The Value of Food Certification and Labels for Consumers in Québec (Canada)
Consumers’ habits regarding food are evolving. They are increasingly concerned about the impact of their diet on their health, but also on the environment and on the condition of the producers’ lives. Recent scandals regarding the agri-food industry and recurrent outbreaks of foodborne illness have also undermined the consumers’ trust in the quality of the food they buy. Globalization of the food supply chain and the increasing amount of processed food products make this judgment even more difficult. The development of label claims and certifications by the industry is intended to meet the new consumers’ expectations and help them in their decision-making.
The main objective of this study was, therefore, to assess the value of food certification and label for consumers. To achieve this goal, a quantitative methodology based on a questionnaire has been developed. The survey has been designed based on the literature as well as consultations with key stakeholders from the agri-food industry. It covers three research themes: 1) perceptions and consumer behavior, 2) knowledge of the certification process and the potential for certification development and 3) use and influence of information sources. Administered by a polling and market research collaborator in January 2018, the questionnaire has been answered by a representative sample of the population (N = 1032).