BC Agriculture Council’s fourth annual consumer research survey suggests consumers’ perceptions of farmers, the agriculture industry and the province’s food supply chain have strengthened since 2018.
A key finding from this year’s survey is that British Columbians continue to have very positive views of BC farmers. The results show that 96% of respondents believe that farmers provide good-quality products, 80% believe farmers care for the animals they raise and are environmentally conscious, 90% agree that farmers are trustworthy/reliable, and 73% believe farmers treat their workers fairly.
While consumer perceptions have improved on most counts since the first study in 2018, this year’s study indicated reduced confidence in how farmers treat workers.
The vast majority of shoppers rate local origin and certification as important. These factors can significantly impact the purchasing decision for many, BCAC’s survey found.
The top three factors consumers rank as important and that impact purchasing decisions include high quality (95%), convenience (95%) and low price (81%). Grown and raised in BC also plays a role in purchasing decisions for 67% of respondents while 58% consider third-party certification important to purchasing decisions.
The third key finding is that BC residents who have recently visited a working farm are more likely to be impacted by local origin and have a more positive opinion of BC farmers. These in-person visits increase consumer awareness of the food system and visitors are in turn more likely to value local and farm-related attributes when buying fresh products than non-visitors.
Overall, the data suggest growing appreciation for the importance of agriculture and BC’s food system.
The council conducted the 2021 survey online between May 12 and 15, with 831 BC residents participating.