From an economic perspective, 2023 is shaping up to be the first “normal” year – notably without lockdowns – since 2019. Four years later, what’s the new normal? Our journalists look at this question from different angles. This week: awards.

The prices that have risen everywhere over the past three years – and particularly on the shelves of grocery stores – have caused changes in some of our lifestyles.

“We are experiencing a loss of bearings. The previous budget no longer holds. We have to review our things, because the bank account is going down faster. Just the growing grocery store, with seven children, that puts a dent in the budget. »

Dominique Bernèche is at the head of Les Belles combines. The company that already helps families better plan their daily lives is about to launch Octave, an application that will remind us (and more!) that it’s time to go to the dentist, the hairdresser or take out the compost . The idea: to simplify our complicated life, pressed by external stressors, including the budget.

Dominique is also a mother of seven children.

Inflation has created a very anxiety-provoking climate for everyone, she says. “A panic gripped us. »

This made planning particularly risky. “Before, you made your budget and you knew roughly what normal inflation would be,” illustrates Dominique Bernèche.

Nearly three-quarters of consumers are still concerned about day-to-day costs, according to Deloitte’s latest survey conducted in April 2023. That’s a slight improvement – as this concern dominated 83% of Canadians in 2022, according to the same study.

Over the past two years, food prices have increased by 18% in Canada. A report released earlier this month by Royal Bank indicated that despite some stabilization in the price of the grocery cart, a return to pre-pandemic benchmarks should not be expected.

For part of the population, it was an opportunity to regain control of their finances. And sometimes his life.

So as the budget has to balance, at Dominique, it is the vehicles that have gone to the bottom of the list of priorities, for the moment. Living in the countryside also saves money. The family creates hobbies rather than paying for a panoply of courses and camps.

The Too Good to Go app was launched seven years ago in France. Seven years is not a long time in the life of a company, but huge if it includes three more or less intense pandemic years. Especially if its mandate is to fight against food waste.

A Léger poll conducted last year concluded that 7 out of 10 Quebecers (71%) wanted to change their eating habits because food prices had risen, said Nicolas Dot, who runs the Canadian branch of Too Good to Go.

“Inflation has been a catalyst for acceleration in the last few months, the last few years,” says Nicolas Dot.

Since 2021, the French group with the English name has been present in Canada. In Quebec, the application can be found in five markets: Montreal, Quebec, Gatineau, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières since the beginning of June.

Concretely, this application allows the user to collect unsold items from a food store – greengrocers, bakeries, restaurants, etc. –, but it is the merchant who decides what he puts in the basket.

If, at the start, the clientele was mainly made up of young eco-citizens, with prices rising at the grocery store as elsewhere, the economic incentive took up a lot of space, specifies Nicolas Dot.

The clientele has grown. Students and young families remain the hard core. But more retirees have joined the ranks. And Mr. and Mrs. Everybody for whom the attraction of the economy weighed heavily in the balance. “We can see it,” said Nicolas Dot. Before it was more nested, but we feel that we are passing on a mass audience. »

Despite all these upheavals in our lifestyles, the founder of Belles Combines doubts that awareness is widespread.

“I think it’s idealistic to believe that,” says Dominique Bernèche, who sometimes feels marginalized in her life choices.

And that’s normal, she said. No one wants to slow down their pace of life. “We work hard to increase our quality of life,” continues Dominique Bernèche. We expect each year to be able to live a little better. To improve our situation. »

This makes him fear that the debt ratio will continue to rise.

The latest report from Equifax confirms that it is on the rise: total consumer debt rose 4.9% in one year and in the first quarter of 2023, credit card balances continued to increase.

This is the proportion of people who believe that prices will increase over the next year and roughly the same proportion expects to experience a recession in Quebec.

The price of food in Quebec increased by a quarter between May 2019 and May 2023, according to Statistics Canada.