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Consumers buy local to support farms, study says

HALIFAX— Local food enjoys popular sentiment in Canada but not at the cash register. While consumers say they want to buy local most of the time, few Canadians actually do so when grocery shopping or eating at a restaurant. This was confirmed in a recent survey conducted by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in partnership with Angus Reid.

Very few Canadians believe local foods are better products, and only 5% of Canadians believe local foods are cheaper. Rather, the new survey found that respondents buy local food to support farmers and the economy, in that order. Supporting environmental sustainability was the third most popular reason for buying local food.

“I think the image of local food products needs work. It’s almost as if Canadians just want to do farmers and agri-food companies a favour while purchasing,” observed Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab. “Canadians clearly don’t see how local foods can provide benefits to them directly.”

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