Consumers Seeking Familiar Foods Produced Closer to Home

CANADA - The Manitoba Food Processors Association says growing numbers of Canadian consumers are seeking out locally produced food products that they're familiar and feel comfortable with, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 April 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Surveys show greater numbers of Canadians are reading and understanding food labels and using the information on those labels to make purchasing decisions while seeking products produced closer to home.

Manitoba Food Processors Association executive director Dave Shambrook says what's really interesting is the number one reason behind the "Buy Local" movement is a desire to support local companies.

Dave Shambrook-Manitoba Food Processors Association

There's a recognition that we need to support our local businesses to have a stronger economy, a stronger community because it affects us all and that was a little surprising.

We know that's one of the first benefits that happens when more local products are introduced and sold into a market but that was a little bit surprising that it was the number one issue and it's a strong number one.

But, close behind that is the issue of food safety.

here is a strong perception by consumers that something that's been produced closer to home is a safer product.

I think, again, there's a recognition that Canadian food safety systems work, they work well, the industry is very responsible so food safety is certainly something that's driving this.

Another part of it is that consumers are looking for variety.

They are looking for things that they are comfortable with, things they've seen in the stores, things they know come from the local production community so to speak and that's a counter trend to, if you will, it's a global market.

We're interested in buying things from all over the world.

At the same time there's sort of this, let's get back to basics, let's get back to foods that we're comfortable with and familiar with.

Shambrook says more an more consumers are making purchasing decisions based on what they are reading and their understanding which encourages the manufacturers to make sure they are adhering to regulations and that their products are well packaged, promoted and merchandised.

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