CALGARY — New research released by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), studying consumer concerns and expectations surrounding food transparency and the overall food system shows Canadians feel the food system is headed in the right direction.
While consumer confidence is increasing (up 13 per cent to 43 per cent), an equal number of Canadians (43 per cent) say they aren’t sure if the food system is on the right track — down from 50 per cent in 2016. These findings are significantly different than U.S. consumers’ findings from 2016, which showed more definitive opinions with 55 per cent choosing right direction and only 23 per cent saying they were unsure.
The 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research occurred in the field in June, asking 1,307 Canadians about top life concerns, specifically their level of concern, trust and transparency expectations related to food and how it’s grown. Those polled clearly identified food companies to be the most responsible for providing information about food and how it’s grown. Other food-system partners, including farmers, government, restaurants and grocery stores, also ranked highly as being responsible for transparency.
“Canadians are looking for credible information to make informed decisions about their food,” says Crystal Mackay, president, CCFI. “This research reinforces that everyone in the Canadian food system, from the farm through to grocery stores and restaurants, should engage in conversations about food.”
Those polled are personally concerned and want more information about specific topics, including food safety, environment and farm animal treatment. Consumers are looking for information on food company websites such as third-party audits, track record, practices and policies that demonstrate their values. When studying these elements of transparency, accuracy rose to the top as the most important attribute to Canadians.
The full 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research report is available at foodintegrity.ca.