Canadian Centre for Food Integrity boosts the food system

The organization has begun a strategic plan to begin more direct communications with consumers.


The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity is doing “a virtual handshake with the food sector” to reassure consumers about the capabilities and innovation in the food system.

In the creative for “It’s Good Canada,” the organization says its membership is invested and committed to making food safe, available and affordable. Other online collateral includes first-person accounts from farmers about what they grow and where it can be found on the grocery store, as well as a representative from Redpath sugar, talking about how its brand is working hard to keep shelves stocked.

John Jamieson, president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, tells strategy that the campaign works on two levels conceptually. The first is that the food industry has adaptated and changed in order to keep food on the table and the supply chain robust during the pandemic. For the last several months, surges in demand and disruption in supply chains have led to consumers seeing shortages in several food categories, namely meat and baking.

The second, Jamieson says, is getting the word out that Canada is recognized as having one of the best food systems in the world, citing a study of the OECD countries, recognizing Canada and Ireland as the top countries.

CCFI’s membership is broad and covers all food systems, and the creative includes representation for the fishery, beekeeping, cattle ranching, pork production and poultry industries. Going forward, members like A&W, Maple Lodge Foods and Redpath will work with the organization to advance the messaging.

As the campaign builds out, Jamieson says it will get into deeper subjects as well. For example, there will be rancher in Alberta talking about how he is addressing climate change, and a mussel grower in PEI talking about how filter feeders can remove contaminants from the water.

The messaging, Jamieson says, is one part of a bigger organizational strategic plan to directly communicate with consumers, and provide more Canadian research and policy analysis, beyond what its U.S.-based affiliate, the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), currently provides.

CCFI was created in May 2016, a Canadian offshoot of U.S.-based CFI, to help food systems build trust with consumers, and this campaign is an effort for the young organization to connect with Canadians.

Jamieson, a former deputy minister of agriculture and fisheries and the deputy minister of rural and regional development in Prince Edward Island, says there’s an image of the food system in people’s minds that is not as modern as the organization would like. The group’s mandate, he says, is to eventually showcase all the science and technology used in the food supply.

“We are hoping to present an image of a healthy, progressive, innovative system,” Jamieson says, and concedes that the industry itself is partly to blame for the “pitchfork and coveralls” image of the folksy farmer. He says it wants to move past that to attract a more diverse and younger set, who are more enticed by a culture of innovation, the food industries.

Tank was the lead agency, developing most of the creative, with food and agriculture agencies Ad Farm and Kahntact supporting through providing industry knowledge and handling some of the social media planning. The campaign is starting on paid digital channels, but Jamieson says and the long-term plan is to add traditional mass platforms to the mix, including radio, TV and OOH.