How these 10 basics are hitting your grocery bill

The price for some chicken parts is up, but the price of whole chickens is down. (Todd O'Brien/CBC - image credit)
The price for some chicken parts is up, but the price of whole chickens is down. (Todd O'Brien/CBC - image credit)

The cost of groceries has been a big part of inflation on P.E.I. in recent months.

In November the annual inflation rate on the Island was 9.7 per cent, but the rate for groceries was 13.5 per cent.

Just as inflation can vary within larger categories, it also varies item by item. Every month, Statistics Canada tracks the prices of 110 common grocery store items using data it receives directly from retailers as prices are rung in at the checkout.

Here's a closer look at how prices have changed for some of those items.

Meat

Meat is a relatively expensive grocery item and fortunately has not been a big source of inflation.

Of the 14 meat products listed in the Statistics Canada study, eight of them were actually down in price, as measured from November to November. Prices that were down include bargain favourites such as ground beef (down 2.4 per cent) and whole chickens (down 4.9 per cent).

Items that were up included chicken thighs (up 9.2 per cent) and stew beef (up 6.5 per cent).

P.E.I. meat prices

Canned tuna

In November 2021 the price of a 170-gram can of tuna was $1.78. It jumped to $2.23 in December and stayed over $2 until November rolled around again, when it fell to $1.90.

For much of the year the price of tuna has been up about 24 per cent over the November 2021 price, but the November-to-November increase is just 6.7 per cent.

Canned tuna prices

Milk

The price of two litres of milk, which was under $4 in November 2021, climbed over the next 12 months.

From November to November it is up 7.7 per cent, which is a few percentage points below the overall annual rate for groceries.

Milk prices

Butter

The price of butter has been up and down, but the ups have been bigger than the downs.

It sat at $4.38 for 454 grams in November of 2021 and peaked over $6 in the summer before moderating somewhat.

From November to November the price is up 22.4 per cent.

Butter prices

Margarine

There are still savings in buying margarine instead of butter, but not as much as there used to be.

Statistics Canada lists the cost of a 907-gram tub. I have cut that price in half for easier comparison to butter prices.

Margarine was on an upward trend all year, with the price up 42.2 per cent from November to November.

Even with the price of butter increasing, margarine's rising price has cut into the savings. In November 2021, margarine was about 40 per cent cheaper than butter, and a year later it was only about 30 per cent cheaper.

Margerine prices

Oranges

Unlike most produce, the price of oranges is usually lowest in the winter.

The price dipped in January of 2022 but then jumped back up to close to $5 per kilogram. Following a one-month drop in June, the price began to climb even more.

In November it reached $5.49 per kilogram, a 13.7 per cent increase over the November 2021 price.

Orange prices

Salad greens

For shoppers looking to save, the mixings for a salad may be a target for striking off the grocery list.

Iceberg lettuce is up 20 per cent, romaine lettuce is up 33.8 per cent and a 142-gram package of salad greens is up 19.8 per cent.

Lettuce by the head remains a relative bargain. In November it was about $4.50 a head compared to about $5 for the mixed greens.

Serious bargain hunters could turn to cabbage for cole slaw. It's up 14 per cent, but at $2.61 per kilogram is still far cheaper than lettuce options.

Salad green prices

Bread

The price of a 675-gram loaf of white bread was just below $3 in November 2021. It rose above that mark the next month and hasn't fallen below since.

The price held steady at $3.51 throughout the fall, after eight straight months of increases.

That's a 20.2 per cent price rise from November to November.

White bread prices

Vegetable oil

A litre of vegetable oil cost $10.17 in November 2021. It leaped $2 the next month and hasn't fallen much below $12 since.

It peaked at $14.62 in August.

While it has fallen below $14 since, the price increase from November to November was 37 per cent.

Vegetable oil prices

Laundry detergent

While not, of course, food, laundry detergent would be considered a grocery item in most households.

It is also perhaps more basic than any item on this list, because there are no real alternatives.

The price of 4.43 litres of laundry detergent was $12.53 in November of 2021. It was up almost a dollar the next month and peaked at well over $16 in the spring.

It remained more than $15 from August to November, and the November-to-November price was up 23.1 per cent.

Laundry detergent prices