The rising price of groceries might start to affect students

Food Service Director for Aramark at Durham College and UOIT.
Food Service Director for Aramark at Durham College and UOIT, John Kerr.

Canadians may be paying more for food this year – and that could mean students at Durham College and UOIT will have to dig deeper into their wallets to satisfy their stomachs. Meats, fruits and nuts are all expected to see the greatest increase in prices for 2016.

The University of Guelph Food Institute predicts food prices will rise about four per cent. This means that the average Canadian household will pay about $325 more on food. Prices have been increasing over the past year but the problem seems to be growing with a decreasing Canadian dollar.

John Kerr is the food service Director for Aramark at Durham College and UOIT. Kerr says if food prices go up they will surely increase at school as well. The campus is franchise heavy with eating options from Tim Hortons, Pizza Pizza, Mr. Sub, Smoke’s Poutinerie and many more which all set their own prices. But according to Kerr, Aramark sets food prices for its own outlets which include Miso, Pan Fusion and Express fridges.

Kerr says Aramark tries to keep campus food prices the lowest they can for students, but adds with rising prices it makes it difficult to maintain.

Food prices at Aramark’s outlets are set in the spring, says Kerr, adding Aramark doesn’t make changes throughout the year. Any price changes will be implemented in August.

Rising food prices might force some students to turn to the campus’s food bank. Camille Talag is a volunteer event coordinator at Outreach Services. She says rising grocery prices could impact the number of people coming to access the school’s food bank.

DC and UOIT’s food bank is part of the Student Association’s Outreach Services. Any student attending either school can gain access by filling out a registration form, then they’re put into the system. Students are able to access the food bank once every two weeks.

Donations are on a one off basis and regularly come from staff, faculty, students and parents of students, Talag says.

“It’s nice to see that the community cares and they know about the food bank and how often students need it,” says Talag.

As prices continue to increase Kerr guarantees the school gets the best prices that they can for students. There have been times when Aramark might recommend a price increase by four per cent but the school might not agree to that, says Kerr. They might say, “three per cent because students can afford that.”

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Amanda Ramlal is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. When it comes to writing and reporting, she enjoys covering events, news and entertainment stories. She likes to spend her spare time taking photos, going to concerts and traveling. Amanda hopes to work for a lifestyle magazine following graduation.