October 8, 2020 –

Now, more than ever, Canadians want their food to be grown and processed here at home and encourage government support of the country’s agri-food sector. A sentiment heard loud and clear in a recent survey completed by Abacus Data on behalf of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada (DPAC).

Almost all (82%) of Canadians support the government doing more to encourage investment in Canada’s farming and food processing sectors, and feel that the government should at least play some role in ensuring that grocery companies are treating suppliers and consumers fairly.

DPAC, along with other agri-food groups have highlighted one particular barrier to investment and innovation in Canadian food processing sector: the practices of Canada’s largest grocery retailers.

With just five large chains controlling more than 80% of Canada’s grocery market, retailers are able to unilaterally dictate the terms of business with their food suppliers. Arbitrary fees and penalties, and not adhering to terms of contracts increases the costs of getting products to Canadians, decreases incentives for food processing investment and innovation, and reduces Canada’s ability to have a strong domestic food processing sector.

Food processors are not alone in questioning the impact of this type of imbalance. Canadians also think that more could be done to improve the food supply chain and aren’t sure they’re getting the best deal on their grocery bills.

  •  79% of Canadians feel that having a small number of grocery chains competing results in grocery prices being higher than they need to be
  • 87% would support the Canadian government playing at least some role in ensuring that grocery retailers are treating food suppliers and consumers fairly

DPAC, along with others in the food processing and farming sectors, have called for the introduction of a Grocery Code of Conduct to address heavy-handed behaviours of Canada’s largest grocery retailers. Similar measures taken by others have helped to create balanced, competitive environments which strengthen the domestic food supply and encourage agri-food investment. For consumers, measures to balance supplier-retailer relationships have slowed increases in the cost of food at a rate of 12-14% less than in Canada.

Almost all (89%) Canadians agree that it’s important that Canada has a strong domestic food supply chain so that we don’t have to rely on products made in other countries. 

To this end, DPAC believes that an important first step toward this goal is the introduction of a Grocery Code of Conduct.




The Dairy Processors Association of Canada is Canada’s national industry association representing the public policy and regulatory interests of the Canadian dairy processing industry. DPAC’s members represent some of the most recognized brands in Canada, providing work to over 24,500 Canadians and contributing $18 billion to the national economy.



The survey was conducted by Abacus Data with 2,440 Canadian residents from September 23 to 29, 2020 on behalf of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability based random sample of the same size is +/ 1.96%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.