by SUSAN MANN
There’s a disconnection between consumers’ stated preference for local foods and their willingness to pay more for them, according to a recent Farm Credit Canada-sponsored survey.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture president Bette Jean Crews says those results aren’t surprising.
Released today, the survey found that despite 95 per cent of respondents agreeing that buying locally–grown food is a priority or a preference only 43 per cent are willing to pay more for local products.
But having a personal connection with a farmer or someone in the agricultural industry seems to make a difference. Survey respondents knowing someone who owns or works on a farm or agribusiness or who have visited a farm were more likely to consider buying locally-grown or Canadian products a priority and they are also willing to pay more for them.
Crews says that’s very believable because that’s human nature. “We’re trying to address that through the National Food Strategy, with part of that being an education component to government and the consumer as to what it means to buy local and how to identify it.”
The Farm Credit survey also found that Ontario consumers were more likely to state that buying locally grown and Canadian products is a priority and are willing to pay more for them compared to consumers in other provinces.
In a press release, Farm Credit Canada president and CEO Greg Stewart says “it would benefit the industry and our customers if the public knew more about the business of agriculture and recognize that agriculture is big, dynamic and complex.”
The online survey was done March 8-10 from a sample of 2,015 Canadians who are Angus Reid Forum panel members, it says in Farm Credit’s press release. BF