The report also revealed what products Canadians buy locally and why, and showed differences across the provinces on a variety of foods. The top reasons Canadians buy local, include:
-- The food is fresh and tastes better (97%)
-- It supports the local economy (97%)
-- It supports local farmers (96%)
-- It creates local jobs (93%)
-- It is better for the environment (88%)
-- It offers the opportunity to buy organic produce (76%)
-- It is less expensive (71%)
"Canadian consumers continue to reap the benefit of a strong and stable agriculture sector with reliable food sources from across the country," said David Rinneard,dDirector, Agriculture and Agribusiness, BMO Bank of Montreal. "These survey results highlight the growing number of Canadians who show unwavering support for their local producers, a movement which boosts the national economy and creates jobs."
"Local ingredients are becoming an increasingly popular choice and Canadians are beginning to recognize that seasonally harvested food tastes better. It is causing a noticeable repositioning of our entire culinary economy which BMO's research findings perfectly reflect," said Anita Stewart, president and founder, Food Day Canada. "Canadians know that by supporting our local producers, we are nurturing the diversity that creates an edible shopping list for us now -- and more importantly -- for future generations."
Aaron Goertzen, economist, BMO Capital Markets, added the outlook for Canada's agriculture sector this year remains positive, with growing conditions in the Prairies looking supportive and higher-than-normal prices persisting for a number of key crops. These high prices and overall increased demand have partly been a carryover from decreased U.S. crop yield last year following the drought in the Midwest. Increased supply following this summer's harvest -- as U.S. farmers get back on track -- will likely mean lower prices for Canadian farmers, but should also help reduce food prices for North American consumers.