Ontario consumers want local chicken above all else, and are comforted that the agri-food business system supporting the domestic chicken industry is creating jobs, supporting local economies and preserving the family farm, say the results of research commissioned by Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

The survey conducted with more than 600 consumers across Ontario, found a vast majority— three-quarters — prefer chicken that is raised locally in Ontario.

Respondents were also strongly in favor of supply management, the economic model that ensures the supply of chicken meets the demand in the marketplace.

“We are pleased to see that Ontario chicken consumers feel confident about the local food system that supplies the vast majority of their fresh chicken,” said Henry Zantingh, chair, Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “Given that the Ontario chicken industry creates almost $3 billion in economic activity for the province each year and employs a work force of almost 20,000, it is encouraging that our consumers understand the relationship between their desire to access a stable supply of safe, healthy, locally grown chicken and the benefits to the Ontario economy.”

The supply management system under which the Ontario chicken industry operates promotes the production and consumption of safe and healthy locally grown chicken. This system has been effective in ensuring the supply of fresh chicken matches consumer demand and that chicken farmers receive a fair price for their product. Ontarians widely support this system that promotes Ontario food production, supports Ontario farmers and contributes to the provincial economy without the need for government subsidies.

“We live in a world where bigger is often seen as better and multi-national corporations are perceived as taking over,” said Rob Dougans, Chicken Farmers of Ontario president and CEO. “But that’s not the reality in Ontario’s chicken industry. The vast majority of Ontario chicken farms remain family-owned, passed down through generations with the next generation learning the craft at the feet of their parents. Ontario chicken farmers are integral members of their communities.”