For the last two years, the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, in partnership with Angus Reid, has released a report on food-related new year’s resolutions.
The survey’s intent is the measure of how concerned or confident people feel about the coming year in relation to food, and what they plan to do about it.
After a year marked by a global pandemic, 32% of Canadians feel the pandemic will impact their ability to pay for food in 2021. Almost one Canadian in three feels the pandemic will directly impact food prices for the next 12 months.
For two years, the survey asked Canadians which food category they are most concerned about. For the second year in a row the order between food categories has not changed. Vegetables are the one food category Canadians are most concerned about, but the percentage of Canadians concerned about vegetable prices went from 69% to 61%. Fruits are second at 58%, compared with 60% in 2020. The biggest change between 2020 and 2021 is with meat, with a 3% drop in 2021.
43% of Canadians say that they will change food shopping habits, compared with 53% in 2020. For those who did intend to change their habits, the survey also asked what Canadians intend to do differently in 2021 versus 2020.
Only 34% of Canadians intend to visit different retail stores, compared to 48% in 2020. Eat more plant-based products is less popular compared to 2020, a drop of 8 percentage points compared to 2020. Also, shopping online is clearly more popular for 2021 compared to 2020. The number of Canadians who intend to buy more online has more than doubled.
The survey also asked what Canadians intend to do for next year. Results were a little different compared to 2020. The most popular choice this year was to eat more vegetables and fruits in 2021. Last year, the number one new year’s resolution was to focus on reducing waste.
This year, only 40% of Canadians are planning to reduce the amount of food waste they generate, which is the second most popular option. Cooking more was chosen by 38% for 2021, compared to 44% in 2020. The change in the intent to continue or start a garden between the two years was significant. It went from 12% to 30%. Only 30% of Canadians intend to diet in 2021 compared to 42% in 2020. That is a 28% drop compared to last year. Results suggest health may not be a focus for this coming year, although more people are planning to manage their snacking schedule more wisely, at 27%.
Two more categories saw significant changes for 2021.
The will to donate to a local food pantry doubled in percentage, from 8% to 16%.
As for lunches to be brought at work, only 14% said they would do it more, versus 25% in 2020.