BC residents consider themselves proud supporters of local agriculture but a new survey for Farm Credit Canada indicates that they’re also the least likely to buy Canadian food whenever possible.
Despite significant provincial investment over the past three years in local purchasing programs such as Buy BC and Feed BC, which was recently expanded to post-secondary institutions, 16% of BC residents say they don’t buy Canadian whenever possible. This was more than anywhere else in Canada. Ontario was a close second at 13% while just 1% of residents in Atlantic Canada responded they don’t seek out Canadian-made food products.
The survey by Ottawa market research firm Abacus Data engaged 2,000 people across Canada in early January.
The findings are surprising, given that 95% of BC residents told Abacus they consider themselves supporters of Canada’s agriculture sector.
However, other elements of the survey indicate that BC residents are lukewarm in their overall support.
For example, while 55% of respondents from Atlantic Canada consider themselves strong supporters of agriculture, just 33% of BC residents feel the same way.
When asked if farmers should be celebrated more, the province was among the most likely to disagree, with 10% of residents saying Canada’s farmers aren’t underappreciated.
However, the results may point to the fact that BC is already doing a good of celebrating its growers.
BC residents have been among those least likely to have turned away from buying domestic food products since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey indicates that just 3% of BC respondents were less likely to buy more domestic food items since the pandemic began. And 4% had been less likely to look for Canadian products.
The survey results did not show a significant difference in opinion depending on urban or rural location.
Released to coincide with Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 23, the survey results demonstrated overall confidence in the farm sector.
“It is encouraging to see such a strong endorsement for the efforts of the women and men across Canada who are committed to this unique and valuable industry,” said Marty Seymour, director of industry relations with FCC.