2012 Foodland Ontario performance measures

  • the Foodland Ontario symbol is recognized by 94% of principal grocery shoppers
  • 80% of principal grocery shoppers intend to purchase Ontario fresh food
  • of the Ontario principal grocery shoppers who recognize the Foodland Ontario symbol, 72% make an unaided association with fresh Ontario food

Background to Ontario food definitions

In March 2008, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) worked with industry associations to develop commodity-specific Ontario food definitions for government marketing programs. The approach focused on engaging the industry to develop commodity-specific definitions for products that would meet the needs of production practices in the province and maintain high levels of Ontario content.

After the definitions were developed, submitted and reviewed by Ontario food processing, retail and food service groups, research firm Ipsos Reid Public Affairs conducted four consumer focus groups. The focus groups consisted of:

  • no less than eight per group
  • principal grocery shoppers
  • two specialty groups comprised of:
    • people who cook for their families, and
    • those who consider themselves 'locavores'
  • rural and urban participants

Following the consumer focus group testing, Ipsos Reid conducted an internet survey of 500 principal grocery shoppers that:

  • examined four of the commodity-specific definitions in detail, and
  • provided further feedback on consumers' overall understanding of Ontario foods

Results of consumer focus group testing of the Ontario food definitions

Focus group testing revealed that consumers had a positive reaction to the definitions proposed for government marketing purposes. However, suggested the below changes for consistency and clarity:

  • be consistent in terms for all meat
  • reduce ambiguity in words such as 'out-of-province'
  • use value statements with the definitions (i.e. use 'Ontario' farmers and 'Ontario' economy)
  • remove vague terms such as 'started' and finished' and replace with 'born' and 'slaughter'
  • if a percentage is supplied in a definition, indicate where the other percent of the product comes from
  • avoid using the term 'final volume' - it is unclear

The consensus was that the Foodland Ontario logo should be used to represent all Ontario foods in retail settings. This includes produce, meat and other Ontario produced food.

Results of internet survey of the Ontario food definitions

Consumer satisfaction levels of commodity-specific definitions (beef, chicken, milk, and processed food products)

  • very satisfied with definitions
  • levels ranged from 75% to 85%
  • little variation in public opinion by age, gender and region

Processed food with a main ingredient not sourced from Ontario (i.e. pineapple cream cheese)

  • 87% agreed this product should not be identified as from Ontario

Main ingredients in processed foods (i.e. vegetables and beef in a vegetable beef soup)

  • 88% agreed that the main ingredients must be sourced from Ontario in order to be identified as Ontario
  • this approach is in keeping with the federal government's "Product of Canada" labelling requirements