5 Ways to Overcome Decreased Accessibility and Affordability of Imported Food in Canada

Imported food in Canada has become less accessible and affordable during the Covid-19 pandemic.  This is the reality that my recent trips to groceries have shed light on.

If you are like me who finds comfort in the familiar taste, texture, and aroma of the food I grew up with, this is a sad scenario.  But, immigrants are known for their resilience, creativity, and self-sufficiency.  We always make ways.

Today, I will share 5 ways to cope with this situation. Before that, let us first look at factors that lead to decreased accessibility and affordability of food from our native land.

Imported Food Stock-outs
Imported Food Stock-out

Reasons for the Decrease in Accessibility and Affordability of Imported Food

  • disruptions within food supply chains due to border and facility closures
  • closures and labour shortages in some industries such as meat
  • changes in production and distribution practices to enhance health and safety
  • added costs to manufacturers and transport providers such as PPE purchase and increased sanitation
Hen Long International Plaza Where I Haul My Imported Food
Hen Long International Plaza Where I Haul My Imported Food

5 Easy and Fun Ways to Lessen the Impacts of Shortage and Rise in Cost of Imported Food in Canada

I was fortunate to gain solid life skills at an early age.  Moving to Canada on my own honed these skills.  However, the global Covid-19 pandemic allowed me to elevate these skills and unleash new ones.

Freeze Excess Vegetables

It is always a treat to find fresh imported produce.  But, people who live alone or have a small family are often forced to buy more than what is needed.  Throwing unused portions is just sad.  Aside from wasting precious dollars, this contributes to food waste. 

Through a quick Google search and an experiment, I found out that vegetables can be preserved through blanching then freezing.  Here is a detailed guide for freezing vegetables

Frozen Filipino Vegetables
Purchase Frozen Vegetables

Buying frozen vegetables is convenient and less costly.  Having it means there is no more rushing to the store when you want it.  It also saves time because these are pre-cut, washed, and ready to cook.

It can be economical because there is no need to buy an entire bundle if a small amount is needed.  Plus, everything in the bag of frozen vegetables can be used.

Frozen vegetables can be purchased in any grocery store but, frozen Filipino vegetables are usually sold only in select Asian stores. For sure, your neighborhood specialty stores have similar items.

Onion in a Pot
Cultivate Your Green Thumb

Not everybody is blessed with a green thumb.  But, during the Covid-19 restrictions, many people found joy in (trying to) grow plants.

Gardening allows us to save money and have readily available organic food.  You can convert an unused patch of land into a small garden.  You can also explore indoor gardening as another possible option.  Apartment dwellers can likewise try indoor hydroponic gardening.

 An easy and less costly way to start is regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps. 

DIY Spanish Sardines Experiment
Try the DIY Route

My favorite canned sardines variety is frequently out of stock in Asian groceries even before the pandemic.  Due to supply chain challenges, I haven’t seen it on the grocery shelf for at least 2 months already.  I thought of creating my own version and found an easy sardines recipe to start with.  I also found quick recipes for other popular commercial Filipino food that I usually buy.

The Do-It-Yourself route is looking more attractive.  Who knows, I may come up with something that I really like. Plus, this would help me save costs and watch the ingredients that go into my food.

People with business and culinary skills sell homemade goodies in Facebook Marketplace. This may be a great way for you to earn extra bucks.

Korean Ready to Eat Side Dishes and Imported Food
Korean Ready to Eat Side Dishes and Imported Food
Expand Your Palate

Canada’s diverse population is amazing.  With this comes an unlimited array of food options.  The international food aisles in groceries have endless choices for people of any kitchen skill level.

If you find these options intimidating, you can sample different types of food first until you find something that you like by:

  • Hosting a potluck party
  • Trying food samples in markets, festivals, or even groceries
  • Ordering family-style with a group of friends
Walmart is Expanding Imported Food Offerings
Walmart is Expanding Imported Food Offerings

Once you find something that you like, you can search for recipes or even cheaper alternatives on the internet.

Step out of your comfort zone and try new foods.  It can be a lot of fun!

Imported food in Canada may have become more inaccessible and costly due to the pandemic. But immigrants’ resilience, creativity, and self-sufficiency will help us overcome these.

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