I have a problem; I’m addicted to fresh fruit. On a typical work day I eat four pieces of fruit.* I eat slightly less on the weekends. Although this obsession is healthy, out of season produce can be expensive in Canada. So I wondered, how much money is my “problem” actually costing me?
On a recent trip to a Winnipeg Walmart I decided to record the exact prices, weights, and numbers of fruit that I was buying and do my favourite thing – make a chart.
I calculated my monthly fruit cost to be about $43 per month. Is that amount high? It doesn’t feel that way. In Canada we are able to spend a lower percentage of our income on food than in many other countries. I think that $43 is quite reasonable for the health and enjoyment I get from my fruit.
A few other notes about the chart:
In the winter I eat mostly bananas, apples, and oranges. I included the tangelos as I also bought them on this shopping trip, but the only difference compared to the oranges is the taste.
These particular purchases were non-organic. I purchase organic fruit depending on availability, cost differential, and apparent quality. I’m not a strict organic purchaser.
Regarding the prices I show:
- the bananas at $0.77/pound is typical for the stores I frequent. Sometimes the non-organic ones are slightly less, but I can’t recall seeing less than $0.50/pound in a couple of years now.
- the apples and oranges are cheaper than I usually see them in the winter. They often get closer to $1.50/pound.
- on a cost per calorie basis the bananas and apples were the clear winners.
Should You Try to Spend Less?
When I am shopping I pay attention to sales and below-average prices, and try to buy more at those times. But generally I don’t like to be too cheap when it comes to non-processed food. It’s important to me that farmers are paid fairly, especially when I know they are small and/or local businesses.
If You Need to Save Money on Fruit
One of the great seasonal options in Winnipeg and other Manitoba cities for local, cheap, healthy, and community-building produce is the Fruit Share program. If you don’t live here you may not be aware of just how many apple trees there are in Southern Manitoba. The people at Fruit Share offer a solution to the needless waste of apples, crabapples and other perfectly good fruit, while providing volunteer-pickers affordable fruit, and donating fruit to local community organizations.
If you happen to have a friend or neighbour with a fruit tree that’s always a great option, but if you need help finding fruit, Fruit Share will help. You can pay for your fruit with time instead of money. I’m sure they’ll be soon looking to build their fruit picker and fruit owner lists for the 2015 season, so please check out their website.
Any Other Fruit Lovers?
How much fruit do you eat? How do your prices compare to Winnipeg? Are you always looking for the best deal? Or are you willing to pay more for healthy food? Let me know your thoughts.
*I also have an avocado addiction, but as I use them like vegetables I won’t include that here. Though at around $1.00 per piece that does increase my fruit cost substantially when I am eating them. I probably eat about 3-10 avocados in a month, depending on the season.