Who do Canadians trust with their food? Local growers get top marks, new poll finds

ABOVE: Sean Simpson, Vice President at Ipsos Public Affairs, discusses the results of a Global News poll that shows eating local for Canadians appears to have moved beyond a fad or trend and into the realm of a paradigm shift

Who do you trust with the food on your plate?

When it comes to safety and quality of our food, more and more Canadians are turning to local food growers and providers, a new poll shows.

The exclusive Ipsos poll for Global News shows the vast majority of Canadians (83 per cent) said it’s important they know where their food comes from.

When it comes to what food producers Canadians trust the most, local growers and farmers get top marks, with 95 per cent saying local markets and butchers are doing a good job ensuring the quality and safety of their food products, followed by 94 per cent saying the same for produce and wheat farmers.

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READ MORE: What’s your favourite local farmers’ market? Add it to our map

Meanwhile, 89 per cent think livestock farmers are doing a good job, 85 per cent think the same of Canadian grocery stores.

“The idea of eating local appears to have moved beyond a fad or trend and into the realm of a paradigm shift in the way that Canadians think about their food,” said Sean Simpson, vice president at Ipsos Reid Public Affairs.

The poll results come as Global News launches a month-long series looking at Your Food.

Dana Bondy picks up some fresh local vegetables from Uxbridge, Ontario farmer Travis Stocking as part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

While 80 per cent said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is doing a good job ensuring food quality and safety, 20 per cent disagree and an increasing number of Canadians (78 per cent) are concerned about the safety of the food they eat; that’s a 12-point jump from 2007.

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Canadians, the poll shows, would rather put their faith (and dollars) in local food producers compared to food shipped in from overseas. Less than half of those polled (48 per cent) said they trust food that comes from abroad.

“With most Canadians wanting to know what’s in the food that they eat and where it comes from, it’s much easier to know these things if you’ve developed a relationship or rapport with your local butcher, baker or farmer,” said Simpson. “You can simply ask and get the answers you’re looking for. International supply chains are much more opaque to the end consumer.”

Dana Zegers weeds a row of freshly planted peas on her farm in Southwestern Ontario. The Canadian Press Images/Mark Spowart

Of those polled, 83 per cent said they make an effort to buy locally-grown and produced food. Half said they usually or always purchase food that is locally grown – up from 42 per cent in 2006.

And 71 per cent are willing to pay more for local food.

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What’s on your plate?

From navigating the gaps in Canada’s food safety system, and deciphering the terms on our food packaging and ingredient lists, to taking a closer look at the food marketed to us and myth-busting rising food fads and trends, Your Food will look at what’s on our plates and how it got there.

Check our special site for new stories every day, and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #YourFood.

WATCH BELOW: What we eat and whether it’s safe is very important to Canadians

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

The poll was conducted between May 22 and 27, 2015, using a sample of 1,005 Canadians. It is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had all Canadian adults been polled. 

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