Canadians adjusting to food, gas prices, Investors Group poll finds



    Majority say they are paying more for food, plan to change shopping and
    eating habits

    WINNIPEG, June 17 /CNW/ - Buffeted by continuing increases in gas and
energy prices, Canadians are also preparing to change their eating habits and
how they shop for food, according to an Investors Group poll. Seventy-five
percent of those surveyed said they have noticed they have begun to pay more
for food in the last three months. And half of the respondents (48 percent)
indicated they have already begun to substitute cheaper products for more
expensive ones.
    The poll also showed that Canadians are continuing to change how they
travel as a result of rising gasoline and fuel costs. Half (51 percent) are
cutting back on using their automobile, compared to 48 percent who said they
planned to cut back last year.
    While concern about rising prices appears to be prompting lifestyle
changes, a number of Canadians are also worried about the sustainability of
renewable resource supplies. Nearly half (46 percent) say they think the
world's supply will be depleted within the next generation.
    "Canadians are taking a practical approach in managing their household
budgets by implementing selective lifestyle and consumer changes," said Myron
Knodel, advanced financial planning expert with Investors Group. "Without
speculating on price trends, the important message to note is that adjusting
budgets to suit lifestyle and circumstances will always bring you closer to
achieving your personal long term financial goals."

    Canadians consider trimming down food buying habits

    Despite the fact that food prices have increased only 1.2 percent in the
past year (Statistics Canada - April 2008) concern about potential increases
in the price of food has many Canadians considering further changes in how
they eat and how they shop for food. These changes include:

    
    -   Eating at home rather than going out for a meal (87 percent)
    -   Buying local produce that does not need to be transported so far
        (85 percent)
    -   Giving up exotic or out-of-season fruits and vegetables (55 percent)
    -   Growing their own vegetables (46 percent)
    -   Eating less meat (41 percent)
    

    It appears that continuing food price increases could trigger some
behaviour changes by Canadians. Nine percent of respondents said they would
substitute cheaper products for more expensive ones if food prices rose by ten
percent while another 13 percent of Canadians said they would consider doing
so if prices increased 20 percent.

    Automobile use, travel plans changing

    An overwhelming 83 percent of drivers say they plan to choose a vehicle
that uses fuel more efficiently when they purchase or lease their next car.
Forty-four (44) percent of Canadians say they are likely to change their
vacation travel plans this summer because of higher gas prices or airline fuel
surcharges.

    Other changes

    Reinforcing findings from last year's Investor's Group energy poll, this
year 63 percent of Canadians say they will have to cut back on other things
they buy to pay for higher prices and increased energy costs, compared with
53 percent in 2007.
    As well, 66 percent of Canadians say that the rising cost of gasoline,
energy and food will reduce the amount of money they can save and invest
similar to the 64 percent from last year's poll.

    Canadians worried about rising inflation but unclear on rate

    Looking ahead, a majority of Canadians (62 percent) are worried that
inflation will increase in the next 12 months. While Canada's inflation rate
is currently 1.7 percent, only 14 percent of respondents pegged the inflation
rate between one and two percent. One quarter (26 percent) of Canadians
believe it is between two and three percent. One-third (32 percent) believe
that the inflation rate is three percent or more.

    A total of 1,030 surveys were completed with Canadian adults 18 years of
age and older between June 5th, 2008 and June 9th, 2008, using the Harris
Decima Televox national telephone survey. A sample of 1,030 respondents
provides estimated proportions that are accurate to within, at most, +/- 3.1%
at the 95% confidence level. That is, 95 times out of 100, the real value of
the variable in the total population will lie within +/- 3.1% of the estimated
proportions provided by the sample. One time out of 20, the real value of the
variable in the population will fall outside this range.

    Investors Group, founded in 1926, is a national leader in delivering
personalized financial solutions to Canadians through a network of over 4,300
Consultants located throughout Canada. In addition to an exclusive family of
mutual funds and other investment vehicles, Investors Group offers a wide
range of insurance, securities, mortgage and other financial services.
Investors Group is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of
companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada's premier financial services
companies with over $124 billion in total assets under management





For further information:

For further information: Ron Arnst, Investors Group, (204) 956-3364,
ron.arnst@investorsgroup.com; Teresa Pagnutti or Meredith Adolph, Environics
Communications, (416) 969-2721/(416) 969-2667,
tpagnutti@environicspr.com/madolph@environicspr.com

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