18 Sep 2012 — Canadians continue to have an increasingly positive impression of Canadian agriculture, with 88% of those polled ranking it positive or neutral, up from 81% in 2009 and 75% in 2006. That’s one of the key findings from the new 2012 Farm and Food Care “Canadian Attitudes Study towards Food and Farming” study.
“Our research shows that although food and farming isn’t a top of mind issue for most Canadians, most have an overall positive impression of our food, how it’s grown and the people who produce it,” says Crystal Mackay, Executive Director, Farm & Food Care. “Canadians ranked farmers as warmly and favourably as their own family and friends, just slightly above doctors and other medical professionals.”
This year’s research, which builds on previous studies dating back to 2001, was expanded to include gathering public opinion on the five pillars of sustainable food: food safety, environment, farm animal health and welfare, human health and economics/food affordability.
Canadians feel they are generally better informed about food and farming than they were even three years ago, and more than half of them are interested in learning more. Approximately 70% of Canadians have visited a farm at least once before. Other findings demonstrate that Canadians are concerned about rising costs – including the cost of food – and many try to buy local by purchasing Canadian food products when possible.
“This tracking research goes a long way in helping farmers and people in the agri-food business to understand what Canadians believe, both today and in monitoring trends over time, as they relate to the importance of agriculture, interest and what people would like to know more about how their food is produced,” says Mackay.
Surveys were conducted online using Ipsos Reid’s I-Say Online Household Panel in mid-August among 1229 Canadian adults that had no household connection to agriculture. Investment in this project has been provided by several agri-food industry partners and by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.