Eating at home - Canadian households and the motivations and obstacles related to buying locally grown food – a pan-Canadian study


Jean-Frédéric Lemay, JFL Consultants






Local food has gained popularity in recent years in Canada and worldwide. From the 100-MileDiet in British Columbia to the declaration of “locavore” as word of the year in 2007, buying local seems to resonate with North American consumers. Government support for local food initiatives is also on the rise as evidenced by Quebec’s $14 million investment in diversifying short supply chains (2009) and $50 million for the “Mettez le Québec dans votre assiette” campaign (December 2007).

To remedy the lack of Canadian data and to follow up on a 2007 survey, Equiterre, in partnership with Leger Marketing, conducted a nationwide survey between August 5 and 14, 2010 on a sample of 1121 Canadian French- and English-speaking men and women age 18 and over. The complete report includes a review of the literature as well as an analysis of the survey results, before putting forward a series of recommendation.

The results of the survey suggest the need for a basket of strategies for easier identification of local products, beyond just a logo or a brand. Strategies could be adapted to the consumer, depending on the environment (rural/urban, province of residence) and the place of purchase. For example, a neighbourhood greengrocer that has the complete confidence of its consumers could rely exclusively on identification at the display or a procurement policy, whereas bigger chains may need to use a label. Employees could also be provided with better training to help them guide clients towards local products.

This study brings out that customers seem to be ready to buy more locally-grown fruits and vegetables, but governments and industry must create the conditions to do so / but the conditions to do so still lack.

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

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Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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