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Canada Cooking Enthusiasts Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cooking Enthusiasts market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Cooking Enthusiasts are those who make meals from scratch at home at least once a week, say they either like or love cooking, have a minimum of basic cooking skills and typically cook because they want to rather than because they have to. They make up 42% of the Canadian population.
  • Conflicted Cooks are on the fence about their enthusiasm for cooking. They do cook at home at least once a week, say they like or love cooking, and have minimum basic skills, typically cook because they ‘have to’ (not because they want to). They represent approximately 19% of the Canadian population.
  • Unenthusiastic Cooks are indifferent to cooking. This segment makes meals from scratch at home at least once a week, have basic cooking skills, and say they either do not mind or dislike cooking (as opposed to saying they like or love it). Similar to Conflicted Cooks, they do so because they ‘have to’ rather than because they ‘want to’. This segment makes up 26% of the Canadian population.
  • Infrequent Cooks cook at home less than once a week and also tend to skew more towards indifference when it comes to cooking. This segment represents 9% of the population.
  • Non-Cooks never cook and represent 4% of the population.

Key points included

  • The dinner struggle is real, particularly for parents with younger children
  • Canadians may not be so keen to experiment in the kitchen
  • Dads cook for fewer reasons, marketing efforts must hit the right notes

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Carol Wong-Li, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles and Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

It can be said that Canadians know their way around a kitchen given that virtually all Canadians (97%) claim to have at least a minimum of basic cooking skills. Although the activity is one that most enjoy, time constraints and logistical considerations lead half the population to see the task as a chore. Retailers may be able to counter this by honing in on the mental wellness benefits consumers associate with cooking, as well as promoting under-utilized tools such as meal kits. While family recipes will keep being passed on from generation to generation, there is a clear movement towards digital sources amongst Canadian cooks of all ages Carol Wong-Li
Senior Analyst, Lifestyles and Leisure

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definitions
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • The dinner struggle is real, particularly for parents with younger children
            • Figure 1: Cooking motivation, by age of children at home, September 2018
          • Canadians may not be so keen to experiment in the kitchen
            • Figure 2: Preference for cooking with familiar recipes and usage of same seasonings/spices (% agree), September 2018
          • Dads cook for fewer reasons, marketing efforts must hit the right notes
            • Figure 3: Repertoire analysis of reasons for cooking at home, fathers with children under-18 at home vs mothers, September 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Grocery stores stand to gain by giving cooks a roadmap to success
              • Figure 4: ‘I typically know what I need to buy before I go grocery shopping’ (% agree), by cooking segments, September 2018
            • Consumers draw a link between cooking and mental health benefits
              • Figure 5: Emotional aspects associated with cooking (% agree), September 2018
            • Catering to Boomer men may yield gains as they are cooking frequently and enjoying the process
              • Figure 6: Cooking frequency, men 18-54 vs men 55+, September 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Canadians may not be reaping full benefits of healthy eating intentions
                • Consumers are more time-pressed than ever
                  • Food costs may take a bite out of the joy of cooking
                    • An aging population bodes well for cooking related industries
                    • Market Factors

                      • Canadians aim to eat healthy, but obesity rates are high
                        • Figure 7: Healthy eating, November 2016
                        • Figure 8: Body mass index, self-reported rate of being overweight or obese among Canadian adults, by gender, 2010-14
                      • Shortcuts and meal planning matter as consumers grow more time-pressed
                        • Work days are getting longer
                          • More parents are working full-time
                            • A need for more resources to help with meal planning for parents with young children
                              • Consumers enjoy grocery shopping, though food costs continue to rise
                                • Figure 9: Monthly movement in selected components of the Canadian Consumer Price Index, seasonally adjusted, August 2013-August 2018
                              • An aging population means more interest in cooking
                                • Figure 10: Population aged 0-14 and over-65, 1995-2035*
                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                              • Canadians are entertaining regularly, holidays/celebrations are factors
                                • Home cooks have access to more resources than ever
                                  • Canadians may not be so keen to experiment in the kitchen
                                    • Retailers will up their marketing game
                                    • What’s Being Plated Now?

