Food affordability is the top overall concern for Canadians, reveals a public trust research study conducted for the newly launched Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.
The survey found that 69% of Canadians consider the rising cost of food as their top concern, second only to keeping healthy food affordable at 66%. Rising health-care costs (58%), rising energy costs (57%) and the Canadian economy (56%) lagged behind.
The 2016 Canadian Public Trust Research study was unveiled during the newly launched centre’s first annual Public Trust Summit in Ottawa this week. A division of Farm & Food Care Canada, the centre was created to help Canada’s food system earn public trust.
The study found 53% of Canadians are more concerned about the affordability of healthy food than they were a year ago.
“Food affordability is really high and the highest level we’ve ever seen,” says Crystal Mackay, CEO of Farm & Food Care Canada, adding that most Canadians do not believe food in this country is among the most affordable in the world.
The research was conducted from Feb. 19 to March 10 and involved 2,510 participants representative of Canada’s population from Ipsos Reid’s Online Household Panel.
It built on previous waves of the Farm Issue Survey conducted since 2001 and incorporated consumer trust research conducted by The Center for Food Integrity in the U.S. since 2007.
When participants were asked to name the Top 5 principles of food and farming, the affordability of food in Canada was rated most important to Canadians at 35%, a huge increase from 2012 when only 19% judged the issue as the most important.
The overall health of Canadians (22%) was second most important, while food safety and the environment were tied for third. Topics like animal welfare ranked much lower.
The study also found only 30% believe the Canadian food system is going in the right direction, while 21% think it’s on the wrong track and 50% are not sure. That compares with 40% of Americans who believe their food system is going the right way.
While farmers are viewed favourably by 69% of Canadians, grocery stores and food retailers are viewed favourably by only 39% and food industry associations by 30%. In addition, only 23% trust that the government food inspection system ensures the safety of Canadian food.
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Mackay notes that some of the sectors that have the most at stake in the food industry are “rated very low in trust on all the food system issues.”
Source: Canadian Grocer
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