Ac­cess to healthy, af­ford­able food re­mains top pri­or­ity for Cana­di­ans

New re­search re­veals the pub­lic’s de­sire to know more about food and our food sys­tem

The Woolwich Observer - - RURAL CONNECTIONS -

CANA­DI­ANS ARE MOST

CON­CERNED with the ris­ing cost of food and the af­ford­abil­ity of healthy food for the third year in a row, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­search re­leased by the Cana­dian Cen­tre for Food In­tegrity (CCFI).

When asked to rate their level of con­cern on a num­ber of is­sues rang­ing from health care, econ­omy and un­em­ploy­ment to cli­mate change and ris­ing en­ergy costs, Cana­di­ans in­di­cated they’re most con­cerned about the ris­ing cost of food (67 per cent). Keep­ing healthy food af­ford­able was rated sec­ond, to­gether with ris­ing en­ergy costs and ris­ing health care costs, all at 63 per cent. Round­ing out the top five con­cerns for Cana­di­ans was the safety of food im­ported from out­side of Canada at 55 per cent.

“The re­sults tell us to­day’s con­sumers are not only look­ing for af­ford­able food op­tions, they are also un­sure about many as­pects about food and the food sys­tem and are look­ing to know more from cred­i­ble sources,” said Crys­tal Mackay, CCFI pres­i­dent, in a re­lase.

Four in ten Cana­di­ans are un­sure if the food sys­tem is headed in the right di­rec­tion. Af­ter a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in 2017, sur­vey re­sults show a siz­able drop in the num­ber of con­sumers who feel Canada’s food sys­tem is headed in the right di­rec­tion – just over one third (36 per cent) in 2018 com­pared to 43 per cent in 2017.

The over­all pos­i­tive im­pres­sion of agri­cul­ture in Canada also de­creased for the first time in 12 years – falling from 61 per cent in 2016 to 56 per cent in the lat­est sur­vey. This fol­lows a steady in­crease since 2006. The de­cline in pos­i­tive im­pres­sions is driven by a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in Cana­di­ans who say they don’t know enough about agri­cul­ture and food to have an opin­ion (12 per cent in 2018, com­pared to only two per cent in 2016).

“This re­search demon­strates that the food sys­tem can’t take trust for granted; it must be earned,” said Mackay. “Cana­di­ans de­sire bal­anced, cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion about food so they can feel con­fi­dent in their de­ci­sions for them­selves and their fam­i­lies. It’s up to the en­tire food chain to turn up the vol­ume and ef­forts to openly share in­for­ma­tion about food and how it’s pro­duced, pro­cessed and pack­aged with con­sumers.”

The 2018 web-based sur­vey was com­pleted in July by 1,509 re­spon­dents who re­flect the gen­eral Cana­dian con­sumer pop­u­la­tion aged 18 or older.

The Cana­dian Cen­tre for Food In­tegrity is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps Canada’s food sys­tem earn trust by co­or­di­nat­ing re­search, re­sources, di­a­logue and train­ing. Its mem­bers, donors and project part­ners, who rep­re­sent the di­ver­sity of the food sys­tem, are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion and work­ing to­gether to ad­dress im­por­tant is­sues in food and agri­cul­ture. The CCFI does not lobby or ad­vo­cate for in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies or brands.

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