                                      • Hosting meals is at the heart of holiday celebrations
                                        • Canadians are hosting guests regularly
                                          • Figure 11: Cook a meal for guests at least once a month, Cooking Enthusiasts vs overall, September 2018
                                        • Grocery retailers are lending a helping hand: spotlight on Sobeys and Loblaw
                                          • Figure 12: Entertaining Tray Game Changer, January 2018
                                          • Figure 13: Entertaining Tray Highlight of the Night, January 2018
                                          • Figure 14: Entertaining Trays Turning Point, January 2018
                                          • Figure 15: PC® Smoked Dry Rub Chicken Wings, November 2017
                                          • Figure 16: PC® Shrimp & Scallops Au Gratin, November 2017
                                        • Cooking shows and resources are becoming better balanced
                                          • Figure 17: Nailed It Trailer, February 2018
                                        • Cooks have access to professional chefs in their own homes
                                          • Figure 18: Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking, November 2016
                                          • Figure 19: Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking II: Restaurant Recipes at Home, September 2018
                                          • Figure 20: Gourmet Cooking Classes with The Chef & The Dish, September 2016
                                        • One pot does it all – Instant Pot makes it convenient for home cooks
                                          • Figure 21: Instant Pot Elvis Style Steel Cut Oatmeal, November 2018
                                          • Figure 22: Instant Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper, November 2018
                                          • Figure 23: Instant Pot Homemade Brownies, November 2018
                                      • What Needs Some Warming Up?

                                        • Canadians may not be as keen to experiment as you might think
                                          • Cooks are creatures of comfort
                                            • Figure 24: Preference for cooking with familiar recipes and usage of same seasonings/spices (% agree), September 2018
                                          • Holiday cooking gives some consumers an excuse to try something new
                                            • Retailers featuring fathers as the star of holiday cooking stand to gain
                                              • Figure 25: ‘Entertaining guests is a great time to try a new recipe’ (% agree), September 2018
                                          • What’s Next?

                                            • Advertising using a celebrity endorsed cooking show: spotlight on Kroger
                                              • Figure 26: Jeff Goldblum Cooks With Jonathan Gold, March 2018
                                              • Figure 27: Cooking With Jeff Goldblum and Special Guest, July 2018
                                            • The presence of meal kits will continue to increase in Canada
                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                              • Canadians know their way around the kitchen
                                                • Consumers link cooking to mental health benefits
                                                  • The dinner struggle is real
                                                    • Cravings for new ideas takes cooks to online sources – at any age
                                                    • Cooking Skills and Habits

                                                      • Canadians are cooking regularly and enjoy the process
                                                        • Figure 28: Cooking frequency, attitudes, skill level, and motivations, September 2018
                                                      • Moms lead the charge when it comes to cooking at home
                                                        • Figure 29: Cooking frequency, moms with under-18s at home vs overall, September 2018
                                                      • Give moms something to chew on: in-store meal kits save time and money
                                                        • Figure 30: Kung Pao Chicken – Longo's Fresh Meals in Minutes, November 2016
                                                      • Life stage plays a role in the motivation behind cooking
                                                        • Figure 31: Cooking motivation, by age of children at home, September 2018
                                                      • Online videos may help bring ‘success’ to parents with young children
                                                        • Boomer men cook frequently and enjoy the process
                                                          • Figure 32: Cooking frequency, men 18-54 vs men 55+, September 2018
                                                          • Figure 33: ‘I enjoy the process’ (% agree), men 18-54 vs men 55+, September 2018
                                                        • Opportunities to market premium ingredients to Boomer men
                                                          • Figure 34: Red Wine Chocolate Cake, September 2018
                                                          • Figure 35: Acquisition email, Sobeys, October 2018
                                                      • Reasons for Cooking

