Harvesting the facts: is eating local really more expensive? not necessarily, according to a large comparative study

The study results show that local options can be competitively priced, at a time when food prices have become a source of worry for most Québec consumers.


According to a new Dalhousie University study commissioned by Aliments du Québec, local products are as competitive (neutral price difference) or more competitive than products from elsewhere in 70.83% of the categories studied. In a context of high inflation and rising cost of living, Aliments du Québec wanted to find out if local food could be a viable option for Québec consumers trying to lower their grocery bill by answering the question, “Is eating local really more expensive?”

“Aliments du Québec is delighted by the results of this large comparative study, the first of its kind in Québec, confirming that many products grown or made locally are very competitively priced. We now have evidence that Québec products can be wallet-friendly alternatives to their non-local counterparts,” said Isabelle Roy, General Manager of Aliments du Québec.

“Adding those grocery products to our shopping carts also bolsters Québec’s economy and food autonomy.” This study was conducted in Québec in January and February 2022 and supervised by Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Scientific Director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.

Its objective was to determine whether local products were competitively priced compared to non-local products. In over two thirds (2/3) of the categories studied (70.83%), the local products were either as competitive or more competitive than the comparable products from elsewhere.



See the summary


Those products (sorted by section) include:

  • Grocery: Drinks (juice, coffee, water, kombucha), granola bar, jam, peanut butter, salad dressing, flour, pancake mix, legumes, barbecue sauce, cookie, cake, chips, and candy
  • Dairy and dairy alternatives: Milk, cheese, ice cream and sorbet, margarine and plant-based beverage
  • Meat and fish: Sausage and fish
  • Fruits and vegetables: Apples, prepared salads, vegetables  and tofu
  • Bakery: Bread, tortilla and pita bread, and bagel
  • Deli: Bruschetta, smoked ham, and fresh pasta
  • Frozen foods: frozen meals



Good news for Québec consumers and the agri-food industry!

“The results of our analysis prove that a broad range of local products are similarly or more competitively priced than comparable non-local products,” said Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Scientific Director of the Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics Lab (AAL). “

Local products studied represent a viable alternative for Québec consumers. This is good news for the province’s agri-food industry, especially in an endemic economy where inflation is having significant impacts on households’ purchasing power.” Visit Aliments du Québec’s website to learn more about the results of the study .

On June 14, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., representatives from the bio-food industry are invited to attend a webinar hosted in French by Ms. Isabelle Roy, General Manager of Aliments du Québec, and Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Scientific Director of the Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics Lab.



About the study

Food products in 48 categories within seven major sections were evaluated. Over 134 local products and 431 comparable non-local products were studied, and a total of 351,787 different price data points were analyzed. The local products were selected by the AAL team and then reviewed by Aliments du Québec to ensure that they were available to most Québec residents and that they were mostly produced, transformed and packaged in Québec by a company with a valid Québec enterprise number (NEQ). Following that, price data was collected for each Québec product selected, as well as for its comparable non-local counterparts, on six specific dates: January 24 and 31, and February 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2022. Prices were collected at five different grocery retailers: IGA, Maxi, Metro, Provigo and Walmart.


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