Fact Sheet: Revised Northern Food Basket


The Revised Northern Food Basket (RNFB) is the tool that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada currently uses to monitor trends in the cost of healthy eating in isolated northern communities eligible for the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program.

Between 1990 and 2007, the department monitored the cost of healthy eating in these communities using the Northern Food Basket. It was consistent with the nutrition recommendations in place at the time. In 2007, the basket was renamed to the Revised Northern Food Basket to reflect information from nutrition surveys as well as updated nutrition recommendations in the Dietary Reference Intakes and the new version of Canada's Food Guide.


The RNFB is an example of a nutritious diet for a family of four for one week. The combination of foods in the basket meets most nutrient requirements and food serving recommendations in Canada's Food Guide for the four family members: a man and a woman aged between 31 and 50, and a boy and a girl aged between 9 and 13.


The weekly basket includes 67 foods in the quantities shown in the table below:

Category Food Quantity Unit of measure
Dairy products 2% milk, fresh or UHT 4.76 L
Mozzarella cheese 0.485 kg
Processed cheese slices 0.385 kg
Yogurt 1.67 kg
Evaporated 2% milk 1.58 L
Skim milk powder 0.09 kg
Meat and alternatives Large eggs 8 eggs
Chicken drumsticks 2.68 kg
Pork chops, loin centre-cut 1.21 kg
Ground beef, lean 1.34 kg
T-bone steak 0.47 kg
Sliced ham 0.135 kg
Frozen fish sticks 0.135 kg
Canned pink salmon 0.27 kg
Canned sardines in soya oil 0.27 kg
Canned ham 0.2 kg
Bologna 0.06 kg
Wieners 0.1 kg
Peanut butter 0.09 kg
Canned pork-based luncheon meat 0.05 kg
Canned corned beef 0.04 kg
Canned beans with pork 0.29 L
Canned beef stew 0.18 kg
Canned spaghetti sauce with meat 0.155 L
Grain products Bread, enriched white 0.66 kg
Bread, 100% whole wheat 0.66 kg
Flour, all purpose 1.92 kg
Pilot biscuits 0.275 kg
Macaroni or spaghetti 0.385 kg
Rice, long-grain parboiled white 0.33 kg
Rolled oats 0.275 kg
Corn flakes 0.44 kg
Macaroni and cheese dinner 0.55 kg
Fruit and vegetables Oranges 1.23 kg
Apple juice, frozen concentrate 0.033 L
Orange juice, frozen concentrate 0.282 L
Apple juice, TetraPak 0.88 L
Orange juice, TetraPak 0.375 L
Canned whole tomatoes 0.215 L
Canned tomato sauce 0.3 L
Apples 4.38 kg
Bananas 3.58 kg
Grapes 0.5 kg
Canned fruit cocktail in juice 0.855 L
Canned peaches in juice 0.285 L
Canned pineapple in juice 0.285 L
Fresh potatoes 3 kg
Frozen French fries 0.48 kg
Instant potato flakes 0.22 kg
Carrots 2 kg
Onions 0.695 kg
Cabbage 0.52 kg
Turnips 0.35 kg
Frozen broccoli 0.695 kg
Frozen carrots 0.26 kg
Frozen corn 0.26 kg
Frozen mixed vegetables 1.74 kg
Canned green peas 0.9 L
Canned kernel corn 1.09 L
Canned green beans 0.315 L
Canned carrots 0.325 L
Canned mixed vegetables 0.545 L
Oils, fats and sugar Margarine, non-hydrogenated 0.715 kg
Butter 0.065 kg
Canola oil 0.185 L
Lard 0.105 kg
Sugar, white 0.6 kg

The foods in the basket weigh approximately 52 kilograms in total.

The foods in the basket were chosen based on food consumption surveys of Inuit and First Nations conducted by AANDC and other researchers. Some foods were replaced with more nutritious alternatives (for example, canola oil replaces corn oil) and the quantity of some foods was adjusted, where necessary, to meet nutrition recommendations and the recommended number of servings in Canada's Food Guide.

Traditional (country) food is important to most Inuit and First Nations living in the North. Although most Northern diets contain some traditional food, it was not included in the basket because it tends to be obtained through subsistence activity, rather than purchased from stores like all other items in the RNFB.

Calculating the Cost of the RNFB:

The cost of the basket is calculated using an average price for each of the 67 foods it contains. The average price is for a specific package size based on all brands available in the store. For example, in the case of fresh 2% milk, we determine the average price of a 2L carton (the most popular size) using the price of every brand of milk available in the store. We then use the average price to determine the cost of 4.76L of 2% milk, which is the total amount of milk in the RNFB. If there is more than one store that provided price information for a given community, an average of all stores is used to determine the cost of the RNFB for that community.


Like most other nutritious food baskets, the RNFB is based on average purchasing or consumption data for a particular population group as a starting point to determine the kinds and quantities of foods to be included. Therefore, it is not typical of the food preferences of any specific family. Most baskets do not include the cost of eating out, prepared convenience foods and foods of little nutritional value which means that they are not representative of food consumption or expenditure in the population concerned. They do, however, provide a useful benchmark for comparing the cost of a nutritious diet in different communities over time.

Nutritious food baskets are not intended to recommend or promote the consumption of any specific food included in the baskets. The choices of items within each food group are not all of equal nutritional value, and are not necessarily the most economical or nutritious foods that could be consumed to meet nutrition recommendations.

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