06/23/2015 02:05 EDT | Updated 06/23/2016 05:59 EDT

Tim Hortons is Canada's most trusted brand, research shows

Tim Hortons is the most trusted corporate brand in Canada and remains trusted even after its sale to Brazilian group 3G Capital, according to the Gustavson Brand Index.

The index rates Canadian consumer attitudes toward 249 well-known brands, both Canadian and international, and is performed by the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.

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Tim Hortons is significantly ahead of both other restaurants and other brands on qualities such as consistency, reliability, honesty and care, which consumers value in corporate brands.

It also scores highly on social measures such as care for workers and environmental responsibility, as well as responsibility to society.

"Its history hasn't been forgotten," said David Dunne, professor at the Gustavson School of Business, adding that Canadians value its hockey-hero roots, despite the change of ownership. Tim Hortons also gets high marks for community engagement.

"It is embedded in Canadian communities, in every hockey team or soccer team, and is very much part of the fabric of Canadian life," he said.

The survey found that Canadians rate brands highly for reliability, consistency and honesty. 

They also tend to have high levels of trust in Canadian brands, with names such as President's Choice, Shoppers Drug Mart and Canadian Tire among the top 10 most trusted brands, probably because they are familiar choices with a long track record.

The top 10 brands Canadians trust:

- Tim Hortons

- President's Choice

- Shoppers Drug Mart

- Google

- Canadian Tire

- Kraft Foods

- Campbell Soup Company

- Heinz

- Canada Post

- Johnson & Johnson

The President's Choice brand is well ahead of other food brands, including international brands, in part because of scoring high on value for money, Dunne said.

Why trust at all?

"What PC did from the beginning was find an original and innovative products without any international competitors and when they did have competition, they matched the quality and did it for less," Dunne said.

Brands such as Shoppers Drug Mart and Canadian Tire are like Tim Hortons and seen as relevant to communities, he said.

The study, based on an online survey of 3,125 Canadians aged 18 to 65 undertaken by market research survey Lightspeed GMI, follows the same methodology as the well-regarded business study GoodBrands.

A group of respondents adjusted to match Canadian demographics rated the companies and brands on approximately 40 different factors.

While trust in authority is waning, Dunne said people seem to have trust in brands that are part of their everyday lives.

"One of the reasons we did the study was we were interested in why people trust you. Corporations might say 'why should we invest in sustainability and in communities?' Well the answer is it makes people trust your brand," Dunne said.

The Gustavson School of Business aims to study Canadian attitudes toward brands annually.