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SIM student featured in National Post & The Star

Posted by SIM on October 23, 2020 in Students, Research, News

MI student, Shannon Faires, is a research associate with the Dalhousie Agri-Food Analytics Lab. She is quoted in two recent articles in the National Post and The Star, respectively. Both articles discuss a survey the Lab conducted with Canadians about local food. Excerpts are shared below.

From the National Post (read the full article here)
We may see the value in buying local food, but that doesn’t mean we will open up our wallets: report

Contradictions cloud our relationship with local food, a new report from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab (AAL) suggests. While four in five Canadians say they’re ready to pay more for “locally grown” fruit and vegetables, few put weight on point of origin in their decision-making.

“We talk a good talk, but what goes on in grocery stores is very different,” says Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy, and senior director of the AAL.

Their survey of 10,266 Canadians in early October showed that while 79.5 per cent are open to paying more for locally grown produce, only one in four (25 per cent) actively seek it out while grocery shopping. The researchers describe this discrepancy between attitude and behaviour as “the local food paradox.”

“When a lot of people buy food at the grocery store, they’re not looking for where the food was grown. They’re looking for what food is cheapest,” says AAL research associate Shannon Faires. “People may value local food more, and think it’s worth more money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re looking for it.”

From The Star (read the full article here)
Canadians are hungry for locally grown food, but high costs curb our appetite for it, study finds

Four in five Canadians say they’re willing to pay a premium for local food, yet only a quarter of them are making a priority of buying it. So what’s stopping them?

Ironically, the cost.

“We’ve been promoting the hell out of local foods across the country,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a Dalhousie professor in food distribution and policy. “So are these programs working? Well, yes and no.”

A new study led by Charlebois for Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab with research firm Caddle asked 10,266 Canadians about local food: how they define it, whether they would pay extra for it, whether they actively seek it out, and more.

Faires said while people say they’re willing to pay extra for local food even if it’s grown in a controlled environment like a greenhouse, that kind of food is still more expensive because of the high costs involved to grow produce year-round north of the border.

That’s why Faires and Charlebois would like to see more investment in Canadian-grown food year-round to increase the country’s food autonomy — and to decrease the price of local food.

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