Canada-wide survey on buying local fruits and vegetables - Three out of four Canadians prefer buying local
Montreal, September 1st , 2011 – According to an extensive nation-wide survey conducted by Léger Marketing, in partnership with Equiterre, three out of four Canadians (78%) say that they prefer to buy local. The survey, “Eating at Home”, was designed to identify the motivations and obstacles related to buying locally grown food for Canadian homes.
“This survey enables us to gauge just how interested Canadians are in buying local, while also helping us to better understand that their motives for buying local are more political than environmental,” explains Geneviève Puskas, Researcher, Equiterre. Of the Canadians that prefer buying local, 94% are motivated by encouraging the local economy. The survey also revealed that Canadian consumers would rather buy national products, even from a far-away province, than buy products from the United States – even when they live closer to the American border than to the province where the product comes from.
Generally, where the food comes from is more important than its organic profile, evidenced by the majority of respondents (70%), who indicated that they would rather buy a non-organic tomato that was locally raised, rather than an organic tomato from California or Florida.
Walking the talk?
In order to understand actual buying habits and the strength of their convictions, consumers were asked if they purchased strawberries in winter. Almost 42% of those that prefer buying local admitted to doing so. “The survey shows us that a large segment of consumers will often opt for diversity over origin or seasonality,” adds Puskas.
Solutions to encourage buying local
“Based on what the survey is telling us, Canadians are ready to consume more locally-grown fruits and vegetables, but the conditions necessary to making this happen are not all there yet,” laments Nadine Bachand, Project Manager – Agriculture and Pesticides, Equiterre. The findings of this survey also show that better identification, increased availability and greater variety would encourage consumers to buy more local fruits and vegetables. “The bio-food policy that the Quebec government will adopt in the coming year must offer concrete solutions for increasing the availability of local products in our grocery stores. Quebec should even require food retailers to buy a certain quota of local products,” comments Bachand.
“When identifying local products, it might be interesting to design a strategy that can be adapted to where consumers live and where they buy food. For example, a local fruit shop with a loyal consumer base can simply provide identification information on the shelves or include it in their buying policies, while large chains would be required to provide that information on a label,” explains Puskas.
This survey did not permit us to establish a socio-demographic profile of the respondents who prefer buying local or to determine whether income significantly influenced these habits, unlike other studies.
To view the complete results of the survey “Eating at Home – Canadian households and the motivations and obstacles related to buying local”, as well as Equiterre’s recommendations, visit www.equiterre.org/publications
The Canada-wide survey “Eating at Home” was conducted by Léger Marketing from August 5-14, 2010. The sample size was of 1,121 Canadians, all of whom were over 18 years of age and able to express themselves in English or French.
Équiterre received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organisations. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.
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