Consumer Corner: Eating Patterns in Canada -- Part 2

 
 
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 Introduction | Venue distribution of lunches | The skipped lunch and the afternoon snack | Top lunch vs. top snack foods | Lunch at restaurants
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Introduction

The Consumer and Market Analysis Group purchases Market Research Reports in order to understand the possible changes in consumer behaviour and the potential for our industry to capitalize on these changes. One such report purchased is “Eating Patterns in Canada, 12th Edition”. The report was published by the NDP Group.

This report provides a unique look at in-home and away from home eating behaviour. What foods do Canadians eat at different meal occasions? Where do we eat these foods? Who eats what and how often? Also, covered is eating behaviour in the home during the recession. In the last consumer corner we explored the breakfast eating habits of Canadians. With this report we will explore the eating habits of Canadians at lunch, and snacking instances.

Venue Distribution of Lunches

In 2009, the average Canadian ate 300 lunches, which has virtually not changed over the last ten years. Lunch, of all meal occasions, is the meal eaten out of the home most often.



Compared to ten years ago all age groups are eating fewer lunches at home and younger age groups are carrying more lunches from home, as are more boomers and seniors.

Sandwiches and fruits are the top foods to be carried from home but both are declining along with cookies, salads and soup. Foods that have found growth are vegetables, yogurt, snack bars and cheese. While sandwich eatings are declining at lunch and dinner, its popularity is increasing during breakfast. Ham and lunch meat, two of the most common sandwiches are being eaten less. Turkey sandwiches, perceived as being leaner and better for you, are gaining ground.

Young adults are less inclined to eat many of the top lunch foods, while those over 65 are more inclined. Following is a chart that shows the top lunch foods by age group. Highlighted in red are foods that are at least 20 percent below average in that age group and highlighted in green are the foods that are at least 20 percent above average for that age group.

Category
Average
<18
18-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+
Sandwiches
96.1
100.5
90.4
84.2
95.2
107.1
105.4
Fruit
51.9
56.9
35.2
42.7
50.9
55.1
82.8
Vegetables
45.1
47.8
27.3
47.9
50.8
43.7
70.6
Soup
43.3
32.9
30.2
44.4
39.1
50.4
81.1
Salads
14.9
18.3
20.9
34.1
35.6
35
41.8
French Fries
14.3
16.9
19.2
16.3
14
11
7
Bread Non-Toasted
14
11.5
8.8
11.3
14.9
15.1
30.9
Yogurt
13.9
14.2
8.4
17.9
14.4
15.5
17.2
Cookies
13.9
13.6
10.8
10.1
9.4
15.5
28.8
All Other Pasta
13.4
18.8
13.2
17
15.3
7.4
6.9
20% Below Average
20% Above Average
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More Canadians are turning to frozen food as an option for the carried from home lunch. In 2009, 6.7 percent of Canadians had a frozen food for lunch in an average week. Frozen food has risen steadily from 2000 when frozen food was only carried 3.6 percent of the time. Frozen pizza is the clear favourite in this category. In 2000 pizza had a penetration rate of only 2.5 percent while in 2009 pizza has doubled its penetration rate to 5.0 percent.

Following a decline in the middle of the decade leftovers are gradually making a comeback and they are being carried from home at an even faster rate. Soup remains the most common leftover eaten at home or carried away from home. In 2009, the average Canadian had soup as a leftover for lunch 8.2 times. Increased usage of the microwave at lunch coincides with the resurgence of leftovers. Monday, at 27.4 percent, was the day most likely to contain leftovers for lunch.

Beverage consumption at lunch, as with other meal occasions, is on the decline across all age groups.

The Skipped Lunch and the Afternoon Snack

In 2009, the average Canadian skipped lunch 45 times. The most likely age groups to skip lunch are the 18 to 34 year olds (55.7 times) and the 45 to 54 year olds (54.6 times). As consumers age, a lesser proportion of their meals are comprised of snacks. Fruit is the number one choice for afternoon snacks. As shown in the chart below the difference in top foods between lunch and afternoon snacks further indicates that Canadians view them as being truly separate occasions.

