A majority of Canadians are concerned that climate change could impact food production in the country, a new survey has found.
Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in partnership with Caddle, surveyed 5,450 Canadians about their eating habits during the summer/hot weather, and how climate change is shifting their perceptions around food security.
More than half (52.3%) of respondents said they were either very or extremely concerned about climate change in general, while 21.3% were either slightly or not concerned at all. Seventy-three per cent believe climate change is affecting weather patterns.
When it comes to food production, 61% believe climate change is impacting Canada’s ability to produce food, while 14.9% think otherwise and 25.1% have some belief that it is.
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The survey also assessed Canadians' worries about food availability being affected by climate change, with 47.1% expressing concern and 22.2% showing no concern at all.
A total of 37.6% of respondents said they often or always consider the environmental impact of their food choices, while 29.4% rarely or never do so.
While Quebec has the highest percentage of respondents who consider the environmental impact of food choices during hot weather (48.1%), Saskatchewan has the lowest (26.4%).
Some Canadians claim that they have already seen the impacts of climate change on food availability. A total of 40.1% of Canadians have noticed changes in the availability or variety of certain foods during the summer in recent years – 32.9% say no and 27% are not sure.
READ: Canada saw decline in fresh fruit, vegetable availability in 2022
However, 60.3% of Canadians believe we will continue to have access to the same foods regardless of weather changes and patterns.
When it comes to dietary changes in hot weather, 61.5% of Canadians reported modifying their diets in the summer months. Fresh fruits were the top choice (61.4%), followed by ice cream and frozen desserts (60.7%), salads and chilled vegetables (53%) and grilled meats and seafood (49.2%).
"We were intrigued to find that while Quebec leads in considering the environmental impact of food choices during hot weather, Saskatchewan lags behind. Our study highlights the growing importance of climate-conscious eating habits and raises awareness about the need for sustainable practices in the agri-food sector. However, results show that as Canadians witness the effects of climate change on food availability, most remain confident about the future,” Sylvain Charlebois, lab director, Agri-Food Analytics Lab, said in a statement.