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New data highlights high cost of healthy eating in B.C.

A new report suggests nutritious diets are unaffordable for many B.C. families and individuals living on low-incomes.

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The Food Costing in BC 2022 report assesses the affordability of healthy eating for individuals and families in the province. According to the latest data, the average monthly cost of a nutritious diet for a family of four in B.C. in May and June 2022 was $1,263 per month. 

“Food insecurity is a significant public health issue,” said Dr. Geoff McKee, medical director of Population and Public Health at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). “The price of food does not affect everyone equally and the root cause of household food insecurity are low incomes.”

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), a part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), collaborates with health authorities and Ministry of Health to monitor the average cost of a nutritious diet in B.C. Food costing is typically conducted every two years; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first food costing report since 2017.

Food costing in B.C. uses a survey tool known as the national nutritious food basket to assess the cost of 61 food items at grocery stores in different parts of the province. According to the report, average monthly costs in 2022 in the five regional health authorities ranged from $1,193 in Fraser Health to $1,366 in Island Health. 

After a review of five different household compositions and income scenarios, the report shows many people and households who live on low incomes, especially on income or disability assistance, cannot afford a nutritious diet after paying rent. 

The report indicates that about four per cent of people in B.C. experience severe food insecurity, which means missing meals, reducing intake or not eating for a day or more at a time. Almost 15 per cent (or 732,000) of people in B.C. struggle to put food on the table.  

“Access to affordable, culturally preferable, nutritious and safe food is critical to the health and wellbeing of British Columbians,” said Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer, Island Health. “Household food insecurity takes a major toll on people's physical and mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and on our provincial health care system.”

Babies, children and youth may experience an increased risk of anemia, lower nutrient intake, asthma and hospitalization as well as have poorer academic outcomes and social skills. Adults living in food insecure households report higher rates of chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It can also lead to symptoms of anxiety, sleep disturbance, social isolation and depression.

Studies have found that health care costs are up to 76 per cent higher for food insecure adults compared to those with sufficient access to healthy food.  

Available to Media

  • Interviews can be accommodated with BCCDC and each of the regional health authorities:
    • Dr. Ariella Zbar, medical health officer, Fraser Health
    • Dr. Fatemeh Sabet, medical health officer, Interior Health
    • Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer, Island Health 
    • Dr. Rakel Kling, medical health officer, Northern Health
    • Dr. Michael Schwandt, medical health officer, Vancouver Coastal Health 
    • Dr. Geoff McKee, medical director, BCCDC Population and Public Health
  • Read the full Food Costing in BC 2022 report 
  • Download a high-resolution infographic that illustrates the affordability of healthy eating in BC

The BC Centre for Disease Control, a part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides public health leadership through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre provides diagnostic and treatment services for people with diseases of public health importance, and analytical and policy support to all levels of government and health authorities. The BCCDC also provides health promotion and prevention services to reduce the burden of chronic disease, preventable injury and environmental health risks. For more, visit or follow us on Twitter @CDCofBC.

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) provides specialized health care services and programs to communities across British Columbia, the territories of many distinct First Nations. We are grateful to all the First Nations who have cared for and nurtured this land for all time, including the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səlil̓w̓ətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations on whose unceded and ancestral territory our head office is located. We work in partnership with other B.C. health authorities and the provincial government to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit or follow us @PHSAofBC


Media contact

Heather Amos
Communications, BCCDC
Provincial Health Services Authority | 604.707.2412
PHSA Media line: 778.867.7472




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