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Study shows most Canadians prefer local foods


May 26, 2009
By Canadian Pizza

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Study shows most Canadians prefer local foods
Almost 9 out of 10 Canadians (86 per cent) indicate that they prefer to eat locally sourced foods, according to the recent Real Food Survey commissioned by Hellmann's.

May 26, 2009, Toronto – Almost 9 out of 10 Canadians (86 per cent) indicate that they prefer to eat locally sourced foods, according to the recent Real Food Survey commissioned by Hellmann's.
The poll was conducted to gauge the eating habits of Canadians and the results indicate that the real food movement is gaining momentum across the country.

According to the poll, 6 out of 10 Canadians say that they eat more locally sourced food today than they did just two years ago. Awareness levels about where food is being produced also appear high, with 71 per cent saying that they read labels and packages to see where their food is produced, and 68 per cent that they always pay attention to the origins of the food they eat.

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"It's encouraging to hear that such a high proportion of Canadians pay attention to the origins of their food and that so many prefer to eat locally sourced and Canadian items," says Sara Harrel, culinary instructor at George Brown Chef School and founder of The Veg Company. "I'm a huge advocate of knowing where your food comes from."

In addition to eating more locally sourced foods, Canadians also say they are willing to pay more in order to do so, with 77 per cent of respondents saying that they are willing to spend more on a locally produced item versus something similar that's been imported from another country.

When asked where they consider "local food" to be produced, Canadians top answers included "From Canada", "From my province", "From my Backyard", and "From a farmer's market". Sixty per cent also said that they consider packaged goods made with Canadian ingredients to be local food.

There are a number of reasons Canadians cite as to why they are choosing to eat locally sourced foods, with the most popular opinions being:

  • Supports the local economy/keeps farmers in business (45 per cent)
  • Food is fresher (43 per cent)
  • Food is better for you (20 per cent)
  • Better for the environment (19 per cent)

Additional Survey Results:

  • 68 per cent of Canadians say that locally sourced foods taste better than those grown farther away.
  • When asked which food from their provincial ecosystem Canadians would choose to support over all others, the top three results were apples (14 per cent), beef (13 per cent) and potatoes (11 per cent)
  • Paying attention to the origins of where food is produced increases steadily with age, with only 52 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 paying attention versus 76 per cent of those over 50.
  • Women are 10 per cent more likely than men to say that they eat more local food now than two years ago (64 to 54 per cent).

The Real Food Survey was commissioned by Hellmann's and conducted by Harris/Decima between February 26th and March 8th 2009 via their national telephone omnibus-teleVox. It surveyed 2,238 people from across Canada. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.1 per cent.