The month of September promotes buying local. Yet, to buy local, you first must be able to identify the origin of the products, and then, have the means to pay for those products. After looking into the matter, the Courrier Laval News reveals it’s more difficult than it seems.
For the past few months, all politicians and merchants have been telling consumers the importance of buying local. With inflation and labour shortage crises, made worse by the pandemic, every country is promoting local consumption.
However, it can be very hard to properly identify, especially in grocery stores, the origin of food. Sometimes, even misleading information is displayed.
Between Deception and Marketing
The line may seem thin between a marketing technique and outright deception. However, this line seems to widen when the merchant himself displays two completely different information.
For example, when entering a Maxi, we can read “Quebec apples” on a poster. When taking a closer look at those apples, we can see the brand name, Prima Frutta, followed by the acronym USA (United States) on the label adorning the fruit.
After verifying, Prima Frutta is indeed an American company, based in California, whose main activity is the cultivation of apples and cherries. However, on the label mentioned, it’s clearly written “provenance: Quebec”.
Asked about the reason for such a statement, which is obviously false by looking at what we’ve just learned, the management of the establishment relays the question to his subordinate, in charge of fruits and vegetables. The latter will also relay the question, this time to the manager of the grocery store, who’ll conclude by saying he can’t answer the question because he’s not trained in the matter.
The Courrier Laval News also looked at another category of food Quebec is rich in resources… seafood.
In several food markets, such as Maxi, but also IGA for example, packaging with questionable names emerged. The SeaQuest and President Choice brands are selling Pacific shrimp… from India. Unfortunately, although India is a huge peninsula coming out into an ocean, it turns out to be the Indian Ocean and nowhere on its territory does the country touch the Pacific Ocean.
The Green Choice brand sells “wild Argentinian shrimp” processed in Vietnam, before crossing the world a second time to end up on our shelves. A long journey that misleads the consumer as to the real origin of the product.
The research carried out has also revealed it’s not given to everyone to buy local. The apple, emblematic fruit of Quebec, is less expensive, if not at the same price as its competitors. Those from the United States, Chile or Fiji are between $2.49 and $2.99 per pound. As for those of Quebec, they’re minimum $2.49 per pound.
To get the fruit, and this, from Quebec, it’s necessary to fall back on the reserves of last year, which are being sold $1.29. Another common fruit that is produced here is the tomato. This one is sold for $2.99 per pound, compared to its Mexican counterpart, which is only $2.49 per pound.
When it comes to seafood, there is sole, a fish that isn’t lacking in Quebec. They’re being sold for $36.35 per kilo, while those from China are $20.92. The trend is similar for other similar products such as the Canadian trout at $33.05 per kilo, against $31.95 for Peruvian trout.
A response from the Office de protection du consommateur is still awaited for this article.
translated by Alec Brideau