How to guide to combatting rising food prices

Here are our strategies to help you save

How to guide to combatting rising food pricesSince 2022 is almost here, it’s time to reflect on what has happened the past year and anticipate what lies ahead. Food inflation obviously affected most food categories this year, which is why the last 12 months have been challenging for Canadians, at the grocery store and at restaurants. Canada’s Food Price Report 2022 was…

How gene editing helps farmers and consumers

But the way we communicate risks through food labelling needs to change

How gene editing helps farmers and consumersHealth Canada is reportedly likely to treat gene-edited crops differently than genetically-modified crops, or GMOs. That would be the right move. That means the oversight provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would look very much like what we see for conventionally-bred crops. This issue is obviously far removed from consumers, but it will certainly…

Milk prices rising: time to reform the Canadian Dairy Commission

The Crown corporation is controlled by three people, all with dairy connections

Milk prices rising: time to reform the Canadian Dairy CommissionThe Canadian Dairy Commission announced recently that farmers will get an unprecedented 8.4 per cent more for their milk and better than 12 per cent more for butter starting in February. For consumers, this certainly isn’t great news. Milk, butter and yogurt prices will likely skyrocket in the new year. It’s the highest increase since…

Sonos Roam gives you smart speaker features at home or away

Precision-engineered acoustics produce a crisp, clear and full-body sound

Sonos Roam gives you smart speaker features at home or awayNot everyone wants to wear headphones or earbuds to listen to their music, radio stations or podcasts, but speakers can be such a pain. Speakers are often bulky, can be cumbersome when using them with multiple devices, and they’re typically susceptible to the elements, so not great for the outdoors. Unless you have the Sonos…

How the unassuming QR code is changing the food industry

Before long consumers will expect the entire food supply chain to be fully transparent in real-time

How the unassuming QR code is changing the food industryQR codes have been in our lives for a long time. Before the pandemic, we used them a few times a year on average. Now, most Canadians will use a QR code almost every week and, in some cases, daily. Implications for the food industry could be significant. Once deemed a clever tool used occasionally,…

Coffee crunch: prices are going up, way up

But the industry will do everything it can so you don’t notice

Coffee crunch: prices are going up, way upCoffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world. In Canada, we don’t grow coffee – yet – but we love our daily cup of java. Over 90 per cent of Canadians are coffee drinkers. But coffee is getting ridiculously expensive. In 2020, Canada was ranked fifth highest in the world based on…

Researchers warn of unintended poisonings from hand sanitizer

There has been a 73 per cent increase in calls to Alberta Poison and Drug Information Service in 2020

Researchers warn of unintended poisonings from hand sanitizerOur obsession with killing germs during the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unintended and dangerous consequence, according to the University of Alberta’s Injury Prevention Centre: a sharp increase in unintentional poisonings due to hand sanitizers, disinfectants and household cleaners. Calls to Alberta’s Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) related to these products have increased by 73 per cent…

CRTC overreaching with its proposed internet regulations

The goal is less about the interests of consumers and more about funnelling money to special interest groups

CRTC overreaching with its proposed internet regulationsWere the consequences not so serious, Canada’s chaotic venture into the regulation of content on the Web might be consigned to the realm of thigh-slapping farce. The government’s goal, it was learned last week, will be to focus programming funding on the needs of ethnic, racial, language and sexual identities in a fashion so ill-defined…

The misguided mission to cut Canada’s cellphone rates

Price controls undermine investment, remove incentive for innovation and backfire for consumers

The misguided mission to cut Canada’s cellphone ratesThere’s a pervasive belief in Canada that wireless phone service prices are a ripoff. To suggest otherwise is heresy. Countless commentaries provide fodder for this belief, and every few years a politician takes on the purported problem. In the mid-2010s, for example, Industry Minister James Moore supported the entry of Verizon, although the U.S.-based prospective…

Not using cash during COVID-19 could make you overspend

U of A experts offer tips on how to handle your money during the pandemic – including decontaminating bills and coins

Not using cash during COVID-19 could make you overspendMany businesses worried about COVID-19 contamination are touchy about taking cash, but the greater risk may be in overusing our plastic. Shoppers using credit or debit cards for every purchase instead of cash and coins will have to watch their spending habits, said Mike Maier, a financial expert with the Alberta School of Business at the University…

Cubii Jr. offers an easy, quiet workout while you sit

Regardless of your age, abilities or lifestyle, you can benefit from a low-cardio seated elliptical workout

