Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Ethnocultural Vegetables in Canada Part I Resource Guides
Executive Summary


October 6, 2016
By Fruit & Vegetable

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The purpose of this document is to outline an opportunity for Canadian farmers to satisfy the unmet produce demand of ethnic Canadian consumers. Currently, growers’ costs are increasing while their returns are flat or decreasing. In order to remain profitable they must find new ways of diversification. An increasing volume of fruits and vegetables are being imported into Canada each year, corresponding with the rising ethnic population. Last year (2010), the dollar volume of these imports reached $800 million (Bilal, 2011). Some of the vegetables being imported can be grown in Ontario, which is where the opportunity lies. If Canadian farmers are able to understand what to grow, how to grow it, and then how to market and sell these crops to consumers they will be better positioned to take advantage of this market opportunity.

There are two key elements driving this market opportunity, and they are the growing ethnic population, and the increasing consumer demand for domestic produce. Demographic segmentation strategy was employed to identify the two key segments that this report focuses on, which are Chinese Canadians, and South Asian Canadians. This is in line with Canadian demographics, as the largest groups of visible minorities are South Asian, Chinese, Black and Filipinos (Eurmonitor International. 2011). The overall goal of this report is to create a document that assists farmers in taking advantage of the ethnocultural vegetable market opportunity in Canada. This goal will be accomplished by meeting the following objectives:

  1. To educate Canadian farmers on the products that are feasible for them to grow, and which have the largest demand.
  2. To provide farmers with the resources needed to learn how to successfully grow these products.
  3. To develop a marketing plan for farmers that will allow them to successfully market asnd sell their ethnocultural vegetable offerings to target consumers (Chinese and Indian).

A particular area of weakness for farmers is marketing and selling their product, as their area of expertise is usually the growing itself. Marketing strategies will need to be implemented in order to reach Chinese and South Asian Canadians. Chinese and South Asian Canadians are significantly different from Canadian born consumers demographically, behaviourally, and attitudinally. A majority of this consumer group (60-60%) indicated that they would like to see marketing and communication delivered in their home language (Jimmintz, 2008)

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A secondary strategy once market penetration is established is providing appeal for ethnocultural vegetables among the western demographic. “The impact of the increasingly diverse Canadian mosaic means consumers are becoming more adventurous by venturing into using a variety of herbs and spices, sauces, fresh produce and prepared products at home” (Agri-Food Canada, 2009). This strategy will help to explan the overally market opportunity for ethocultural vegetables.

If the correct vegetables are grown in Canada, and communication with the target consumer is executed effectively then there is a significant market opportunity for farmers and their production of ethnocultural vegetables.


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