Author Topic: Food prices Canada vs. USA  (Read 6577 times)

KMMK

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Food prices Canada vs. USA
« on: March 29, 2014, 10:34:52 AM »
Hopefully this is a reasonable area for this post. I'm not sharing my badassity except in data analysis and chart building. You can decide whether it's badass or not. But I think it's interesting.

This was inspired by the food tracking thread. I recently vacationed in Phoenix and thought it would be fascinating (data-geek alert) to compare food prices between Phoenix and Winnipeg.

My full chart and data can be found at my new website:
http://www.moneytipscanada.ca/us-canada-food-price-comparison

My site is only in development, so feel free to poke around, but this is the first article I finished.

If you don't want to click through here is the summary:
I compared food prices between a Walmart in Phoenix and a Walmart in Winnipeg. The same items were 29% higher if you don't take the exchange rate into account and 17% higher if you did so. So based on my very limited analysis the same food purchases could cost you roughly 20% more in Canada. Or $240 per month vs $200 in the US. I find this stuff fascinating and I know some of you do as well.
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lexie2000

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 10:50:29 AM »
What was interesting to me is that a lot of your US WalMart prices seemed high to me, but I am an on-sale and discount grocer type of shopper.   Not only that, but when I want to make a dish that requires an ingredient that I don't already have, I wait to make it until I can find it on sale.

daverobev

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 05:42:31 PM »
Interesting... but things are perhaps more expensive in MB than here in ON?

Eg bananas are 0.59/lb here, 3lb onions is $1.49 or $1.99. Walmart is not that cheap so I don't shop there..

Also, for some things it makes sense - it's still freezing here, and produce is often from AZ or CA!

So 'interesting' yes, certainly doesn't make me go 'Canada is a ripoff!!' - not sure if that was yourthought, OP?
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KMMK

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 07:15:42 PM »
No, I don't think Canada is a rip-off at all. My main point is that comparing food prices in different geographical areas is pointless. And it was just a fun analysis.

The walmart US prices seeming high to the other poster is interesting as well because most of them seem reasonable or low to me.

And everyone's aware that Walmart isn't necessarily the cheapest place to buy things but people have to make do with what is available to them. It seems that a lot of bargain shopping techniques rely on having a car and this is the forum that best advocates for the car free lifestyle. Paying a little more for food is a lot cheaper than owning a car.

Personally I'm not a bargain food shopper. I willingly and knowingly pay more for food than I strictly have to and will probably make a post about that in the future.
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Jomar

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 07:31:31 PM »
Very interesting, Kestra. This is something I've often thought about. I definitely think the prices are high on your chart, in both locations, but that means it evens out and is probably accurate. I don't generally shop in any of the big box stores, so it's interesting for me to see the price difference for food from my local grocery store (Food Fare... Winnipeg shout out!). Food Fare has much better prices than Wal-Mart, surprisingly. If you're near one Kestra, might be worth checking out!

Gerard

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 07:14:55 PM »
And this comparison probably over-states the average difference, as Arizona is near to growing areas and has a larger population than Manitoba.

But even allowing for this full difference, twenty percent is small enough that the people who say "I can't reduce my food costs because I live in Canada" are just donning the pants of complaint.
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drfrugal

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 07:49:11 PM »
I discovered "price matching" about a year ago and have saved about 25-30% on my weekly grocery bill. We live in Ontario and
have a grocery store called Food Basics that does this. I spend about 15 minutes planning the meals for the week and then doing a
grocery list. I then look at the weekly flyers from all the different grocery stores and show them on checkout and they match!
By doing this it looks like I am paying a lot less than Walmart in the USA

Matte

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 11:01:11 PM »
Comparing Vancouver BC to Bellingham Washington I would say the gap is bigger then that.  For regular prices 20 percent sounds right.  On specialty or organic food, and sales us prices are often below half the Canadian price.  Processed and frozen food as well as dairy have huge price gaps too.  You will never see the 10 for 10 sales or good coupons in Canada like in the states. 

KMMK

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 06:40:13 AM »
Comparing Vancouver BC to Bellingham Washington I would say the gap is bigger then that.  For regular prices 20 percent sounds right.  On specialty or organic food, and sales us prices are often below half the Canadian price.  Processed and frozen food as well as dairy have huge price gaps too.  You will never see the 10 for 10 sales or good coupons in Canada like in the states.
Now that would be an interesting comparison as Van and Bellingham are so near each other.

And people have mentioned growing season but that's what is odd about my little comparison - that produce in Winnipeg isn't that much higher or is even less than in Arizona. I suspect it's a regulation or Walmart thing. I know dairy is price regulated and the cost was the same in both places.

And all my comparisons were without coupons, which affect US prices more than Canadian-though not typically the food i spend the most money on.
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Silverwood

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2014, 01:04:48 PM »
I'm commenting here as I hate WordPress and it won't ever let me sign in. Your food blog is awesome. I'll keep reading but won't be able to comment

KMMK

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2014, 09:48:23 AM »
Bumping this thread because I've actually been approached by a CBC producer considering doing a story on the difference between US and Canadian food prices. Especially for the exact same product, and ones that are made in Canada, but then sold in the US for a cheaper price than they are sold in Canada. So if anyone has any specific details about such products or specifically cross border shops for food, please post.
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falcondisruptor

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2014, 06:55:59 PM »
I discovered "price matching" about a year ago and have saved about 25-30% on my weekly grocery bill. We live in Ontario and
have a grocery store called Food Basics that does this. I spend about 15 minutes planning the meals for the week and then doing a
grocery list. I then look at the weekly flyers from all the different grocery stores and show them on checkout and they match!
By doing this it looks like I am paying a lot less than Walmart in the USA

Hi Kestra, I don't have information on that, but thanks for bumping so I could find out Food Basics price matches! 

The Fake Cheap

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2014, 08:04:02 PM »

Hey Kestra,  great topic.   I've always noticed the large discrepancy in food prices between here, New Brunswick and the tips I take into Maine every year or two.  Next time I go (not sure when) I'll take some detailed comparisons.  I'm also wondering if you included sales tax in your total prices?  That can also be a huge difference.  I think Maine has a 5% sales tax vs 13% here in NB, so quite significant.

KMMK

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2014, 09:08:38 PM »

Hey Kestra,  great topic.   I've always noticed the large discrepancy in food prices between here, New Brunswick and the tips I take into Maine every year or two.  Next time I go (not sure when) I'll take some detailed comparisons.  I'm also wondering if you included sales tax in your total prices?  That can also be a huge difference.  I think Maine has a 5% sales tax vs 13% here in NB, so quite significant.

You know, I don't remember for sure but I believe regular grocery food wasn't subject to sales tax in either place. If some of it was, it was the before tax prices that I used for comparison. And yes, tax sure makes a big difference between the provinces. Maybe one day I'll move back to Alberta.
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beaster

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Re: Food prices Canada vs. USA
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 06:32:34 PM »


Hey Kestra,  great topic.   I've always noticed the large discrepancy in food prices between here, New Brunswick and the tips I take into Maine every year or two.  Next time I go (not sure when) I'll take some detailed comparisons.  I'm also wondering if you included sales tax in your total prices?  That can also be a huge difference.  I think Maine has a 5% sales tax vs 13% here in NB, so quite significant.

Should be no sales tax on food in NB!