consumer confidence

Canadian consumer confidence in food safety rebounding

A new report from Dalhousie University suggests that consumer confidence in Canadian food safety is rebounding, one year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dalhousie’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in partnership with Caddle, surveyed over 10,000 Canadians at the end of February 2021. The participants were surveyed on consumer confidence and satisfaction. Overall, there were positive conclusions for the food industry.

The survey showed that nearly three-quarters (72.2 per cent) of Canadians have confidence in the food safety of their products despite the pandemic.

That varied from province to province. The highest food safety confidence rate in the country is in New Brunswick with 79.9 per cent, followed by Manitoba at 76.9 per cent. The lowest rate is in Newfoundland and Labrador at 70.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, a total of 73.7 per cent of Canadians said they are satisfied with the safety of their food products despite the pandemic.

There were also demographic variations here. Gen Z respondents reported the lowest consumer confidence score at 65.1 per cent, while Boomers were the highest at 77.2 percent. Gen X and Millennials came in at 72.1 per cent and 69.1 per cent, respectively.

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Other key results showed that one-quarter (25.1 per cent) of Canadians are not confident that food products are produced in a sustainable way, suggesting that most people are confident and satisfied that their food is sustainably produced.

17.4 per cent of Canadians believe the Canadian food supply chain will not provide enough food for everyone at some point. Here, again, confidence levels vary between provinces, with the most confident group being Manitobans and the least confident British Columbians.

61.6 per cent suggested they feel people may stockpile food due to the COVID-19 pandemic, implying that many Canadians seem to have more confidence in the food industry than in their fellow Canadians.

There is, however, a great deal of confidence in industry workers. 79.6 per cent of respondents believe that food supply chain workers care about providing food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results also show that Canadians are largely unconcerned about food fraud or food mislabelling, with only 18.4 per cent expressing a lack of confidence in the authenticity of food products and labelling.

When it comes to the health aspect of food, results were less positive. Only 38.4 per cent of respondents said they feel available food products are healthier than before the pandemic. That varied dramatically by province: Quebec boasted the highest rate at 45.1 per cent, while the lowest was 29.7 per cent in B.C.

The full survey results on food safety and other topics can be found here.