September 17 to 25, 2016, marks this year’s National Organic Week, the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. With hundreds of events and thousands of retail promotions taking place across Canada, Organic Week showcases the benefits of organic agriculture and its positive impact on the environment, animal welfare, as well as our well-being. Supported by regional partners and coordinated by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), Canadian Organic Growers (COG), and the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), Organic Week shines a spotlight on why Canadians should choose to think before they eat.
“With the number of organic products on the market continuously growing, it’s easier than ever to go organic,” says Rochelle Eisen, president of COG. Many of Canada’s top organic farms, wineries, retailers and restaurants take part in Organic Week, offering Canadians the perfect opportunity to experience firsthand the bounty of Canada’s organic harvest. “Whether it’s hosting a potluck picnic for friends or sampling organic wine and beer, we encourage Canadians to help spread the word about how choosing organic means supporting sustainability and promoting animal welfare.”
Some new and exciting trends have been revealed thanks to the Canada Organic Trade Association’s second national consumer survey to be released later this year. The study aimed to understand consumers’ awareness of the benefits of organic agriculture, uncover consumers’ organic purchasing habits and gauge the level of trust Canadians have in organic and non-organic claims.
Key findings from the study show:
The face of organic is changing as more “millennials” are shifting towards organic in Canada:
· One in five (twenty-one per cent) shoppers from 18 to 34 years say they are buying more organic, while shoppers in older age groups are holding steady.
· Eighty-six percent of Canadians expect to increase or maintain their organic spending in the near future.
· The number of consumers that are regularly buying organic in the country is around 20 million (fifty-six per cent of Canadians).
“Governments are following in the footsteps of consumer trends,” says Tia Loftsgard, Executive Director of COTA. “Federal investment in the organic sector and provincial initiatives supporting farmers to transition to organic show how consumer-led efforts can truly make a difference. We’re proud to be involved in the continued growth of the organic movement alongside its passionate ambassadors this September.”
More and more Canadians are looking to reduce their exposure to synthetic chemicals and genetically engineered (GMO) ingredients with the aim of taking better care of themselves, their families, and the environment. Coast-to-coast Organic Week events range in scale, from smaller organic farm tours to community-wide organic festivals. Hundreds of health food stores, farmer’s markets and grocery chains will be showcasing organic products and educating consumers.
“With events taking place in communities all over the country, there are so many ways Canadians can support and get involved in the Organic Week celebration,” says CHFA president, Helen Long. “Last year, we saw everything from pickling workshops and farm tours to recipe contests and organic food and drink tastings. These happenings represent the creative ways Canadians are choosing to go organic and how they are making a conscious decision to protect their bodies and the environment, all while supporting local farmers.”
To find out more about Organic Week events or promotions being offered near you, please visit organicweek.ca.
Organic Week was made possible this year by champion sponsors UNFI Canada, Sobeys Inc., Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, Nature’s Path Foods, Clif Bar & Company, alive Publishing Group Inc, PC Organics, Mike and Mike’s Organics, Cal-Organics Farms, Yorkshire Valley Farm, Green Organic Vegetables, Field Farm Marketing Ltd., DOM International Limited, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Earthbound Farm Organic, Wholesome!, True Organic Juice, DeeBee’s SpecialTea Foods, Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds, Ecocert Canada, Organic Meadow, Pacific Organic Seafood Association, Organic Garage, The Homemade Organics Company, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre, Pro-Cert Organic, Patience Fruit & Co, The Big Carrot, Hippie Foods, Ethical Bean Coffee, Quality Assurance International, and Fairtrade Canada.