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Canadians' food habits change amid climate concerns: Survey

More consumers plan to eat at home, EY survey finds

A growing number of Canadians say they plan to cook and entertain at home more often as concerns around inflation and climate change deepen.

The EY Future Consumer Index survey reports that 41% of consumers plan to eat food at home, with 48% of respondents planning to order takeout food less – a 15% jump from just over a year ago.

Nearly one-third of Canadians have had to change the food they eat because climate change has pushed up prices or limited the availability of products, EY said. 

Thirty two per cent say they’re starting to consider buying products that can mitigate the effects of climate change.

"Extreme weather events, rising energy costs and continued changes to harvests and crops have meaningfully impacted prices and affordability — some consumers have already made switches out of necessity and more are likely to follow," said Elliot MorrisEY Canada grocery and consumer packaged goods leader, in a statement. "Consumer products companies can't ignore the large percentages of Canadians who are changing their lifestyles and consumption habits in response to climate change and affordability concerns."

For the more than half of consumers who indicate they're planning to buy less overall, 38% say this due to an effort to help the environment. Fashion accessories (60%) topped the list of product categories followed by toys and gadgets (52%) and clothing, footwear, beauty and cosmetics (48%). 

Two-thirds (64%) of Canadians attribute their efforts to drive change to a personal concern for the fragility of the planet (up 8% from October 2022).

However, efforts vary across generations. Globally, 65% of baby boomers bring reusable bags to the store compared with just 43% of gen Z. Sixty three per cent of baby boomers recycle or reuse packaging after use, compared with 48% of millennials.

On the flipside, younger generations in Canada are speaking with their wallets. One-quarter of gen Z respondents indicated that they are willing to pay for more sustainable goods and services compared with 6% of baby boomers. And 32% of gen Zs will check an organization's sustainability policies online compared with 7% of baby boomers.

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