Tasty Morsels: Hot Food Trends in Canada

Trends change. We at Ipsos know that very well. Measuring and tracking trends and brand performance is our business! So we are going back into to field to measure the appetite of today’s consumers. What are they hungry for? What are they buying? And what new trends are emerging when it comes to eating and dining?

There are basically two ways you can look at food. One that it is an absolute necessity. We need it to live, sustain our energy levels throughout the day and nourish our bodies. And the other is that it is absolutely delicious. Something to enjoy, savour and live for.

Both are true. Food is very important to us, providing sustenance and pleasure. But it is also a big business.

Healthy Trends

A while back, Ipsos conducted a study examining hot trends in food purchasing behaviour by Canadians. The idea was to help food and beverage product developers, marketers and advertisers uncover important insights on what Canadians were looking for when they sat down to chow down.

What did we learn from this study? Some things were basic. Healthy food options were a priority. Whole grain food products was the hottest of the trends tracked and low fat, low sugar products were the most popular ‘diet-oriented’ food trends. And when it came to setting and following food trends, it was older consumers (55+) and women who were leading the pack.

When it comes to adults 55+, they were regular purchasers of 12 of the 17 hot trends:

  • whole grain
  • high fiber
  • low fat
  • low sugar
  • low salt/sodium
  • low calorie
  • low carb
  • artificial sweetener
  • individual portion size package
  • omega 3
  • fortified/functional food
  • locally grown

The Rise of the Foodie

Food can inspire great passion. After all, we've turned chefs into celebrities and dedicated entire television networks to food, popularized by a new class of so-called ‘Foodies’ who lap up every morsel with zest.

The food industry is taking notice of this group, and so too is Ipsos. Just recently, we conducted an Omnibus study asking Canadians if they considered themselves to be a Foodie. We broadly defined a Foodie as someone who has an enthusiastic interest in preparing and consuming food, and has a comprehensive knowledge and/or interest in world cuisines, spices, food trends and food preparation techniques.

The results show that close to half (48%) perceive themselves at the “middle ground” insofar as being a Foodie, and that 3 in 10 highly rate themselves as a Foodie type.

Looking Ahead: The 2011 Study

Trends change. We at Ipsos know that very well. Measuring and tracking trends and brand performance is our business! So we are going back into to field to measure the appetite of today’s consumers. What are they hungry for? What are they buying? And what new trends are emerging when it comes to eating and dining?

Our 2011 study is still in the works, but will provide subscribers with a ranking of the hottest food trends and a better understanding of the cross-purchasing habits of regular purchasers. We will also offer detailed demographics of regular purchasers, creating a profile of regular purchasers of each trend.

We’ll also introduce a new health and wellness component, with qualitative input from food trends experts such as chefs, food writers, and product developers, plus the very latest in what consumers are saying now.

The study will also look to what people are saying online, utilizing Ipsos’ social media listening capabilities.

The goal will be to help you identify important marketing implications as you prepare new products and campaigns. To learn more about the 2011 study, please contact Heather Shuve with Ipsos Reid in Toronto.

Consumer & Shopper