BMO Bank of Montreal
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BMO Bank of Montreal

February 11, 2012 10:00 ET

Food Freedom Day 2012: BMO Recognizes Important Milestone for Canadian Consumers; Expects Lower Food Prices

- Canadians spend an average of 10 per cent of disposable income on food

- With heightened retail competition, consumers are likely to face somewhat lower food costs in 2012

- BMO study finds 86 per cent of consumers believe, despite recent price increases, it is important to purchase food products made in Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 11, 2012) - BMO Bank of Montreal recognizes an important milestone that Canadian consumers will reach this Sunday - Food Freedom Day 2012. According to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, this day is the calendar date by which the average Canadian will have earned enough money to pay for groceries for the entire year.

Canadians spend an average of just over $7,000 on food annually, which is approximately 10 per cent of household expenditures. That compares to $5,700 (11.4 per cent of household expenditures) in 1997. By comparison, food consumption accounts for 45 per cent of household expenses in Indonesia, 39 per cent in China, and more than 13 per cent in the United States, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

"Concern about widespread food price inflation is receding as the supply outlook for a number of agricultural commodities improves," said Kenrick Jordan, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Intense competition in food retailing is also playing a role in restraining price increases. Overall, food price increases are expected to be a fair bit lower, on average, this year compared to 2011."

When asked in a recent BMO poll, 86 per cent of Canadians responded that they felt it was important or very important that they purchase Canadian produced food.

"Canadians benefit from a strong and stable agriculture system with reliable food sources and unparalleled safety. Our study's findings reaffirm the value consumers place on these factors when deciding the food they will purchase for themselves and their families," said David Rinneard, National Manager of Agriculture, BMO Bank of Montreal. Rinneard added that "Food Freedom Day presents Canadians with an opportunity to thank our farmers and show our support for their efforts to maintain a strong and vibrant Canadian agricultural sector."

"By recognizing Food Freedom Day, we also hope to draw attention to the process that brings safe, quality food to the table of Canadians, and to encourage them to make choices at the grocery store that will support the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry," said Ron Bonnett, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

BMO's roots in the Canadian agricultural sector date back to 1817, when it first began working with farmers. BMO Bank of Montreal provides customized loan and deposit solutions to Canada's agri-business owners, the single largest core commercial sector that the bank serves. For Canadian businesses, including those in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, looking to innovate, enhance productivity, and grow their business, BMO Bank of Montreal recently announced a credit boost of $10 Billion over the next three years.

Fast Facts About Canada's Agriculture Industry:

  • The agriculture and agri-food sector plays an important role in the Canadian economy, employing one in eight jobs directly and accounting for 8.1 per cent of total GDP, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
  • Local farmers' markets are responsible for over $1 billion in sales and have a total economic effect of over $3 billion.

Survey was completed online from January 23-25, 2012, using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1523 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.51 per cent 19 times out of 20.

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