Barely 29.3% of Canadians buy the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by Canada’s new Food Guide, shows a Dalhousie University survey released Thursday.
In order, it is in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec that there are the most followers of fruits and vegetables in the country, compiled the team of Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Science Laboratory. Agri-Food Analytics from this Halifax, Nova Scotia-based university. The three provinces have a respective daily fruit and vegetable consumption rate of 31.4%, 31% and 30.7%.
To put it into perspective, we eat significantly less fruit and vegetables each day in Prince Edward Island (11.6%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (19.7%). However, citizens of Prince Edward Island are those who consume the most locally (39.5%), ahead of Nova Scotia (30.7%) and Quebec (30.7%).
In this International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, we also learn from research that 86.6% of Canadians buy their fruits and vegetables in grocery stores and 4.6% opt instead for a farmer’s market.
The survey also shows that 1.2% of people grow all the fruits and vegetables they eat themselves.
If 29.3% of Canadians buy enough fruits and vegetables every day, the figure can reach 43.1%, depending on the frequency, or a few days a week.
Almost seven in 10 Canadians (64.9%) put only fresh fruits and vegetables in their shopping cart and 18.7% shop for frozen products.
It’s the price, among all the factors, that explains why a lot of people don’t buy it. Almost 40% of Canadians believe that price is the main obstacle explaining the low rate of consumption of fruits and vegetables.
The time required to prepare fruits and vegetables (30.5%), the taste (10.5%), the lack of knowledge on how to prepare them (8.1%) and the lack of clarity on the advantages for health (6.3%) are also mentioned by respondents.
For 74.6% of Canadians, it is precisely for a health issue that we eat fruits and vegetables. However, a good number of respondents (63.4%) are worried about the possible and probable presence of pesticides on some of their favorite fruits and vegetables selected in grocery stores.
Up to 47.6% of Canadians buy fruits and vegetables to reduce cancer risk, and 21.4% think about the bioactive properties of these foods instead.
“There are many fruits that can act as bioactive products and can actually help Canadians in their quest for a better quality of life. Our survey shows that Canadians do not know enough about how fruits and vegetables can be used as bioactive products, ”said Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe, study co-author and Killam Chair in Functional Foods and nutraceuticals.
Cooking websites (39%) are the main source influencing the purchase of fruits and vegetables, ahead of nutritionists (25.3%), Canada’s Food Guide (20.8%) and cookbooks ( 20.2%). Dieticians (14.7%) and doctors (14.5%) are considered to a lesser extent.
“In general, celebrities and websites are quite popular with Canadians looking for information, but when it comes to fruits and vegetables, authoritative sources like nutritionists and our food guide seem to be more popular,” Dr Sylvain Charlebois said in a press release.
The research is based on a representative survey of 10,006 Canadians. The sounding was carried out during the summer of 2021 in collaboration with Caddle. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.3%, 19 times out of 20.