Cubii Jr. offers an easy, quiet workout while you sitIt’s always smart to inject a little more physical activity into our lives, regardless of where we are on our fitness journey. But sometimes we lack the time or energy for that much-needed workout. The good news is the solution, Cubii Jr., can sit right under your feet. Cubii Jr. is a compact elliptical trainer…

Powerful Passport II Pro ups the ante for device chargers

It has a compact design and works super-fast, plus it has adapters for use in 200 countries so is great for travel

A one-size-fits-all travel-sized multi-port charger for the majority of our gadgets may seem impossible. But Zendure seems to think its new Passport II Pro will do the trick. So do their followers. In fact, the company’s recent Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was fully funded in just two hours. Sixty-one watts of power The new-generation Zendure Passport…

Our relationship with our stuff is mutual, says U of A researcher

Study of fashion blogger’s account of wearing the same dress every day for a year shows how much we depend on possessions

Our relationship with our stuff is mutual, says U of A researcherWhen you exclaim “I love that!” about a favourite possession, do you really mean it? A University of Alberta study based on a fashion blog is asking people to think more deeply about what they own – and whether they really need to buy more. A year of reflections in Frock Around the Clock, a blog about…

How to manage your finances in the time of COVID-19

An accounting expert offers a wealth of advice – starting with not letting your net worth define your self-worth

How to manage your finances in the time of COVID-19People struggling to pay their debts in a crippled COVID-19 economy can’t avoid tough choices but shouldn’t let it crush them, says a University of Alberta financial expert. Feelings of fear, frustration or shame can overwhelm the clear-headed thinking needed to tackle tough times, but try not to internalize it, advised Mike Maier, an accounting…

Why your bad cell signal isn’t necessarily the carrier’s fault

If you find yourself cursing your cellular provider for the lack of cell signal, remember that it just might be the fault of your car or building’s construction materials or even that leafy tree to your right

Why your bad cell signal isn’t necessarily the carrier’s faultPicture this: You’re driving home from work, just about to finish up a phone meeting through your car’s Bluetooth, when suddenly your call drops – you’re once again in that dreaded dead spot in the middle of the city where important conversations go to die. The default culprit you’re most likely to blame in this…

The inconvenient truth of a mountain of garbage

Consumer spending is important to a healthy economy, but each of us needs to decide where we draw the line between our wants and our needs

The inconvenient truth of a mountain of garbageI felt guilty tossing mixed household and construction materials into container bins at the landfill. We did our very best to reuse and recycle, but we still had a couple of truckloads of stuff to discard. I hadn’t been to the landfill for years, maybe decades, and I was shocked at the change in the…

Tim Hortons adds to its disastrous marketing decisions

Tim Hortons desperately needs to make its Roll Up The Rim campaign work. But the chain may have again missed the mark

Tim Hortons adds to its disastrous marketing decisionsAfter a disastrous campaign last year, Tim Hortons finally got the message and opted to change its 35-year-old Roll Up The Rim campaign. But its new approach is not that simple. The iconic contest is now much shorter and incredibly more complicated. Given its last quarter financial results showed same-store-sales dropping by more than four…

Canada’s dairy sector faces uncertain future

The dairy industry is slowly being trampled by a wave of consumers who see it as one of many options, for a variety of reasons

Canada’s dairy sector faces uncertain futureThere’s been a lot of talk recently about meat alternatives but dairy alternatives are also becoming more popular. And when it comes to dairy in Canada, given our quotas and high tariffs, the stakes are significantly higher. Dairy alternatives can be seen everywhere from grocery stores to coffee shops. These products are no longer confined…

Consumer trust in agriculture is waning

Organized, well-funded groups condemning farming practices on social media are winning the consumer trust battle

Consumer trust in agriculture is waningThe public uses social media every day to express concerns about farming practices. And it’s getting worse. Farmers are criticized for a variety of reasons – for example their environmental stewardship and their ethical behaviour in how they treat livestock. In survey after survey, Canadians generally say they trust farmers, regardless of headlines, social media…

Going bananas for a threatened fruit

A deadly fungus is spreading all over the world, so we can expect to pay more for bananas. But our world-class scientists could help solve the problem

Going bananas for a threatened fruitThe world could run out of bananas. Reports this summer suggest that a banana-killing fungus, Fusarium TR4 or the Panama disease, has reached Latin America. And it could spread, affecting crops sold in the United States and Canada. After having been detected in the Middle East, Asia and Australia, many experts were expecting the highly-contagious…

