shop local

Why do Canadians want to shop local?

“Shop local” has been a mantra for a while now, and a new survey from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab (AAL) in partnership with Angus Reid has found that most Canadians feel that it is important that the products they see and buy at the grocery store are local.

That sentiment is the strongest in Quebec, where nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent of) respondents say that shopping local is at least somewhat important. That’s followed by the Atlantic region (86 per cent), B.C. (84 per cent), Ontario (82 per cent), Alberta (78 per cent), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (74 per cent).

In B.C. and Quebec, 17 per cent of respondents say they prioritize local foods for most of their meals every week.

But exactly why are Canadians so hung up on the shop local approach? Unsurprisingly, supporting local producers and vendors seems to be the key reason.

In particular, the survey concluded that the most important reason is to support farmers, which was the top choice in Ontario, the Atlantics, B.C., Alberta, and Quebec. Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan/Manitoba, the No. 1 reason was to support the local economy, and that was the second most cited reason in the other regions.

In every region, supporting environmental sustainability was third.

This desire to support local businesses and the environment comes despite the fact that the survey found very few Canadians believe local foods are a higher-quality option, more affordable, or even more nutritious.

However, Canadian Grocer notes that another AAL study, this one commissioned by agri-food industry advocacy non-profit Aliments du Québec, dispels the myth that local foods are more expensive in Quebec. It found that local products “are as competitive (neutral price difference) or more competitive than products from elsewhere” in over 70 per cent of the categories studied, which included grocery, dairy and dairy alternatives, fruits and vegetables, bakery, deli, and frozen foods.

Source: Canadian Grocer

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