The rising cost of food remains a key concern for Canadian consumers

Connecting with Canadians.

That’s the title for this year’s Canadian Centre of Food Integrity (CCFI) report, unveiled at the recent Public Trust Summit held at Saskatoon, Sask. While some findings of the survey remained constant,  other opinions on food and farming have changed significantly.

Paighton Smyth, partner engagement coordinator for CCFI, says that since 2016, they ask the big question of, “Do you think Canada’s food system is on the right track or moving in the wrong direction?”

This year, the research focused on three key areas:

  • Public Trust Tracking: Key Issues within Canada’s Food System
  • Digital Ethnography: A Deeper Dive into the ‘Investigator’ and ‘Competitor’ Consumer (hear about what digital ethnography is, here)
  • Online Conversations: What Messages Resonate with Canadian Consumers

Statistics surrounding which direction the food system is going only had about a one per cent decrease overall for Canada. However, Americans who were asked the same question changed their answer this year by a lot.

“We reached out to our U.S. counterparts and the U.S. CFI said that they’ve been seeing this as an overall increase in social anxiety and concern due to the ongoing contentious political environment and the uncertainty it creates in the U.S.,” Smyth says. “Because of that, the “right direction” has completely decreased, the “unsure” has grown, along with the “wrong direction” has grown for their 2019 results compared to last year.” (article continues below player)

Surveyors were also asked about what concerns them when it comes to life in general such as healthcare costs, unemployment, food safety, and food affordability. The top five issues for Canadians remained unchanged for this year (the rising cost of food was the top concern for the fourth year in a row at 64 per cent). Keeping healthy food affordable is the second concern, followed by rising healthcare costs, rising energy costs, and the safety of food imported from outside of Canada.

Other key findings include a large proportion of Canadians claim they know little to very little or even nothing about modern farming and suggest the term aligns more with factory farms, and poor conditions for an animal. On the bright side, 60 per cent of those surveyed are interested in knowing more about the industry.

For the full break down of this year’s report, click here.

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