COVID-19 Reinforcing the Importance that Canadians Place on Food Safety When Buying Produce

Sustainability Matters Too: Half Want Plastic-Free Packaging on Produce

The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, June 22, 2020 — Most Canadians care about how safe it is to consume the food they put on their table. A new Ipsos survey for Local Leaf Farms finds that nearly nine in ten (88%) say that food safety is important (65% very/23% moderately) to their purchase decision when buying lettuce and produce. It’s an opinion that only gets stronger as Canadians advance through life: while a strong majority of all age groups see food safety as at least somewhat important, this rises from 77% of those aged 18-34, to 89% of those 35-54, to nearly all (95%) of those aged 55 and over.

Many are paying more attention in the wake of coronavirus spreading around the world. More than two in three (68%) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made food safety more important (41% much/27% somewhat) when deciding what to buy. Women (46%) are more likely than men (36%) to say the pandemic has made food safety “much more important” to their purchase decision.

With the pandemic underscoring the importance of food safety, it follows that Canadians’ top concerns about food safety are hygiene-based: nearly half (48%) point to product handling safety standards, while one in four (25%) are concerned about the cleanliness of the growing environment.

Sustainable Produce: Toward a Plastic-Free Future

In the midst of safety concerns fuelled by the pandemic, Canadians have not forgotten about environmental sustainability when it comes to the produce they buy. More than two in three (68%) say that eliminating plastic from their food packaging is important (36% very/32% moderately). Fully half (51%) say they would prefer that their leafy greens and herb packages be made of a non-plastic, compostable, plant-based material. By contrast, just 21% would prefer produce to come packaged in recycled plastic, sometimes referred to as rPET.

Another top consideration is where produce is grown: above all else, Canadians want the greens they buy to be grown locally. Indeed, 96% of Canadians prefer that their produce comes from Canada, whether locally (21%), from within their province (41%), or elsewhere in the country (34%). Asked what sustainability factors affected their purchasing decision the most, nearly half (47%) pointed to whether or not the produce was local – the ability to buy from a grower in their community as opposed to outside of their province or outside of Canada. In an indication that older Canadians are just as concerned about sustainability as the younger generation, it’s the Boomers – those aged 55 and over – who are most inclined (58%) to say that buying local matters most.  

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 28 and June 1, 2020, on behalf of on behalf of Local Leaf Farms. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2002
[email protected]

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The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs