A Fine Balance


Consumers' Association of Canada (CAC), Manitoba Branch




Socio-economic, environmental and global uncertainties have given rise to many marketplace concerns for Canadian consumers but, in turn, dedicated responses related to food security, land preservation and sustainability, community economic development, and energy conservation have arisen. More specifically, with respect to food consumption, the choices that support local job growth, enhance the relationship between consumers and producers, address concerns about pesticide use, animal welfare, and the disappearance of traditional farm practices, production inputs, or finished products, have led to significant growth in the local food marketplace in the past several years.

The research was carried out using interviews with eleven stakeholder participants who represented small-scale enterprises, independent retail, government or the media, national telephone surveys with 1,000 Canadian consumers, focus group sessions with consumers from Winnipeg, Montreal, and Guelph and an extensive analyses of federal, provincial and municipal legislation. Legislation from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia was featured in the provincial legislation analysis in order to investigate the roles of government, community and industry and the effects of their support and participation on the design, flexibility and accessibility of food legislation and regulations.

With the assistance of the stakeholder advisory group, Consumers' Association of Canada (Manitoba) Inc. provided several recommendations for addressing the challenges of the local food sector including, reviewing legislation, examining and addressing the growing trend of increased production and processing centralization, and developing and administering promotion and labelling programs. The consumer choice for locally produced and processed foods is clear. Canadian consumers understand the benefits of a viable local food economy and will, when physically and financially feasible, seek out local products.

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OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

Contact information

Consumer Association of Canada, Manitoba Branch
17-222 Osborne Street South
Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3L 1Z3
(204) 452-2572
(204) 284-1876

Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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