Surviving the contact sport of buying a used car

Beware con artists, smoothies, carpetbaggers, excuse-makers and truth-stretchers

Surviving the contact sport of buying a used carA few months ago, I got the chance to take my own advice and put my money where my mouth is. My daughter needed a cheap but decent used car – something sensible, with back door/seat access and a decent-sized trunk. Budget: $5,000 max. Here are some of the cars we checked out: 2003 BMW…

How the mobile phone industry meets – or fails – customer expectations

Adrian Chung of J.D. Power talks about the results of the company’s latest wireless survey and why trust is such a huge component

How the mobile phone industry meets – or fails – customer expectationsAdrian Chung, director of the technology, media and telecom practice at J.D. Power in Canada. What are the key results and findings you can take from a recent wireless experience survey you did? Chung: In this year’s edition of the J.D. Power Wireless Purchase Experience study, we saw a decline in overall satisfaction of six…

Air Canada, WestJet rank high in airline satisfaction survey

Among traditional North American carriers, Alaska Airlines ranks highest for the 12th consecutive year

Air Canada, WestJet rank high in airline satisfaction surveyThe J.D. Power 2019 North America Airline Satisfaction Study ranks Air Canada as fourth overall in the traditional carrier category and Calgary-based WestJet as third overall in the low-cost carrier category. “Among Canada-based airlines, Air Canada (729) saw its customer satisfaction score decline five points from 2018. WestJet (758) saw its score increase 11 points…

How to decipher those confusing hotel meal plans

American Plan, Modified American Plan, European Plan, Half board? What does it all mean?

How to decipher those confusing hotel meal plansCan you figure out those hotel meal plans? American Plan, Modified American Plan, European Plan, Half board? What does it all mean? If you're looking up hotels in a book or online, you may see that they have meal plans or dining plans listed. There are different "plans" for providing a room and meals and…

Barriers to competition hurt Canadians

Government-erected barriers mean firms have few incentives to improve efficiency, cut costs and satisfy consumers

Barriers to competition hurt CanadiansEconomists love competition. They tell students how competition between firms leads to lower prices and greater quality. Beyond the classroom, few dispute the benefits of competition. So why are so many Canadians unaware that governments across Canada shield close to one-third of the economy from competition? When economists speak of competition, they don’t refer only…

Disruptive platforms create fair market conditions

Peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb bring more resources to the market, increasing supply and lowering prices

Disruptive platforms create fair market conditionsUber drivers in Buenos Aires ask passengers to ride up front to avoid vigilante attacks, since an Argentine judge has ruled Uber illegal and the country’s banks have cut off Uber’s access. The city’s taxi cartel has shut down roads and brought violence and arson upon Uber drivers and vehicles. Yet Uber’s popularity has exploded…

Cellphone industry continues to control the safety message

In the U.S., the industry has influenced science, regulators, public perception and government policy

Cellphone industry continues to control the safety messageWhen industry wants science to say something, how does it do it? Last year, The Nation showed us how in its special investigation, How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe. In 1993, a lawsuit alleged that cellphones caused a woman’s terminal brain cancer. As wireless stocks headed downward, the industry unleashed…

Broader store hours ultimately benefit consumers

In Quebec, the debate rages again – even though the case for deregulation is overwhelming, according to economists

Broader store hours ultimately benefit consumersEvery few years, Quebec discusses store opening hours in the province. There are ebbs and flows to the discussion and we now seem to be at a flow point. The discussion pits smaller stores that want shorter hours versus larger stores that want fewer restrictions on opening hours. Rarely are consumers and workers brought into…

The eBay car lot offers plenty of vehicles, but beware shipping costs

A few things you should know before you start shopping for your next car through the online giant

The eBay car lot offers plenty of vehicles, but beware shipping costsBy now, eBay has become almost as much a part of the public consciousness as Google or Microsoft. Founded almost 25 years ago, it’s far and away the world’s most popular online auction house and, on any given day, millions of visitors peruse its listings. It’s estimated that at least 200 million consumers use it…

The best and the worst cars of 2015 (and some other years)

According to Consumer Reports, there are plenty of good used cars out there from the last decade – and some models to avoid

The best and the worst cars of 2015 (and some other years)Thinking of buying a used car that’s four years old? Well, every year, Consumer Reports publishes its “Best And Worst” automobile issue. This is arguably the most comprehensive and thorough automobile guide and takes a hard, cold look at new and used cars and SUVs. Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, so they have no axes…