Groceries in Inuvik: An average bill

People often ask me about the price of groceries and food in Inuvik.

Therefore: I present my grocery bill from last Saturday!

I’ve highlighted fresh foods in green, and two items I found expensive in red.

Variety pack of Oatmeal: (big box): $8.10
Box of cereal (double size) cranberry almond crunch: $10.64 on sale.
Bag of medium-size oranges (4lbs) $4.99
Bag of potatoes (small ones) 2lbs $4.99
Dry crackers, Ryvita brand. (small box) $3.75
Mixed frozen vegetables, 1 large bag. $6.06
Sobe juice drink, 591ml, $2.99
Grapefruit $1.31
Fish burgers (mahi-mahi) 1.36kg $26.73
Cucumber (one, English cucumber, good size) $4.99
Fresh vegetables for salad (mix bag of broccoli and cauliflower) $7.69
Six bagels $4.60
Three peppers (red, yellow, orange) $5.99
Loaf of 12-grain bread, $6.55
2 litre carton of milk, $7.95
Iceberg lettuce (one head) $2.49
Frozen juice can (concentrated pink lemonade) $2.16
Jar of dill pickles, 1.5 litres $8.91
Plum sauce, 500ml, $5.05
White chocolate chips for baking, 225 grams, $5.57 
Raisin pie, pre-made in box, $5.31
Frozen orange juice concentrate, one can: $4.37
Vegetarian egg rolls, pack of many (1.3 kilograms) $14.59
One can of coconut juice, 520ml, $2.55


25 responses to “Groceries in Inuvik: An average bill

  1. I almost threw up the first time I went to Northern. I despaired. I thought we couldn’t possibly stay.

  2. Well, here is the way I see it. It’s the arctic circle, and bringing food costs a lot of money…when people say groceries should be cheaper here, they are saying “someone else should pay for part of my groceries.” The cost comes with the location, it’s not that companies are greedy.

    Here’s a metaphor I enjoy: If I climb a mountain, can I order a pizza and complain if it doesn’t arrive in 30 minutes or less? No, because it’s unreasonable for the pizza guy. The same thing applies; of course living thousands of miles away from the production of food will have costs.

    How much should it cost to bring bananas from Costa Rica to Inuvik anyway?

    Could we do better? Probably a little — but the reality is that it takes a lot of oil and manpower to bring something like a pineapple to Inuvik. Furthermore, a company like Northern has to account for as much as one third of produce spoiling, before anyone buys it.

    Given that companies have utilities, staff salaries, etc, and have to cover the cost of all that spoiled food…I think it’s pretty amazing we have access to so much good food up here.

    Call me an optimist, I guess!

  3. wow now THAT’S expensive….. although your ORANGES were LESS expensive than CALIFORNIA.. weird huh??
    If ya want.. send me your mailing ADDRESS if it please ya …… and ILL send you the BEST intense chocolate cookies in the ENTIRE universe, if not the galaxy…….AND!!!!!!!! all home made to…… and FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! id send ya at LEAST several dozen…:)
    please advise……

  4. Ya know, I don’t mind paying what we do for groceries, but as others have posted elsewhere, what really gets me is when the prices go up the day the road closes.
    It then takes days, if not weeks, for prices to come down on stuff when the road re-opens.
    I can see that for some of the fresh stuff, but when it is food they have had on the shelves for weeks (and sometimes months), there needs to be some explaining going on.

  5. north of 60,/> the same thing happens with GAS down in this neck of the woods. its called CAPITALISM at its best….:)

  6. Evolution Matters

    Dude, don’t want to worry you but you bought a bunch of crap. Have you ever wondered why the Inuits didn’t have health problems before mid-seventies and then their health plunged as NYSE? They did what you did. Stick to local food and stay safe- Monkeys don’t eat salmon and Inuits don’t eat bananas, it’s evolutionary physiology. Cold-acclimation goes with adaptive changes for high-fat diet in the mitochondria.

  7. Pingback: If you are a bargain grocery shopper… | Live Rich & Free

  8. I’m in the US, and though the prices in Inuvik ARE considerably higher than what I am used to, I honestly can’t believe they don’t get more money for the items (especially the fresh stuff, produce, etc). Here in Ohio, a box of crackers runs me between 3-4 dollars at Kroger. Prices are going up EVERYWHERE. The things Phil pointed out make a lot of sense, though I know a lot of people up north tend to buy local as they can grow a lot of good stuff in the greenhouse.

  9. This ist our weekly budget for a 3-person-family in Germany. How long does your grocery last? I guess, it also all depends on the income? Isn´t there a tax discount for people living in the north???

  10. Phil, you should show your Bill again next week, see how the road closure effects the prices. 🙂 Nice selection of different items. Good job!

  11. I was in Inuvik for a few days last summer. Recently, I found a grocery receipt bill wadded up at the bottom of a purse. The prices weren’t that terrible, especially since I was coming from Dawson City. I remember thinking that Inuvik residents were lucky to have two decent grocery stores.

    I was told that prices vary according to the season, with things being cheaper during the summer. Has that been your experience

    During my time up north, I learned to stock up during sales and buy what I could afford instead of what I wanted.

  12. I live in Auckland, New Zealand and food products are also really expensive here. Being only 4 millions to share the cost of transporting products into the middle of the Pacific adds quite a lot to the grocery bill. The good side of living here is that a lot of people have gardens and fruit trees on their property and really make the most of it. I have often seen them on school grounds too. Our grocery bill is less than yours Phil but still too high for a growing number of people. Growing sprouts would be one way to get some greens at the low cost. By the way, Happy Birthday!

    • Hi Renee. Did you study at Orewa College at the End of the 90s? Maybe we had Music Studies together? Renee is not such a common name and it would be funny if it was really you.
      Regards from Germany, Johannes

  13. Wow that’s a lot of money. Thank goodness that I’ve seen something similar back in Lake Louise village(not quite like that but still expensive). Otherwise, my jaw would have been dropped so low. I’m heading there next month cuz I’m dying to see arctic. Guess I just have to bite the bullet.

  14. i promise i will never complain about prices in new york. last week i paid $1.99 for a gallon of milk and 89 cents for a cucumber. but it’s all about transport. people who have been to hawaii say the same thing, because everything has to get there on a ship. thanks for giving me a bit of perspective….

  15. The price of food is a common complaint in Inuvik, but it’s a bonanza to folks shopping here from any of the surrounding communities where they pay even more. I recently saw a Facebook group whimpering about the high price of food in Yellowknife. It’s all relative.
    What’s never mentioned, however, is the $15 dollar a day Northern Residents Deduction or the $13,000 Northern Living Allowance tacked onto most paychecks.

  16. Let’s put this in perspective: in Vancouver, that can of coconut juice is 99 cents.

  17. I met your GF on a flight to Inuvik. She’s given me plenty of recommendation on what to do there. I quite enjoyed my stay there except cost of 6 packs that me and my bud paid at Mackenzie Hotel cuz the one and only liquor store was closed by the time we got there. It’s 36 bucks for Klondike!(Well, it was New Year’s eve, gotta buy anyway)

  18. P.S pass my thanks to her

  19. Pingback: Grocery bills: This Saturday in Inuvik: Total is $115.01 | Life in Inuvik, Northwest Territories

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