In the early days of the pandemic, healthy eating and living was brought into the spotlight. But even though many were crafting their baking skills and growing food, the study found it was more smoke and mirrors.
“The things that were seeing, one of the things that we asked British Columbians and Northerns about, is what’s changed in the Pandemic for you and we did see that people did say they’re cooking from home more often, but unfortunately, that really wasn’t translating to increased fruit and vegetable consumption.” said Koutsodimos.
The survey was taken in June 2021 with more than 1,000 British Columbians taking part.
64% of Indigenous people and 50% of people within the lowest income group faced difficulties affording healthy food. The amount of people eating fruits and vegetables was also low.
“Just on average, we see British Columbians eating just two servings of fruits and vegetables which is far below the recommended 5-10.” said Koutsodimos.
Finding healthier options isn’t difficult in the north. Specialty shops like Ava Maria Specialties has a steady, dedicated customer base. General Manager Dawn Matte says that throughout the pandemic has, there has been a consistent presence in their stores. But their prices have consistently risen.
“I think demand on some of those options did exasperated it.” said Matte.
“The grains have been going up, the cost of feeding the animal that produce the animal are going up, so it all kinda compounds in that aspect of the prices going up, so not one thing in particular, it’s been pretty consistent across the board.” said Matte.
Transportation is another key issue. Matte says that some products have been arriving late due to situation in the lower mainland.
“It’s taking a lot longer, normal shipment days are almost double as far as timelines of getting stuff up here so that’s adding some complex and some problems and getting stuff on the shelves.” said Matte.
In the study, over 80% of British Columbians support programs to encourage healthy eating. Which is why the BCAHL wants to bring their findings up to the province.
“We understand what needs to be done and we just have to make that decision…as a priority.” said Koutsodimos.
To read the full report, click here.