The Nutritious Food Basket

The Nutritious Food Basket (NFB) serves as a tool to monitor the cost and affordability of healthy eating. The Basket describes approximately 60 foods that represent a nutritious diet for individuals in various age and gender groups. Local health units in many provinces in Canada routinely collect and report the annual cost of a NFB in their areas.

This information has been used to demonstrate that social assistance income benefits are inadequate to cover the cost of a health diet as outlined by the NFB, and to meet other basic living expenses. This costing work has highlighted the nutritional vulnerability of social assistance recipients, but the precise relationship of the NFB to food insecurity is unknown. Considering that NFBs may be prepared differently between health units and communities, they should not be compared with each other.

To learn more about the NFB and the methodology used in its development, refer to Food and Nutrition Surveillance, by Health Canada.

Provincial and Territorial Reports

British Columbia
Food costing in BC (2015).
Provincial Health Services Authority[Link]

Cost of eating in Alberta (2008).
Alberta Community Public Health Nutritionists Food Security Subcommittee and Dietitians of Canada, Alberta and the Territories Region [Link]

Edmonton Nutritious Food Basket (2015).
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Economics and Competitiveness Division, Statistics and Data Development Branch. [Link]

The Cost of Healthy Eating in Saskatchewan (2015).
Saskatchewan Food Costing Task Group [Link]

Northern Food Prices Report: Exploring strategies to reduce the high cost of food in northern Manitoba (2003).
Community Health Through Food Security Group [Link]

Nutritious Food Baskets in Ontario are prepared by regional public health units and can be found on their sites.

Nutritious Food Basket Survey Update (2009).
Association of Local Public Health Agencies [Link]

Cost of the Nutritious Food Basket – Toronto (2015).
Medical Officer of Health [Link]

Cost of the Nutritious Food Basket (2015).
Montreal Diet Dispensary [Link]

New Brunswick
Being Poor and Eating Well: Try it!: Results of a 2012 Food Cost Survey in N.B. (2012).
The New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice Inc. [Link]

Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island Pilot Food Costing Project Report (2013).
University of Prince Edward Island and the PEI Food Security Network [Link]

Nova Scotia
Can Nova Scotians afford to eat healthy? Report on 2012 Participatory Food Costing (2012). 
Nova Scotia Food Security Network and the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre at Mount Saint Vincent University in partnership with community partners, and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness [Link]

Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador Nutritious Food (2011).
Regional Nutritionists and Community Dietitians in the Regional Health Authorities, in cooperation with of the Department of Health and Community Services and the NL Statistics Agency [Link]

Northern/Remote communities
2015 Nunavut Food Price Survey (2015)
Nunavut Bureau of Statistics [Link]

Cost of Revised Northern Food Basket in 2013–2014 (2014).
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada [Link]