Healthy Eating


The Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness develops policy and provides funding to organizations to promote healthy eating and improve access to nutritious foods.


Supporting Community Efforts

Initiatives to promote healthy eating and improve access to nutritious foods include:


Affordable Food in Remote Manitoba (AFFIRM)

The goal of AFFIRM is to help make food more affordable in northern Manitoba communities. Especially foods such as milk, fresh vegetables and fruit.

This program reduces the price of milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits through a subsidy. The subsidy is provided to participating stores. Each store is required to pass on the full subsidy to the customer by reducing the sale price of milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit.

The program is monitored to ensure the subsidy is passed on to the customer.

Any store that sells milk, fresh vegetables or fresh fruits in eligible communities can apply to participate.

Healthy foods are often very expensive in northern Manitoba. This is due to factors such as limited road access, transportation costs, fewer stores, and fresh food spoilage. To help make fresh foods more affordable the government worked with leaders in several communities with the highest food prices. For more information visit: Northern Healthy Foods Initiative

Participating communities are Northern Manitoba communities that are not directly serviced by an all-weather road and do not receive the full subsidy through the federal Nutrition North Canada program. Eligible communities where the AFFIRM Program has been established include Churchill and Pukatawagan.

The AFFIRM Subsidy applies to the eligible foods listed in the table below. Eligible retailers are not required to stock every eligible food listed below.

Eligible Food Category Eligible Food Description Additional Details
Fluid Milk and Fortified Soy Beverage Fresh milk (whole, 2%, 1%, skim, buttermilk) Includes all types of fresh cow's milk and other animal milk (e.g., goat milk).
Fresh flavoured milk Includes eggnog and all varieties of fresh flavoured milk (e.g., chocolate, strawberry)
Fortified soy beverage Does not include rice or almond beverages
Fresh Vegetables Fresh vegetables Does not include pumpkins
Fresh Fruits All fresh fruit Not applicable

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Milk prices serve as a general indicator of overall food prices in a community. Milk has a relatively stable selling price that is not prone to major seasonal changes, allowing for comparison of prices between communities. If milk prices are high, typically all other items, including fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, are also high-priced.
  • The higher the average price of milk in a community the higher the subsidy rate we applied for that community.

  • The AFFIRM subsidy is a weight-based subsidy, meaning that the total discount is determined by the weight of the food items purchased. Subsidy rates range from 1.20 to 1.60 per kilogram.
  • The amount of subsidy claimed by the retailer is based on the kilograms of eligible foods that have been shipped to the retailer. For example, if a community has a subsidy rate of $1.20/kg and the retailer submits a claim for a shipment that contained 200kg of vegetables, 100kg of fruits, and 50kg of milk they can claim for 350kg.
  • The subsidy rate for each community determines the dollar amount per kilogram that the retailer will receive. Therefore, if the community rate is $1.20 per kg, for 350 kg the retailer will receive $420 (350 kg X $1.20).
  • The full subsidy must then be passed on to the customers. For example, if a customer in a community where the subsidy rate is $1.20/ kg buys a 2kg bag of apples they should pay a price that was reduced by $2.40 ($1.20 x 2kg).

  • The Government of Manitoba has developed a robust reporting and monitoring process:
    • Retailers signed formal agreements that set out their responsibilities.
    • Participating retailers are required to submit reports as part of the claims process and to make the dollar savings on eligible food items visible to customers through in-store signage and `shelf-talkers' (placed on the grocery store shelf near the product). Also, they must submit to audits of their accounts and records at the request of the province.
    • The province has engaged volunteer Price Checkers to perform regular price checks, of a standard list of eligible foods items, in participating retailers in each community.

  • There are many reasons why some types of fruits and vegetables are still relatively expensive:
    • Many fruits and vegetables experience seasonal changes in pricing. If you are buying a fruit or vegetable that is not in season you will likely pay more for it than you would if you bought it during its peak season (for example, strawberries are often less expensive in the summer).
    • The subsidy is based on weight, so some items, such as herbs and greens (which are relatively light weight) will not receive as big of a discount as heavier items such as potatoes or squash.

  • Food prices are often higher outside of major population centres. AFFIRM is specifically directed to non-road access communities which experience some of the highest prices in the province.

Other resources

To speak directly to a registered dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating, please visit Dial-A-Dietitian.

To find nutrition programs and dietitian services in your area, please visit your Regional Healthy Authority's webpage.

For information about breakfast, lunch and snack programs and school nutrition guidelines, please visit Manitoba Healthy Food in Schools.

To learn tips for healthy eating and how to create a balanced meal, please visit Canada's Food Guide and Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - First Nations, Inuit and Métis.