By Brady Kapovic, A/Director, Public Trust Unit, Regional Services Branch
Recent research from the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) shows that confidence in Canada’s food system is at an all-time high. The data highlights that Canadians are confident and optimistic about the food they eat and the people that produce it.
We should all be proud of our food system and the hard work our producers do to provide the world with safe, high-quality food. It is important that everyone in the agriculture industry does their part to increase public trust and correct misinformation.
I sat down with Marty Seymour, Director of Industry Relations at Farm Credit Canada, to discuss how different partners across the country are addressing the rise in misinformation online.
"If we want to connect with consumers we need to look for shared values," said Seymour. "Something the industry and consumers would both place high on their list of importance is that of sustainability."
According to the CCFI, consumers are demonstrating that sustainability in food is increasingly important: a majority say they actively seek out food items that use less packaging or have minimal environmental impact. The agriculture industry has invested in scientific innovations to improve sustainability and address climate change for years, so we must tell that story to consumers using language that is not only clear, but resonates.
"Another key aspect of breaking through misinformation online is to speak with one voice," said Seymour. "Stakeholders across the country need to work together on the topics important to consumers."
While many of us identify as grain farmers, cattle ranchers, value-added processors or scientists, when someone sits down for dinner their plate is filled with a meal. There is a host of commodities represented, from beef, split peas to canola and of course, the non-browning apples in the pie for dessert.
"As an industry we will break through the misinformation online if we work together to look for opportunities to communicate more collaboratively and in a way that connects with the individuals making the purchasing decisions at their local stores or online," Seymour added. "We're making strides and being empowered by consumers who say that our farmers and ranchers are the trusted voices at the table when it comes to food production."
For more information on the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity 2020 Public Trust Research please visit the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity website.