Source: Dairy Processors Association of Canada
Now, more than ever, Canadians want their food to be grown and processed here at home and encourage government support of the country’s agri-food sector. A sentiment heard loud and clear in a recent survey completed by Abacus Data on behalf of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada (DPAC).
Almost all (82%) of Canadians support the government doing more to encourage investment in Canada’s farming and food processing sectors, and feel that the government should at least play some role in ensuring that grocery companies are treating suppliers and consumers fairly.
DPAC, along with other agri-food groups have highlighted one particular barrier to investment and innovation in Canadian food processing sector: the practices of Canada’s largest grocery retailers.
With just five large chains controlling more than 80% of Canada’s grocery market, retailers are able to unilaterally dictate the terms of business with their food suppliers. Arbitrary fees and penalties, and not adhering to terms of contracts increases the costs of getting products to Canadians, decreases incentives for food processing investment and innovation, and reduces Canada’s ability to have a strong domestic food processing sector.
Food processors are not alone in questioning the impact of this type of imbalance. Canadians also think that more could be done to improve the food supply chain and aren’t sure they’re getting the best deal on their grocery bills.
- 79% of Canadians feel that having a small number of grocery chains competing results in grocery prices being higher than they need to be
- 87% would support the Canadian government playing at least some role in ensuring that grocery retailers are treating food suppliers and consumers fairly
DPAC, along with others in the food processing and farming sectors, have called for the introduction of a Grocery Code of Conduct to address heavy-handed behaviours of Canada’s largest grocery retailers. Similar measures taken by others have helped to create balanced, competitive environments which strengthen the domestic food supply and encourage agri-food investment. For consumers, measures to balance supplier-retailer relationships have slowed increases in the cost of food at a rate of 12-14% less than in Canada.
Almost all (89%) Canadians agree that it’s important that Canada has a strong domestic food supply chain so that we don’t have to rely on products made in other countries.
To this end, DPAC believes that an important first step toward this goal is the introduction of a Grocery Code of Conduct.