Food Options in Downtown Winnipeg Scarce: Report

Food Matters ManitobaThe lack of available food options for residents living downtown is ringing alarm bells for a food advocacy group.

Food Matters Manitoba says with the closure of three grocery stores in the past two years, finding healthy food in downtown Winnipeg is a key challenge many people are facing.

“Rising levels of food related chronic disease are increasing health care costs for all Manitobans,” said Kreesta Doucette, executive director for Food Matters Manitoba, “With health care already eating up almost 50% of the provincial budget we can’t afford to wait to start taking preventative action to increase food security in vulnerable areas like downtown.”

The group says many residents also live with limited incomes and face economic barriers to accessing food, making the case for a grocery store in the area all that more important.

Through a food assessment conducted with its stakeholders, including The Winnipeg Foundation, Food Matters Manitoba found…

  • The distance to grocery stores has increased by 50% since 2011.
  • 1 in 5 Winnipeggers live, work or study in Winnipeg’s downtown deemed Winnipeg’s least healthy neighbourhood
  • 116,000 downtown residents, workers, and students spend around $35 M on groceries annually, yet only 15-20% of that stays downtown.
  • The average income of downtown residents is less than half of the city average.
  • The downtown community has a higher proportion of residents living with diabetes, at 10.3% compared to the city average of 8.2%.

The report also identifies solutions and action-based recommendations for the future. The complete findings of the report will be released this morning at Agape Table (175 Colony Street) at 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.