Who do consumers trust? Farmers favoured for reliable info

Canadians may not know where their food is coming from, but they say they still overwhelmingly trust those who are producing it; well, kind of.

In a recently released telephone survey conducted last March on behalf of Agriculture Canada, pollsters found 91 percent of respondents say farmers and ranchers are a reliable source of information.

The national telephone survey of 1,520 Canadians was conducted by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc. between March 8 and March 29. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.5, 19 times out of 20.

You can find the complete survey, in PDF format, here.

Ninety-one per cent is an overwhelming figure — one that will be greeted positively by industry, and rightly so.

Still, it’s worth digging into the numbers a little more. For one thing, not everyone is convinced farmers and ranchers are a very trustworthy source.

When asked, responses were split between whether farmers and ranchers were very trustworthy (43 percent) and somewhat trustworthy (48 percent).

A handful of people, accounting for six percent of respondents, said farmers and ranchers were not a very trustworthy source.

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Family ranked number one in terms of those people who are seen as being the most trusted when it comes to their food.

Ranchers and farmers were number two. Scientists rounded out the top three, with 38 percent saying they viewed the scientific community as being a very reliable source of information.

The numbers weren’t so cheery for food companies and grocery retailers.

Only seven percent of respondents see those two parties as being a very trustworthy source, while 47 percent considered the industry as being somewhat reliable. A full 46 percent of respondents said that they weren’t very trustworthy (30 percent) or were not trustworthy at all (16 percent).

Media didn’t fare so well, either with less than two-thirds of respondents (61 percent) citing the press as a very reliable or somewhat reliable source of food and agriculture-related information.

Responses, the survey found, also varied by age.

Canadians under the age of 35 were the least likely (63 percent) to rely on their friends for information about where their food comes from.

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That’s compared to 75 percent for Canadians 55 or older and 78 percent of Canadians between 35 to 74.

The survey noted a gender difference, too. Women were more likely to trust their friends than their male counterparts (76 percent compared to 69 percent.) Women were also more inclined to trust environmental activists (71 percent) than men (60 percent).

Two-fifths of Canadians surveyed “indicated that organic farming is better than conventional farming.” It is not surprising that the majority of Canadians said they would turn to the internet for the answers to their agriculture and agri-food related questions.

No other medium was mentioned with the same frequency, the survey noted. Television and radio programs were second, at 28 percent, with newspapers rounding out the top three with 22 percent.

Then there’s the issue of Canadian exposure to the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

When asked if they had heard, seen, or read anything about the industry in the past six months, more than fifty percent of respondents (59 per cent) said they hadn’t. The exception to the rule was Quebec, where 55 per cent of those polled said they had heard some mention of the sector in the past six months, thanks, in part to ongoing concerns in that province about trade and its implications for the dairy sector.

The likelihood of recalling something about the sector increased with age and education, the survey noted.

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Kelsey Johnson is a reporter with iPolitics, www.ipolitics.ca.

  • Ag Q

    Hi, can you please provide a link to the survey?
    Thanks!

  • Denise

    The propaganda fed to farmers from agrochemical and biotech corps colors their views. They seldom hear about the downside of GE seed and pesticides unless they do their own research.
    articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/10/29/glyphosate-in-foods-and-population.aspx

    • ed

      Most would not beleive their own research if they did do it. Even the big companies with all their wonderful web sites and online services will go out of their way to openly criticize anything that a person would or could find on the internet. Go figure that one. Different rules for different people!

    • Happy Farmer

      OR, as we read in other WP articles, people believe things they are told over and over. Science does not seem to matter to these people.

      Conclusion – Anyone is subject to being “led down the garden path”.

      • Harold

        The Article in the WP said so; therefore it must be true; are you talking about that garden path? you are very quick to draw a conclusion.

  • old grouchy

    What’s truly scary is the reliance on the internet for information. The internet CAN be a useful source of information but it is also littered with copious quantities of male bovine excrement posing as ‘valid’ information. If you think I’m blowing smoke I suggest you look up things like flat earth societies and some of your supremacist groups/topics for your personal education.
    Because few people work hard on ‘reasoning through’ what they read we have a huge case of the blind leading the blind and all falling into the ditch! Changing the misinformation that is far too often hugely propagated is almost impossible and therefore we have an incredible growth of individuals who believe all kinds of patently off the wall ‘facts’.
    What we are left with is a system that is collapsing under its own structures. This system is our society.

    • Harold

      Why do you reason that the rest of us are first time internet users and incapable of sorting out fact from fiction? Do you have something that the rest don’t have that makes you feel the need to provide us with some internet use education? Is “flat earth” and “supremacists” your example of one working “hard” to reason out all of the content of the internet? As far as “misinformation’ and “off the wall facts” goes, Is it true that all things that revolve around you are true and factual and that all things that revolve around others is false; do you hold the responsibility and the yardstick of its measurement? You are “blowing smoke”. If all people agreed with you, would the “system” you spoke of repair itself? It is the rational of any Dictator.
      nonetheless, If you see that people are being led to into a ditch, it is possible that they may have only gone there to pee, like you did with your supremacy and flat earth examples.