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Research reveals Canadians’ want to know more about the food system

January 22, 2019  By Canadian Centre for Food Integrity

Canadians are most concerned with the rising cost of food and the affordability of healthy food for the third year in a row in 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.


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 impression of agriculture in Canada also decreased for the first time in twelve 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 survey results from the 2018 CCFI Public Trust Research can be downloaded at in French or English.

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. Our 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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