The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity’s (CCFI) 2018 Public Trust Research report tracked consumer behaviours, identifying beliefs, values, fears and motivations using an innovative approach called digital ethnography, which is the adaptation of traditional ethnographic study methods to online media.
This approach led to the identification of five consumer archetypes and their prevalence in Canadian society. One of those archetypes, the competitor, constitutes around 18 per cent of the Canadian population, representing about 20 per cent share of collective voice. In Alberta, competitors make up 30 per cent of the population, well above the national average.
On the spectrum of opinion, competitors believe “the most profitable social authorities are the most credible,” compared to altruistic or popular social authorities, trusted more readily in other parts of the country. Competitors “believe in using a combination of their own common sense, personal practice and industry advice to filter out what food information is credible. [They] prefer following industry advice about food consumption and health, rather than heeding the advice of government authorities.”
Along with considering “food news [as] symbolic of market competition,” competitors are a particularly sticky bunch, similar in obstinacy to their counterparts on the other end of the spectrum—challengers who seek to align opinions with authorities like government. For competitors to see value in a position around food, the evidence is in what consumers are buying, not so much what the government says or what people are sharing on social media.
Competitors may be confident with the knowledge that Alberta most often produces an increasingly greater number of market-ready hogs annually. Last year, over 2.5 million were slaughtered at federally and provincially inspected processing facilities here and exported fresh and frozen to markets in Asia. For our provincial economy, production of cattle and hogs represented 46 per cent of all farm income, which contributed to the over $1 billion of revenue that agriculture provided to our province.
Demand for pork is on the rise globally, and in Alberta, we are naturally positioned to help create the necessary supply, though challenges exist with certain trade barriers and getting fair value for our producers. Certainly, we have a hungry world to feed and a product that is perfect to fill the void.
Pork consumption is on the rise in lucrative overseas markets and the developing world alike, while domestic pork consumption in North America remains steady. This is because pork from Alberta and Canada is viewed as a premium protein of the highest quality, which should satisfy the cravings of not only competitors but all archetypal appetites. But don’t just take our word for it: have a bite!