Let’s face it — Canadians are a busy bunch. From early-morning work meetings to after-school activities for the kids, gym classes to business travel, it’s no surprise we often disregard “the most important meal of the day.”
While we do our best to manage this never-ending carousel of commitments, many of us find it hard to incorporate freshly cooked, home-made meals into our daily routines. And, as many of you (myself included) can attest, when life gets crazy, we tend to turn to foodservice for quick, affordable, on-the-go meal solutions. While this is true across many dayparts, in commercial foodservice in Canada, breakfast is the fastest-growing daypart on the year, outpacing the total market.
Perhaps not surprisingly, when it comes to total commercial foodservice, breakfast on the weekend consistently drives stronger traffic growth (46.7 per cent of total weekpart traffic). This is largely driven by the full-service restaurant (FSR) segment, which tends to cater to the weekend diner. When it comes to FSR alone, weekend traffic is also driving growth on the year; while in quick-service restaurants (QSR), growth stems from weekday visits (think younger patrons, grab-and-go options, et cetera).
NPD data suggests breakfast sandwiches are the top-growing food category across Canada. Consumption of breakfast sandwiches is now up to 700 million annually in Canada, an eight-per-cent increase over last year, according to The NPD Group. Many QSR operators, such as Tim Hortons and McDonald’s, have contributed to this growth by continuously introducing new breakfast sandwiches, as well as innovative spin-offs on breakfast sandwiches.
In commercial foodservice in Canada, Gen-Z has been the strongest contributor to breakfast-traffic growth over the past five years and on the current year. Although millennials make up the majority of traffic, growth has slowed and Gen-Z is set to become the new breakfast consumer.
What seems to be clear from the data is that regardless of the category (QSR, FSR or total commercial foodservice) breakfast has been, and continues to be, a strong growth driver. Consumers continue to show a preference for “grab-and-go” at breakfast, as off-premise occasions have increased by seven per cent year-over-year, now making up 43 per cent of all breakfast occasions. Clearly, this is another example of consumers taking advantage of innovative new products that are quick to prepare, easy to eat and budget friendly.
Written by Robert Carter