Produce shoppers in Ontario prefer to purchase fruits and vegetables that are either local, certified fair trade or organic according to a Leger survey commissioned by the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA).
Close to 40 per cent reported they are now looking for local produce more often in large part to support the local economy.
The growing awareness of fair trade was evident with half of respondents reporting they seek out fair trade produce when shopping, particularly women. When it comes to conventional vs. organic produce, 14 per cent of produce is purchased in the organic section, 85 per cent of those who purchase organic say the amount of organic produce they purchase has not changed.
The study also focused on shoppers’ location preferences for produce during the pandemic. While people continue to prefer to shop in-person for produce, one in four respondents indicated their produce shopping location had changed. Seven in ten respondents indicated that they buy produce in-person at conventional grocery stores, 56 per cent shop at discount stores and 40 per cent noted big box stores.
“This research is unique as it is focused on the Ontario shopper and the attitudes that drive their produce purchases,” says Michelle Broom, OPMA president. “The research overwhelmingly indicates that given the opportunity, consumers want to support the local economy. It is important that we provide them with the right tools to do so.”