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Tim Hortons most trusted brand among Canadian consumers, new report finds

Freshly-brewed coffee sits on a hot plate in a Tim Hortons outlet in Oakville, Ont. .
Freshly-brewed coffee sits on a hot plate in a Tim Hortons outlet in Oakville, Ont. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – When it comes to brands that Canadians trust most the answer is the beloved coffee company Tim Hortons, according to a new study from The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.

The inaugural Gustavson Brand Trust Index looks at the role trust plays in the minds of Canadian consumers when making purchasing decisions. The index used statistics from 3,125 consumers that scored 249 companies and brands based on 40 attributes that include; quality, reliability, honesty and corporate social responsibility.

READ MORE: Goodbye Tim Hortons, hello… Restaurant Brands International

The index found Tim Hortons to be the country’s most trusted brand even though the company was acquired by Burger King, and its owners Brazil-based 3G Capital, in a blockbuster deal announced last year.

Also in the top three brands are Canadian icons President’s Choice and Shoppers Drug Mart.

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Canada’s Top 10 Most Trusted Brands:

  1. Tim Hortons
  2. President’s Choice
  3. Shoppers Drug Mart
  4. Google
  5. Canadian Tire
  6. Kraft Foods
  7. Campbell Soup Company
  8. Heinz
  9. Canada Post
  10. Johnson & Johnson

Professor David Dunne, with Gustavson’s school of business, said the main goal of the index to first evaluate the degree to which people trust Canadian brands and their more broad emotional reaction.

“What we’re interested in is if people trusted us brands more are they more likely than to recommend them to others,” said Dunne. “And so we found a link then between trust and word of mouth recommendation.”

Dunne said one of the reasons Tim Hortons was ranked at the top was the work they do in local communities.

“If you look at their works in the community scores they are off the scale. They really have leveraged community work there,” he said.

READ MORE: New Tim Hortons owners slash corporate taxes post-Burger King deal

One company that made the list that is not Canadian was Google, who beat out Apple as the top technology company among Canadians.

“The top technology company was google. And google did extremely well given that it’s not a Canadian brand it’s in the top 5 there,” said Dunne. “So it surprised me not so much that google beat out apple but that there was such a distance.”

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Others on the top ten list were ranked highly for different reasons like President’s Choice and Shopper’s Drug Mart for their value among consumers or Canada Post who received top marks in its perceived treatment of workers, despite the ongoing labour issues.

Brands that scored below average among Canadian consumers included media, banks and car companies.

“I would have hoped the media would have been a bit higher but there’s work to be done,” said Dunne.

At the very bottom of the index were the companies that “we really love to hate.”

“The insurance companies, the travel agencies, the utility companies and sadly the cable companies,” he said. “So those were the companies that didn’t do well.”

*With files from Jennifer Tryon