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BMO Financial Group

July 30, 2011 08:00 ET

It's Food Day Canada Today: BMO Asks, What Is On Your Plate?

- Food Day Canada celebrates locavore movement-those who make an effort to eat locally

- BMO survey finds a patriotic 94 per cent of Canadians feel it's important to purchase Canadian products

- Nearly eight in 10 try to purchase Canadian poultry and vegetables always or frequently, followed by beef (75 per cent)

- Survey shows Alberta big on beef, Ontario sweet on fruit, Quebec stuck on syrup and Manitoba and Saskatchewan pick pork

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 30, 2011) - Today marks Food Day Canada, "the largest locavore event in Canada's history," and Canadians en masse will be recognizing the event by eating local food, whether it is in a restaurant, at a BBQ or a cook out. Many Canadians are making this a regular habit according to a survey from BMO Bank of Montreal, which found 94 per cent of Canadians believe it's important to buy Canadian food.

Farm to Table

According to the survey, Canadians try to purchase the following home-grown products always or frequently:

  • Poultry (77 per cent)
  • Vegetables (77 per cent)
  • Beef (75 per cent)
  • Fruit (70 per cent)
  • Cheese (70 per cent)

"Canadian consumers continue to reap the benefits of a growing agriculture sector, with diverse and reliable food being produced from every province in the country," said David Rinneard, National Manager, Agriculture, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Our research tells us that Canadians are embracing the food options grown in our own backyard. These findings, coupled with demand from outside of Canada as well, are encouraging news for Canadian agricultural producers."

The Food Day Canada movement to recognize these producers was founded in 2003 by Anita Stewart, a self-described culinary activist. Many restaurants will offer a special menu with Canada-only selections, and a number of awards are given out for particular creative options. There is also a Do-It-Yourself Guide so no matter where Canadians find themselves, by a river or in a campground, they can also "Join the Party" and celebrate local food.

This year, the celebrations will begin with a sunrise breakfast in Signal Hill, NL and end with sunset on a beach in Vancouver, BC. More than 280 restaurants have enrolled to participate in 2011.

"Food Day Canada began as an idea to open the eyes of Canadians about our great northern bounty," said Anita Stewart, Creator and President, Food Day Canada. "We have seen the number of restaurants participating double since last year, and received some incredible entries over the year. Our awards, including the new Wildest Menu, are just fun incentives. The real winners, however, are our producers!"

Coast to Coast

The BMO survey also highlights regional trends for buying Canadian products:

  • Those who live in Alberta are more likely to purchase beef (84 per cent) compared to most other regions
  • Those who live in Ontario are more likely to purchase fruit (76 per cent) compared to most other regions.
  • Those who live in Quebec are most likely to buy maple syrup (84 per cent) but least likely to purchase wine (13 per cent)
  • Those who live in Manitoba or Saskatchewan are most likely to buy Canadian pork products (75 per cent)

Industry Outlook

According to a report from BMO Capital Markets Economics, the Canadian agricultural sector is expected to grow between 3.5 and 4 per cent in 2011, buoyed by favourable prices, expanding global economic activity and improved financial conditions.

The crops sector is slated to grow at a slightly faster pace than the livestock sector, which will see activity limited by smaller breeding herds and high feeding costs. Canadian farmers are expected to continue to experience solid financial performance this year, with crop and livestock prices expected to remain buoyant and output rising on stronger demand and improved yields.

Internet: www.foodday.ca

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