, like Ciara Maffiola, who mentioned, “I’m not shopping for a complete turkey. I’m simply shopping for a small turkey breast.”

Food Fair proprietor Munther Zeid mentioned he is observed most individuals will not be spending much less, however they’re spending otherwise. For occasion, as an alternative of serving a big turkey plus a ham or roast, some are choosing smaller variations of every.

“I’ve by no means seen will increase like this in all my life. I’ve been on this enterprise working with my dad since I used to be a child. I mainly began part-time in 1983 and I’ve by no means seen what we’re seeing proper now,” he mentioned.

Winnipeg Food Fair proprietor Munther Zeid says a standard Thanksgiving dinner will value extra this 12 months due to value will increase the likes of which he has by no means seen earlier than. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Traditional does not have to imply turkey

For others, it will likely be conventional food on the desk, however not turkey or ham.

They’re cooking up a storm at Winnipeg Filipino restaurant Jeepney, which has a Thanksgiving takeout particular that includes their hottest pork dishes — Bagnet Kare-Kare and Crispy Pata — plus grilled Chicken Inasal and Shanghai Lumpia — deep-fried spring rolls.

“I do know that Turkey is the spotlight normally for Thanksgiving, however we tried to come up with the Filipino method,” proprietor Chantilly Guerrero-Agustin mentioned.

Chantilly Guerrero-Agustin, proprietor of the Winnipeg Filipino restaurant Jeepney, holds a dish of Shanghai lumpia, one of many dishes in her in style price range Thanksgiving take-out particular. She says household meals are necessary at Thanksgiving and she or he’s doing what she will be able to to stretch her buyer’s food budgets. (Karen Pauls/CBC)

Her prices have skyrocketed too. For instance, cooking oil is double what it was final 12 months. But for her, that is a technique to stretch her clients’ Thanksgiving food budgets.

“Everything has actually gone up so we nonetheless strive to make it very reasonably priced, however not compromising the standard of food that we serve.”

Guerrero-Agustin mentioned it doesn’t matter what the custom, this weekend is about gathering across the desk and giving thanks.

“Especially in our group, food continues to be essential. No matter how exhausting life is.”

WATCH | Many Canadians conserving Thanksgiving traditions regardless of inflation: 

Soaring value of food no match for Canadians’ Thanksgiving plans

Soaring food costs aren’t stopping Canadians from celebrating Thanksgiving — regardless that some are taking steps to save the place they will.


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