According to Stats Canada, the average Newfoundland household (with an average of 2.4 people each) spent $107 per week on groceries in 2013.
Now that is just groceries, without adding in the money spent on restaurants and take-out. I hypothesize that this is an average with a large standard deviation.
The wide range of what a week’s worth of food means in different countries (documented gorgeously by photojournalist Peter Menzel) got me curious about just how diverse our grocery habits are here, in Newfoundland. How do we spend that “average” of 107$? Join me to find out, and get a peek at your neighbours’ eating habits while you’re at it.
Using the hashtag #aweeksfeed, post a photo of your groceries and their cost on Twitter. In 2002, I lived in New Orleans and fed two people, a dog, and a cat for 40-60$ per week. Here in St. John’s, I spend triple that on three people, a dog, and a cat. See just how heavy my heavy cream bills are as I, too, post the good, the bad, and the went-shopping-hungry grocery runs for #aweeksfeed.
This is a celebration of food and a possible wake-up call as we will see just how high the cost of sustenance can be, especially the fresh and healthy variety. But there is no shame in whatever it is you are buying. Beer is a damn good food group full of life-giving water and B-vitamins, and if there aren’t any Hawkins Cheezies showing up, I deem us all unhealthily dishonest.
This experiment can visually map how we feed ourselves. When you aren’t eating out or getting delivery, do you eat prepared meals for the microwave? Do you snack the nights away on manchego, olives, and smoked oysters?
Or do you make few eggs go as far as you can with a splash of milk and an aging loaf magicked into french toast for the whole family? Is food your main expense or an afterthought crammed into the corners of a tight budget?
On an island where basics like milk, cheese, rice, bread, and pasta are more dear than their mainland counterparts, and eating fresh fruit and vegetables can be more expensive than a bad habit, what are your grocery strategies? Bulk shopping (Costco) can offer some deals (per pound) but the harsh irony is that you have to have large amounts of ready cash to buy into those savings.
If you have time and easy transport, you can cruise around getting the best deals: meat from Hallidays, fresh gluten from Georgestown Bakery, dry grains from bulk barn, potatoes from Ripple Trail Farm at The St. John’s Farmers’ Market, etc.
But those with time and transport on their hands are not always the ones looking for a bargain. Answer all my burning food questions with your raw data. What do you buy and how much do you spend for #aweeksfeed?