                                                        • Though practical considerations lead, emotional considerations are a factor
                                                          • Figure 36: Reasons for cooking at home, September 2018
                                                          • Figure 37: Emotional aspects associated with cooking (% agree), September 2018
                                                        • Cooking gives parents time with their children
                                                          • Figure 38: Select attitudes towards cooking, parents with children under-18 at home, September 2018
                                                        • Add another dimension through seasonally appropriate meal-kit or workshop offerings
                                                          • Figure 39: Cook with help from your children at least once a week, by age of children at home, September 2018
                                                        • Dads likely driven to cook for fewer reasons
                                                          • Figure 40: Repertoire analysis of reasons for cooking at home, fathers vs mothers, September 2018
                                                        • Cooking for others: tug at their heartstrings and make it meaningful
                                                            • Figure 41: Dad Jokes, Fatherhood Involvement, August 2017
                                                          • Mental health benefits are real for dads, so remind them that there is something in it for them
                                                            • Figure 42: Emotional aspects associated with cooking (% agree), September 2018
                                                          • Even Conflicted Cooks feel pride at the end of the process
                                                            • Marketers need to get real, both with the process and with the end results
                                                            • Meal Planning and Preparation

                                                              • The dinner struggle is real
                                                                • Figure 43: Cooking activities, September 2018
                                                              • Grocery stores stand to gain by giving cooks a roadmap to success
                                                                • Guide them to a fast, convenient meal by giving them a taste of if it
                                                                  • Figure 44: ‘I typically know what I need to buy before I go grocery shopping’ (% agree), by cooking segments, September 2018
                                                                  • Figure 45: Select cooking activities (at least once per week), Conflicted Cooks and Unenthusiastic Cooks vs overall, September 2018
                                                                • Meal kits remain relatively untapped yet hold huge potential
                                                                  • Parents with young children are planning multiple meals
                                                                    • Figure 46: ‘It is difficult to decide what to make for dinner’ (% agree), by age of children in the household, September 2018
                                                                    • Figure 47: Cooking activities (at least once per week), by age of children in the household, September 2018
                                                                  • Give them more resources to help them work with the ‘tools’ they have
                                                                  • Recipe Sources

                                                                    • Though family recipes remain a staple, hunger for new ideas takes cooks online
                                                                        • Figure 48: Recipe sources, September 2018
                                                                      • Moms are paying attention to digital sources, so build a brand presence
                                                                        • Figure 49: Recipe sources, mothers with under-18s at home vs overall, September 2018
                                                                      • Optimize for mobile and include videos and ‘buy now’ features to maximize gains with moms
                                                                        • Figure 50: How to Cut a Fennel Bulb with Martha Stewart, February 2015
                                                                      • Cooking Enthusiasts collect recipe sources like they do ingredients
                                                                        • Figure 51: Repertoire analysis of number of recipe sources used, Cooking Enthusiasts vs overall, September 2018
                                                                      • Enhancing experiences will turn up the heat on an already ‘hot’ segment
                                                                        • Social media is a key avenue to connect with young men
                                                                          • Figure 52: Repertoire analysis of number of recipe sources used, men 18-34 vs overall, September 2018
                                                                          • Figure 53: Using social media as a source for recipes, men 18-34 vs overall, September 2018
                                                                        • Real opinions may be the key to helping them make decisions
                                                                        • Cooking Segments

                                                                              • Figure 54: Cooking frequency, attitudes, skill level, and motivations, September 2018
                                                                            • Cooking Enthusiasts (42%)
                                                                              • Marketers have a captive audience with this segment
                                                                                • Cooking Enthusiasts skew older and cooking may be more about others
                                                                                  • Figure 55: The Boustany Family, May 2018
                                                                                • Conflicted Cooks (19%)
                                                                                  • Gains to be had by connecting with Conflicted Cooks
                                                                                    • Conflicted Cooks more likely to have children under-12
                                                                                      • Unenthusiastic Cooks (26%)
                                                                                        • Good potential lies with connecting with Unenthusiastic Cooks
                                                                                          • Infrequent Cooks (9%)
                                                                                            • Some potential lies in catering to Infrequent Cooks
                                                                                              • Non-Cooks (4%)
                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                        • Abbreviations