More Canadians actively looking to buy Canadian Food

·3 min read

A survey by Farm Credit Canada indicates that more Canadians are actively seeking out Canadian-produced food.

The survey, conducted between January 8 and 12, 2021, saw six out of 10 Canadians say they are more likely to purchase Canadian-made or Canadian-grown food.

“We had surveyed 2000 Canadians across the country, reflective of how the country is divided, and the reason we did it is in advance of Canada’s Agriculture Day, this one day a year where we celebrate Canadian food, we just wanted to know what consumers were thinking,” said Marty Seymour, Director of Industry Relations with FCC.

Seymour’s family comes from Carnduff, Saskatchewan where they grew canola and raised cattle.

The survey showed around 56 per cent of Canadians are more likely to look for Canadian-made or grown food while 50 per cent are more likely to think about how their food is grown.

“I think this means opportunity, in the last ten years in agriculture we’ve been talking about trust in food and for me, it’s somewhat inspiring to see that six in ten Canadians, since the pandemic, are more likely to buy Canadian-grown food. That to me is a clear demonstration that consumers trust Canadians and I think part of it infers the idea that we are supporting Canadian companies. We see that in retail we see that in food and we see it everywhere.”

In the same survey, eight out of 10 Canadians say that Canada’s food system and agricultural sector have adapted and responded well to the pandemic, a total of 94 per cent of respondents say they support Canada’s agricultural sector.

Seymour noted an ongoing discussion regarding producers and their appreciation. Seymour says the survey shows many producers do not feel that they are appreciated by the public. The survey found that 91 per cent of respondents agreed with this sentiment.

“I think there’s always tension within the farm community whether farmers feel appreciated or not. I think that’s fair. Maybe what this research does is validate with a third party that these farmers are appreciated. I think it’s also interesting that 80% of people are just now learning more about how their food is produced.

"I don’t care what industry you’re in, when people want to understand how you make or grow your food, that just brings you closer to your customers and I think the outcome to that loyalty to the Canadian food production system,” Seymour explained.

“In the early days of the pandemic, when we were looking for N-95 masks and everybody was trying to get their PPE for food processing, people were unsure about the Canadian food system, but now nine out of ten Canadians in our research said that we should celebrate the industry. I think that’s pretty cool when there are these people who aren’t even connected to the food industry saying we should celebrate them.”

Seymour noted that despite all the hardships brought on by the pandemic, the increased awareness to the Canadian agriculture industry is a silver lining.

“I don’t see any downside to this heightened awareness and heightened interest in the Canadian food system. Whether it lasts or not, the idea that we’ve invited more people to the table and they’re curious about how their food is produced has no downside.

"Whether it lasts or not doesn’t matter to me today, I’ll take advantage of this time to help people learn more,” Seymour said. “If that’s a win from the pandemic, as much downside as we’ve seen, if Canadians feel more supportive of Canadian farmers? I’ll take that.

“The events over the past year have shown us that in times of crisis, the Canadian agriculture industry continues to provide safe and reliable food. Canadians have noticed and are responding with appreciation for the agriculture and food industry’s ability to adapt, even under difficult circumstances.”

Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator