“I don’t know how a family of four or more children can afford to purchase milk and feed their family”

By Kayla Fraser
Oct. 16, 2014

Dawn MacDougall doesn’t know how some bigger families can afford milk in Charlottetown.
She raised five children, so she knows how much milk they can drink.
A survey done by Field Agent Canada found Islanders on average paying $7.24 for four litres of milk, more than $2 above the national average. It’s a lot of money, MacDougall said.
“I don’t know how a family of four or more children can afford to purchase milk and feed their family and be healthy. I understand why people are putting water or sugary drinks or something you can get in the store for a dollar for two litres on the table, because they need the drink.”
She’s not alone.
Josh Biggley is originally from Ontario and he said the price was milk was lower there.
It’s disappointing to see sugary drinks on dinner tables as opposed to healthier options, said the father of four.
“When we came here, we ended up spending double on our milk budget, so I think it really hurts people. It probably hurts the low-income families too.”
Tammy MacKay is a mother of eight. The cost of milk affects her family because she can’t spend her whole food budget on milk.
“With so many growing children, you want to give them milk for their bones and all these things, but the fact is when you’re paying eight bucks or whatever for a gallon of milk, that’s ridiculous.”
Six years ago, she and her family lived in Alberta, where milk prices were almost half price the price in P.E.I.
“I think if they want people to want their kids to be healthy here, they need to work on the price of milk.”
Rand MacKay is a father of five. Even though he is affected by the cost of milk, he understands the business side of things, he said.
“My understanding is that the prices are kept high to ensure profitability for farmers, which I understand why they do that. And if that’s true, that’s fair and that’s fine. But it does pass along to the consumers.
“I certainly want to see farmers succeed and I want to see the agriculture business on P.E.I. be viable, but I don’t want it to be on the backs of consumers.”
Heather Hirtle gets that argument. Many years ago, ADL agreed to charge a certain amount for their milk and no less to avoid undercuts, she said.
“It’s not a bad thing, I mean farmers need to make money too. Why should they be poor?”
Of her four children, her youngest son lives with her, but she’s not upset about the prices.
“It doesn’t bother me. We may pay a little bit more for our milk, but still, when you think about what it takes to produce milk, is it really that big of cost?”
Michel Arsenault has other concerns.
Only he and his two oldest children drink cow milk. His wife and youngest child drink soy or rice milk.
“It’s pretty expensive to buy milk. I guess for cow milk, I think the price is higher than we would expect to pay, but because we buy the soy and the rice milk, it’s actually pretty comparable.”
However, there is one advantage, he said.
“Sometimes the rice and soy milk actually go one sale, so that’s easier to determine.”