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Battling the Economic Food Bulge

March 16, 2009 6:15 AM | Columns

Overweight People

McCain Foods put out a press release on Sunday comparing the eating habits of Canadians to the economic downtown. The basic summary was that we aren’t eating as healthy as we used to because of the cost. Consumers are turning to fast food to save money, rather than spending more on healthier choice items. Seems pretty logical to me.

This information got me thinking about my own eating habits. I keep track of what I eat because I’m a bit of a health and fitness nut. I took a look back a few months to see if the McCain study was accurate and really affected me. The short answer? Not really.

There was a few dips when I splurged on a cheeseburger or something every couple of weeks, but for the most part, I stay on track with eating healthy. I asked a few friends if they’ve noticed a change in their eating habits in the last 6 months or so. I wasn’t too surprised when they told me that eating a cheese pizza or a Big Mac was part of their regular lifestyle.

“Good nutrition is non-negotiable – to stay healthy you have to eat a varied balanced diet – even if the budget is tight,” says Rose Reisman, best-selling author, nutrition consultant and national spokesperson for McCain Foods (Canada). “There are ways to eat healthier on a lower budget. For instance, the potato is Canada’s favourite vegetable and an incredible source of nutrition. But most Canadians don’t recognize the fact that potatoes are a healthy choice when eaten in moderation.”

In the current economy, consumers are spending less on food and are changing their behaviour in other ways as a result of higher food prices worldwide, the release said.

According to a global consumer landscape study produced for McCain Foods by TNS, 41 percent of Canadian consumers saying that they can’t afford to eat better. The TNS study also found that 87 percent of Canadian households have recently made changes in their behaviour. Nearly two-thirds of consumers are seeking out specials and coupons more often than before and over half of consumers are eating out less.


Tags: Canada | Food | Health