Groceries on Vancouver Island cost more on average than anywhere else in BC.
According to new data from the BC Centre for Disease Control, the average monthly price for a nutritious diet for a family of four on the Island was $1,366 last year, $100 more than the provincial average. The reason isn’t because of high prices; it’s because of low incomes, says the agency’s Food Costing in BC report, the first since before the pandemic.
Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer for Island Health, says “Household food insecurity takes a major toll on people’s physical and mental health, social and emotional well-being, and on our provincial health care system.”
Prices were based on a snapshot of data from May-June 2022, and varied around the Island. South Island costs were most expensive, at $1,386 on average, followed by the North Island at $1,370, and Central Island at $1,343.
In BC, 15% of the population cannot afford a basic, nutritious diet. After a review of five different household compositions and income scenarios, the report shows many people and households who live on low incomes, especially on income or disability assistance, cannot afford a nutritious diet after paying rent.
Studies have found that health care costs are up to 76 per cent higher for food insecure adults compared to those with sufficient access to healthy food.