BC and Alberta Have Little Appetite for Genetically Modified Foods

Most residents in the two provinces hold negative views on GMO, and would support a Canada-wide ban.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians and Albertans hold genetically modified food in low regard, and a sizeable proportion of residents in the two provinces would support banning them from Canadian store shelves, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, 66% of British Columbians and 55% of Albertans say they have a negative opinion of genetically modified foods.

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British Columbians who have a positive view of genetically modified foods outline a belief that they will “increase production,” while Albertans who feel the same way think they will “eliminate hunger.” Residents off both provinces who express negative views on genetically modified foods essentially look at them as “unnatural.”

Half of people in Alberta (50%) and an even higher proportion in British Columbia (56%) would support implementing a ban on genetically modified foods in Canada.

“A ban on genetically modified foods is a very attractive proposition for Albertans and British Columbians aged 18-to-34,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Across the two provinces, those who hold negative views on genetically modified foods tend to look at them as unhealthy.”

Despite the evident animosity towards genetically modified foods, residents of the two western provinces may actually be buying them already. There are no mandatory labelling requirements for foods that contain genetically modified organisms in Canada, although some companies have added a “non-GMO verified” logo to their packaging in recent years.

Large majorities of Western Canadians say they “always” or “frequently” check labels to look at total calories (60% in BC, 55% in Alberta), fat (62% in BC, 61% in Alberta) and sodium (59% in BC, 56% in Alberta).

However, only one-third of British Columbians (34%) and a quarter of Albertans  (26%) say they “always” or “frequently” check labels to see if a product contains genetically modified organisms.

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“Western Canadians are clearly not happy with the prevalence of genetically modified foods, but they may not be taking all the necessary steps to figure out if they are actually purchasing them,” continues Canseco. “When it comes to labels, most of the attention continues to focus on calories, fat and sodium—but not on whether the food people are buying contains genetically modified organisms.”

 

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on two online studies. One conducted from January 7 to January 9, 2014, among 712 British Columbian adults who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members, and one conducted from January 24 to January 27, 2014, among 627 Albertan adults who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points for the British Columbia survey, and +/- 3.9 percentage points for the Alberta survey, nineteen times out of twenty. Click here to view a presentation for this release. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here for British Columbia’s or here for Alberta’s.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

Photograph: James Palinsad