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Young Canadians willing to pay extra for organic and non-GMO food: Research Co.

A new survey conducted by Research Co. has found that young Canadians aged 18 to 34 are more likely to be willing to pay a premium for food that is organic or free-from genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Of the 1,000 people involved in the survey, 41 per cent said they would not pay a higher price for organic food. The proportion increases to 57 per cent among people aged 55 and over, but decreases to 41 per cent among those aged 35 to 54. Only about one-quarter (23 per cent) of younger Canadians aged 18 to 34 said they wouldn’t pay more for organic food, according to the survey.

The survey found similar results regarding non-GMO food, with 31 per cent of people expressing their unwillingness to pay a premium for free-from GMO food. The proportion is higher (38 per cent) among those aged 55 and over and similar (31 per cent) among those aged 35 to 54 and lower (22 per cent) for those aged 18 to 34.

More than a third of Canadians would not be willing to pay extra for food from a company that guaranteed a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Research Co. Similarly, just under half of people aged 55 and older (45 per cent) said they would not consider paying a premium compared to those aged 35 to 54 (38 per cent) and 18 to 34 (23 per cent).

“More than two-in-five residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (42 per cent), Atlantic Canada (41 per cent) and Alberta (41 per cent) would not be swayed by food producers guaranteeing lower greenhouse gas emissions than their competitors,” Research Co. president Mario Canseco said in a news release published May 17. “The proportions are lower in British Columbia (37 per cent), Ontario (35 per cent) and Quebec (28 per cent).

When asked about climate change, 79 per cent of Canadians agreed that it threatens the world’s food supply, 76 per cent of people said they feel climate change is a danger to Canada’s food supply and 73 per cent said the same about their province.

The survey also found 33 per cent of Canadians frequently check the labels of the food they buy to review the country or province of origin. About 24 per cent check labels to see if products are organic while 23 per cent do so to verify if they are non-GMO.

Research Co. says 61 per cent of Canadians believe that the agriculture sector is “definitely” or “probably” taking steps to reduce its environmental impact, 60 per cent said the forestry sector is doing the same, while the perception is lower for the natural gas (47 per cent) and mining (42 per cent) industries.


Results are based on an online study conducted from May 4 to May 6, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender, and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.