Food Quality in Canada
The study looked at consumer preferences for locally produced foods in Canada, including the willingness to pay more for them. It also explored how consumers feel about greenhouse-grown crops and the role of fruits and vegetables in their diets. It surveyed 10 266 Canadians in early October 2020. In addition, the study explored consumer perceptions of greenhouse-grown food, as well as the relationship between local and global food quality. Moreover, it found that consumers ranked quality and longevity as the most important factors.
The study identified three distinct consumer groups, each with its own set of preferences. This data was complemented by consumer surveys indicating that a growing number of Canadians are interested in local products and food quality. A recent study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that a majority of Canadian consumers were concerned about the quality of their food, including hormones in farm animals, pesticides used in crop production, and genetically engineered foods. As a result, food literacy programs focused on local products can be an excellent way to help them reach this important group of consumers.
While major grocery stores are still the most common source of Canadian produce, many consumers in the Atlantic and Prairie provinces buy locally grown foods as much as possible. In British Columbia, 79.4% of respondents purchased local produce; however, only 10.8% bought their produce from farmer’s markets. However, the definition of local foods varies across the country. For example, while most consumers consider food quality, many of them are concerned about price.
Canadians named the most popular fruits and vegetables
While many Canadians enjoy a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables during their peak season, eating local products can be difficult in winter and summer months. To extend your diet, consider buying produce grown in cold frames, greenhouses, and hoop houses, or other types of farming. However, if growing a variety of vegetables is not feasible in your region, you can always opt for a locally processed vegetable. In addition to these, local-grown produce may be available through various methods, including organic farming.
With globalization and connectivity, consumers’ options are vast and have influenced their purchasing habits. Most Canadians are exposed to multinational brands from birth, so their expectations about quality and choice are deeply rooted in these products. A “Made in Canada” moniker can even influence their purchasing choices. However, it is important to understand that there are limits to what consumers can do in the market to support local, sustainable food. If consumers are willing to pay more for food, then they are likely to do so if they can’t find it anywhere else.
In Ontario, the government is also encouraging Canadian farmers to use local products. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (NFVP) is partnering with three local health units to expand the program. In Ontario, this will mean a boost in access to fresh fruit and vegetables for approximately 13,000 Indigenous children and 40,000 more non-Indigenous children. In Ontario, this program has helped farmers to support their community and meet urgent demands for fresh produce donations.