Top Lunch vs. Top Snack Foods


Lunch at Restaurants

All venue segments experienced growth in 2009 compared to 2008. The largest increases were in Quick Service Restaurants, and Family/Midscale Restaurants which showed an increase of 4 percent over 2008. This translates into 781 million visits to Quick Service Restaurants for lunch and 235 million visits to Family/Midscale Restaurants for lunch.

Following is a chart showing Top Restaurant Lunch Foods by Demographics.


Carbonated soft drinks are the number one beverage during lunch across all age groups except for those 65+. The 65+ crowd were more likely to enjoy a coffee with their lunch. While the breakfast sandwich dominated the breakfast scene, burgers are the fastest growing food at lunch gaining 18.6 million more servings over last year. Other foods growing at a fast rate for lunch are chicken entrees, potatoes, dinner rolls and coffee. The fastest declining foods at lunch are salads, sandwiches, side dishes, rice and alcoholic beverages.

In the next consumer corner we will look at the dinner and evening snacking trends of Canadians.
 
 
 
 

Other Documents in the Series

 
  Consumer Corner
Consumer Corner: Canadian Consumer Perceptions of Meat Preparation
Consumer Corner: Demand for Processed Meat
Consumer Corner: Millennials - who are they and what do they like when it comes to food?
Consumer Corner: Demand for Dairy Milk and Milk Alternatives
Consumer Corner: Generational Differences and Demand for Food
Consumer Corner: Insect Protein, a Fad or Future Need?
Consumer Corner: Snacking and Mini-meal Trends in Canada: How to take a bite out of Canada's snack food market.
Consumer Corner: Functional Foods
Consumer Corner: Barley -- A Nutritional Powerhouse!
Consumer Corner: Growth of the U.S. Organic Market
Consumer Corner: Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats in the U.S. -- 2013
Consumer Corner: Benchmarking Domestic Consumption of Pork
Consumer Corner: Understanding the Consumer Mindset on Sustainability
Consumer Corner: Gluten-Free -- What's it all About ?
Consumer Corner: The Morning Rush: Breakfast Trends in Canada
Consumer Corner: Canadian Pet Market Outlook, 2014
Consumer Corner: Emerging Consumer Trends and New Opportunities for Small and Medium Business
Consumer Corner: Market Trends for Fruit and Vegetables
Consumer Corner: Yogurt Market: Current Status and Consumption Trends
Consumer Corner: Changing Food Retail Landscape in Canada and Alberta
Consumer Corner: Canada's Ethnic Landscape: Eating Patterns among the Asians
Consumer Corner: Snacking Trend, an Opportunity for Restaurants
Consumer Corner: Millennials: Meet the Boomer's Kids (Part 2: Consumption Habits of Millennials by Meal Occasions)
Consumer Corner: Millennials: Meet the Boomers' Kids (Part 1: Profile, Food and Beverage Consumption Habits and Attitudes)
Consumer Corner: Local Impact of a Global Crisis: Increasing Food Prices
Consumer Corner: Fresh Pet Food in North America
Consumer Corner: Snacking in Canada
Consumer Corner: Canadian Baby Boomers - Part 2: Consumption Habits of Boomers by Meal Occasions
Consumer Corner: Eating Pattern Recession - Part 3
Consumer Corner: Canadian Baby Boomers - Part 1: Profile of Boomers, Their Food Consumption Habits and Attitudes
Consumer Corner: Sodium/Salt and Canadian Diet: Pass the Salt Please! or Hold the Salt Please!
Consumer Corner: Eating Patterns in Canada -- Part 2 - Current Document
Consumer Corner: Eating Patterns in Canada - Part 1
Consumer Corner: The Impact of Health on Eating Behavior of Canadians
Consumer Corner: Emerging Consumer Demand for Premium Foods & Beverages in Canada (Qualitative Research Evaluation)
Consumer Corner: Factors Influencing Pulse Consumption in Canada
Consumer Corner: Health and Wellness
Consumer Corner: Dinner Trends in Canada
Consumer Corner: Lunch Trends in Canada
Consumer Corner: Breakfast Trends in Canada
Consumer Corner: Canadian Food Trends 2009
Consumer Corner: Genetically Modified (GM) Foods and Consumer Concerns
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Jeewani Fernando.
This document is maintained by Erminia Guercio.
This information published to the web on December 15, 2010.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 18, 2013.