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Canadians have a sweet deal on food, says FCC

REGINA - A new survey sponsored by Farm Credit Canada (FCC) shows that despite a preference for buying Canadian food products, many consumers do not put their money where their mouth is.

Yet Canadians are privileged to pay some of the lowest prices in the world for safe, high-quality food.

According to the spring survey, 95% of respondents agree buying locally grown food is a priority or a preference; but, only 43% are willing to pay more for food grown locally.

Similarly, 96% indicate a preference for purchasing Canadian products, yet only 41% will to pay more for them.

“I’m not surprised by the survey results,” said FCC senior agriculture economist Jean-Philippe Gervais.

“Purchasing decisions are often driven by price. What Canadians might not realize is that average Canadian household spending on food as a portion of the total household budget has decreased from 19% in the 1960s to 10% in 2009, according to statistics from Statistics Canada and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.”

If respondents have a personal connection to agriculture or have visited a farm, purchasing locally grown or Canadian products is more likely to be a priority, and they are also willing to pay more for them. Those respondent knows someone who owns or works on a farm.

“In Canada, we have a sweet deal,” said FCC president Greg Stewart. “We’re fortunate that our farmers and food processors produce safe, high-quality food at some of the lowest prices in the world. I think that it would benefit the industry and our customers if the public knew more about the business of agriculture, and recognized that agriculture is big, dynamic and complex. This industry truly matters to the Canadian economy and to Canadians.”

This country’s agriculture industry employs one in eight people and feeds people around the world through exports to nearly 200 countries.

Other survey highlights:

- Consumers from Ontario were more likely to state that purchasing locally grown and Canadian products (46% and 47% respectively) is a priority and they are willing to pay more for them compared to consumers across other provinces.

- If annual income was greater than $100,000, respondents were more likely to indicate that purchasing locally grown products (53%) and Canadian products (49%) is a priority and that they are willing to pay more.

- Shoppers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (66%) were more likely than others to state that they like purchasing Canadian products, but are unwilling to pay more for them compared to other respondents.

“FCC is deeply committed to the success of Canadian agriculture and intends to do more work to help educate the public about the industry,” Stewart said.

The survey ran from March 8 to 10 online and was conducted among a sample of 2,015 Canadians who are Angus Reid forum panel members. The margin of error on the full base - which measures sampling variability - is plus or minus 2.1%. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. To view survey results, including comparisons by age and province, visit www.fccvision.ca.

 

July 29, 2011

 
 

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