According to a survey by the Bank of Montreal, Canadians prefer to buy local products when they grocery shop, and they are willing to pay more for local foods than for imports. Interestingly, BC residents tie with Ontarians for being willing to pay the most for local foods.
How Much Will We Pay for Local Foods?
The survey showed that Canadians are willing to pay an average of 16% more for Canadian produce and 19% more for Canadian meat. That’s not an insubstantial amount – an extra $1.60 to $1.90 for every $10 spent. And a full 91% of those surveyed said they try to buy Canadian vegetables!
Why do Canadians want to buy local foods? The primary reason, according to the survey, is supporting Canadian producers – a benefit mentioned by 28% of those surveyed. Other reasons mentioned by survey participants include freshness, protecting the environment, and food safety.
In a press release announcing the survey findings, David Rinneard, National Manager, Agriculture for BMO Bank of Montreal, explained why he thinks we’re willing to pay more for local foods. “Canadians are becoming increasingly loyal to the notion of buying local food, particularly fruits and vegetables, cheese, beef and poultry,” he said. “Consumers appreciate the quality of food produced by local farm families and recognize the importance of supporting an agricultural sector that accounts for one in eight jobs in Canada.”
An interesting phenomenon is that Canadians tend to be most inclined to buy local foods that have strong ties to their geographic area. That means those of us in BC are most inclined to buy local when shopping for fruit and wine, while Atlantic Canadians are most likely to choose local fish.
Where to Find Local Foods
Eating local is something we talk about a lot at HealthCastle. I am a big proponent of eating local produce when possible simply because fresher produce retains more of its nutrients. Plus, of course, it tastes better, which means you’re more likely to eat it and enjoy it! If you’re hoping to incorporate more local foods into your diet, check out the strategies in these posts:
- A How-To Guide to Local Eating: Four ways to find local foods in your community.
- Farmers’ Markets: A How-To Guide: Tips for finding a farmers’ market near you and making the most of your local produce-shopping day out.
- Local or Not Local? How to Tell the Impostors from the Real Thing: Label-reading strategies to ensure your local food is really local. (Hint: We found “Canada A Grade” frozen berries that were flown in from Chile!)
Tell Us: So, what do you think about the results of this survey? Do you seek out local foods when you shop? And are you willing to pay more for them? Let us know in the comments.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.