Inflation taking a bite out of Islanders’ holiday baking
Inflation is hitting home kitchens across the island, keeping some people from baking what they love this holiday season. The higher ingredient costs are forcing some bakers to change their recipes.
Shianne Wright said baking costs are rising. She has baked cookies, cake pops and other merchandise before a bake sale for The Real Us, a Summerside organization that works to teach people with intellectual disabilities independent living skills.
“We kept track of all sales each week to get the most bang for your buck,” she said. “But it was still quite difficult. Everything is still quite expensive – we had to change what we’re going to bake and what we’re going to sell and make and how we’re going to package it.”
And while Wright said the group will try to keep baked goods costs to a minimum, some prices need to go up.
“I think we don’t have to be as cheap as the other bake sales usually. Because when I was younger, when I was in high school, it was 25 cents, 50 cents for whatever. Now let’s look at the $1, $2, $3 mark.”
Pack smaller portions
Wright worries that some people may no longer be able to afford to spend money on bake sale treats like they have in the past, which would mean less money being raised for the group.
“We’re not just trying to raise money for the company, but also for the members here,” she said. “But the members bake with us and [we] Teach them life skills and how to cook at home, how to be hygienic in the kitchen, safety around the kitchen appliances and the oven.”
To help people combat the increased prices, Wright said she’s packaging some baked goods in smaller portions.
“We did individual items instead of doing two or three in a pack,” she said. “So if someone wants two or is just looking for a few things and has a few dollars, they can still get things.”
The rising cost of ingredients is also impacting Wright’s plans for home baking this holiday season.
“One of the biggest shocks for me was chocolate chips,” she said. “Like I remember when I could buy a bag of chocolate chips for $1.50 when they went on sale, sometimes less than or equal to $1.99, and now a single bag in stores sometimes costs.” $7.99 which is not feasible.”
“It’s like a yo-yo”
A backblogger in PEI said the expense is burning her up too.
Barbara Mayhew runs the blog My Island Bistro Kitchen. She said she tries to use local ingredients, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.
“There’s less butter sales these days, you know, when butter is $7.49 to $8 a pound… It certainly increases the cost of it. You kind of have to watch and see if you can find sales or, you know, find alternatives or substitutes if you can.”
Mayhew said she also kept a close eye on sales to get things at the lowest possible price.
“It’s like a yo-yo,” she said. “You have to look at the flyers and try to have some items on hand before you really need them because the day you really need them they might be $18 and three or four days later they might.” be $12.”
The backblogger said buying no-name items, browsing around, or even making things yourself can also help.
“I think people are doing like me, they’re making their own vanilla now if they can,” Mayhew said. “It’s still expensive to make because of … the two ingredients that go into it, but you make a lot more than 125ml.”
Other home bakers CBC spoke to said rising material costs also mean changes to their baking plans, with some opting for pre-mixed ingredients.
And it means islanders might be missing some staples on dessert plates this year. But Mayhew said others are still handing out their holiday favorites.
“I’m seeing a lot of interest in my holiday recipes this year,” she said. “Especially fruitcakes, which is kind of surprising because they’re one of the most expensive holiday dishes you can make because they have so many expensive glazed fruits and raisins.”