Most Canadians expect food prices to rise in 2024 and most will look for grocery sales to handle the increase, according to a new report from Dalhousie University.The survey of 5,000 Canadians conducted by Caddle found 80.3% of them expect food prices to continue to rise in the new year. For categories, 70.4% believe meat products will increase significantly, followed by produce at 62.2% and dairy at 42.1%.Many Canadians expect to change how they approach grocery shopping in the new year. A total of 43.3% said they will focus more on promotions to cope with higher food prices, followed by 34.6% who will use more coupons, 33.6% who will use loyalty programs more often and 30.6% who will compare prices at stores to get better deals.Canadians also explained their criteria for switching stores. Three-quarters (77.9%) look for lower prices, 50.9% look for quality and 42.7% want something close to home. Only 10.4% expect to shop online more.Few Canadians will be looking for premium products, but 14.9% intend to buy more organically grown produce and 12% intend to buy more fair trade products.Data from the National Youth Council suggests an average Canadian household generates 140 kilograms of food waste annually, costing $1,300. Across all households, this suggests 2.3 million tons of food wasted annually at a cost of $20 billion.The latest survey suggests many Canadians will waste less food in 2024. Almost half (48%) of Canadians intend to better plan meals and shopping lists, 36.2% intend to eat leftovers more often, 32.7% intend to use food preservation methods such as freezers and canning more often, 24% intend to buy food products with a longer shelf-life and 21% will serve smaller portions.Many Canadians also plan to cut back on buying certain products. Snacks and convenience foods are the top choice at 43.2%, followed by meat for 30.5% of Canadians, alcoholic beverages for 28.2% and fish and seafood for 16.3%. Rounding off the list, fresh produce and dairy products were each the choice of 12.9% percent.Prices in restaurants have gone up, so 38.3% of Canadians plan to eat out less often, though 6.4% plan to dine out more and 12.2% say they won’t eat out at all next year.For people who intend to eat out, 39.4% say they’ll choose more budget-friendly restaurants. Another 24.2% of Canadians will not order side dishes or alcohol and 13.7% intend to share meals.Eating healthier and making better food decisions is the number one choice for new year’s resolutions on food at 14.9%, followed by cooking more at home (13.7%). Drinking more water and staying hydrated is the third most popular choice, followed by more exercise to work off the pounds.Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, director at Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, said the findings are part of a significant trend.“Our latest research highlights a growing concern among Canadians about rising food prices and their consequent shift in food consumption habits,” said Charlebois.“This change is more than just economic; it's a cultural shift in how we approach our food choices and consumption patterns.”Janet Music, research manager at the lab, said the findings revealed a “significant shift” and “an increased emphasis on sustainability, health, and local sourcing…indicative of a deeper transformation in the Canadian food industry, signalling a growing consciousness among consumers about the broader impacts of their food decisions.” For more information and access to the full report, please visit https://www.dal.ca/sites/agri-food.html.Disclosure: Funding for the survey was provided by Dalhousie University and Caddle.