Vintage restaurant and grocery ads offer perspective on today's food inflation

All you can eat for $1.95

With the days of $100 beef roasts and $25 burgers upon us, the price of groceries and eating out is surely on many people's minds.

Food inflation can be felt every time you go grocery shopping or sit down in a restaurant.

The family Christmas gathering may set you back more this year – but this blast from the past may bring a smile to your face.

A couple of posts on the Vintage Vernon BC Facebook page turn the clock back to the days when you could eat out with five bucks in your pocket – and come home with change.

A 1973 newspaper clipping shows an ad for Kiki Gardens – which is still in the same place in downtown Vernon. It features Kiki's midnight smorgasbord Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. for just $1.95.

It even says you can "eat as much as you want."

Cam Campbell submitted the photo and said: "Me and my buddies would sneak out of bed for this till I got busted with dry ribs in my pocket one morning by my mom!"

Turning the clock to the 1980s, Tracey Louisa shared photos of the menu from Pardners' restaurant, which used to be located where Kelly O'Brien's is today.

The 1984 menu includes bacon or ham and waffles for $4.50, a stack of six pancakes for $2.25, and bacon and eggs for $4.85, including two eggs, hash browns and toast.

"I thought they would be fun to look at and see how much things cost then," says Louisa.

On the grocery side of things, the Old Kelowna Facebook page shared a 1971 Super-Valu advertisement with rump roasts for 99 cents a pound.

A Second World War era newspaper ad for Kelowna Meat Market has five-pound rib roasts for only a dollar, and pork sausage is just 20 cents a pound.

Getting back to reality, inflation is beginning to slow, according to Statistics Canada, and was pegged at 3.1 per cent in October. Excluding gasoline, the consumer price index was up 3.6 per cent, however.

StatsCan says grocery prices continue to rise faster than overall inflation, up 5.4 per cent last month.

Meanwhile, household food insecurity has reached a record high.

The percentage of households with inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints rose to 17.8 per cent in 2022 from 15.9 per cent in 2021, according to Statistics Canada.

That amounts to 6.9 million Canadians living in households with experiences that range from worrying about running out of food before there’s enough money to buy more to not eating at all for entire days because of a lack of income.

Add into the fact that B.C. has the highest cost of living of any of the provinces, and it's enough to make your stomach churn.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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