Post-recession, Canadians changing attitudes, behaviours – study

The seventh annual BrandSpark Canadian Shopper Study takes consumer temperatures on environment, health and nutrition and house brands as well as naming the best new products of 2010.

Canadians are eating more at home, buying more private label products and are less concerned about the environment than they were a year ago, according to the seventh annual BrandSpark Canadian Shopper Study released yesterday.

The study by BrandSpark International gauges the attitudes, habits and trends of over 25,000 Canadian shoppers (more than twice the number surveyed in previous years) on timely topics such as environmental accountability and health.

Overall, Canadians (28%) are more confident about the economy than Americans (7%), and are more concerned about the environment than our southern neighbours (69% vs. 62% of Americans). The top purchase factor for Canadians in Food & Beverage was ‘taste’ before ‘price,’ while ‘price’ ruled in Health & Beauty and ‘effectiveness’ ranked top in Household Products.

As the recession compelled people to seek more value for their money, 47% of Canadians have purchased more private label goods in the past year. However, the number of people who ‘think that private label or in-store brand products are just as good as brand name products’ fell from 65% in 2009 to 61%. But private label brands still rank among Canadians’ top five trusted brands, which are, in order: Kraft, President’s Choice, Tide, Campbell’s and Procter & Gamble.

With financial concerns top of mind, the number of Canadians who feel ‘it is important that a new product is better for the environment’ dropped from 76% in 2009 to 69% in 2010. Suspicions of greenwashing are still alive and well, with 82% holding the belief that companies exploit green-friendly claims, and packaging is still a villain, as 89% assert that companies ‘still have a long way to go’ to reduce the amount of waste in their products.

More Canadians are enjoying cooking at home more often (73%), and 83% ‘want products that offer healthier options.’ The survey states that Canadians are more confident in food safety, as 72% said they were ‘more concerned’ about this issue vs. 81% in 2009.

When it comes to organics, 45% feel that ‘it is more important to me that a product is natural than organic,’ while among those who don’t buy organic, 53% don’t believe organic claims and 47% are still confused as to what the term really means.

On the new product front, the Top 2010 Best New Product Award winners are Astro Zer0 Superfruit Yogurt, Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil and Ziploc Evolve sandwich bags. A full list of winning products is available at