Canada’s foodservice industry is crawling out of a crater. Statistics Canada reports that in 2020, the sector had its worst year in the last two decades. In contrast, the total retail grocery sector ballooned by 10 per cent to reach $160 billion in sales.
These stories are made real through graphics and industry insight in a 80-page Restaurants Canada report: Foodservice Facts 2021. Senior economist Chris Elliott led a webinar for members on October 6.
Here are some toplines that he shared with The Grower.
Pre-pandemic, in January and February 2020, he says that the share of meals from restaurants averaged six per cent of all meals eaten. That number plummeted to two to three per cent during lockdowns. In-home consumption of meals rose to 80 per cent plus. The report notes that Canadians are opting for recipes with shorter preparation times – a trend that points to opportunities for more convenient food options. Think of examples of snackable fruits and vegetables.
For the future, the fruit and vegetable industry should note some positive developments.
Across all age groups, Canadians are interested in ordering food from restaurants that’s sourced from local farmers or produced in Canada and in foods that promote health and wellness. Their interest in natural and unprocessed continues unabated.
However, note some differences between age categories. Younger Canadians are more interested in comfort foods or those with a twist than older Canadians. The plant-based trend continues. Half of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 are interested in meatless/vegetarian entrees as well as plant-based burgers and sausages.
Source: Restaurants Canada