TORONTO — Canadian eating patterns and home-meal replacement (HMR) was the talk of the morning yesterday at the Sheraton Toronto Airport conference centre, where NPD Group analysts discussed their latest research findings to a room full of industry insiders.
“The marketplace is really challenged and to understand the opportunities we need to step back,” and examine the customer, said Robert Carter, executive director, Foodservice Canada, upon opening the morning presentation, which offered insights from the 16th annual “Eating Patterns in Canada” (EPIC) study.
EPIC findings cover a number of issues, including information on how consumers choose what to eat. “Taste is the most important attribute to Canadians,” said Joel Gregoire, account manager. “It’s almost off the charts.”
Health is also a growing concern among consumers who are interested in the perceived benefits of a gluten-free diet, with 16 per cent of study respondents saying they incorporate a gluten-free mandate into their diet.
The morning ended with a discussion on the growing home-meal replacement market, which outpaced all other foodservice segments in the past five years. The good news is quick-service outpaces grocery by six per cent in the category, with taste being the number 1 driver for purchasing HMR.
Overall, the message is clear. The Canadian landscape is morphing at a faster rate than ever before, so the foodservice industry needs to be more strategic and understand how situations affect eating behaviour. [npdgroup.ca]