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Description

Description

Covered in this report

This report looks at consumer attitudes and behaviours towards planning and cooking weeknight dinners and explores the degree to which they are successful in seeing these plans through. Cooking involvement levels including the usage of shortcuts like using semior fully prepared ingredients or ordering takeout and resources used for meal inspiration are also explored.

"The dreaded question “what’s for dinner?” is one that some 88% of Canadians are responsible for addressing during the week. While the large majority of Canadians plan ahead for weeknight dinners, only about half are successful in seeing their plans through, meaning that there is a need for more immediate solutions to help them get to the finish line. That said, consumers don’t want to feel like they’re cheating and crave shortcut offerings that let them stay involved in the cooking process – a concept undoubtedly contributing to the success of time-saving small kitchen appliances. As meals cannot be made without first buying the ingredients, grocery stores are a key player in the meal planning and preparation process, yet consumers don’t think of grocery stores as a primary source for meal ideas, meaning that grocery stores are missing out in the pre-work of planning."
- Carol Wong-Li, Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Planning ahead too far doesn’t pay off
  • The need for shortcuts is real but Canadians want to feel involved
  • Grocery stores come into the meal planning game too late in consumers’ minds

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

      • The insights
        • Planning ahead too far doesn’t pay off
          • Figure 1: Frequency of cooking planned meals, deciding what to cook last minute, and ordering in or going out for a meal, November 2019
        • The need for shortcuts is real but Canadians want to feel involved
          • Figure 2: Select attitudes towards meal planning and making prepared meals (% agree), November 2019
        • Grocery stores come into the meal planning game too late in consumers’ minds
          • Figure 3: Attitudes towards grocery retailers and meal ideas, November 2019
        • The opportunities
          • Adoption of small kitchen appliances remains a fresh opportunity amongst moms
            • Figure 4: Cooking activities (at least once per week), mothers vs overall, November 2019
          • Quick means quick in Quebec thanks to a different orientation towards eating
            • Figure 5: Cooking involvement level for preparing weeknight meals at least once a week (NET), Quebec vs overall, November 2019
          • Click-and-collect of raw ingredients is a good way to attract suburbanites
            • Figure 6: Cooking involvement level for preparing weeknight meals at least once a week (NET), suburban vs urban, November 2019
          • What it means
          • The Market – What You Need to Know

            • Time pressures are cooking Canadians
              • Planning and prep solutions need to mature with an aging population
                • Tighter financial times will drive more to cook at home
                • Market Factors

                  • Time pressures are real
                    • Work days are getting longer
                      • More parents, led by moms, are working full-time
                        • Figure 7: Employment status of couple families with at least one child aged under 16, 1976 and 2015
                      • Commutes are getting longer for working Canadians
                        • Canadians have a positive mindset but feel the squeeze
                          • Figure 8: Perception of work-life balance and time savings attitudes and behaviours, January 2019
                        • The double shift still exists for moms and meal prep is a top challenge
                          • Figure 9: Mom survival, April 2018
                        • More range in meal planning and prep solutions needed as Canada ages
                          • Figure 10: Population aged 0-14 and 65+, 1995-2035*
                        • Shifting demographics mean more marketing opportunities for meal prep-related companies
                          • Economic factors will foster more focus on home cooking
                            • Financial confidence softens due to uncertainty
                              • Figure 11: Perception of financial health, January/February 2016-19
                              • Figure 12: How extra money is spent, January 2018 and 2019
                            • Home-based options will be more attractive thanks to rising food prices
                              • Figure 13: Monthly movement in selected components of the Canadian Consumer Price Index, seasonally adjusted, January 2015-December 2019
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Printed cookbooks have staying power
                              • The Instant Pot continues to win
                                • The emotions associated with cooking and planning are at odds
                                  • Canadians cook what they know; this is a challenge for ‘new’ solutions
                                    • Opportunity exists to give centre of store a refresh
                                      • Tech finds a way to lend an actual helping hand
                                      • What’s Cooking?

                                        • Printed cookbooks continue to remain a staple resource
                                          • Canadian women continue to turn to printed cookbooks
                                            • Figure 14: Sources for meal ideas, by gender, November 2019
                                          • Influencers continue to use cookbooks as part of their marketing mix
                                            • Figure 15: What’s Gaby Cooking Instagram post, January 2020
                                            • Figure 16: Chrissy Teigen Instagram post, December 2019
                                            • Figure 17: Welcome!, November 2019
                                          • Cookbooks are connecting with home cooks of all ages
                                            • Fool-proof kitchen appliances are winning – starring the Instant Pot
                                              • Instant Pot’s impact on the small kitchen appliances segment is being felt
                                                • Figure 18: Instant Pot Instagram post, January 2020
                                              • Success lies in reducing tasks…
                                                • Figure 19: Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken and Rice, November 2018
                                              • …as well as allowing for multitasking
                                                • Figure 20: Instant Pot Smart WiFi – Getting to Know Your Smart WiFi, November 2018
                                            • What’s Growing Cold?

                                              • Cooking vs planning, it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship
                                                • Figure 21: Emotional aspects associated with cooking (% agree), September 2018
                                                • Figure 22: ‘Meal planning is stressful’ (% agree), 18-34s and parents with under-18s at home vs overall, November 2019
                                              • Consider partnerships with already existing apps that work with what they have
                                                • A note on meal kits: yes, there’s opportunity, but adoption is low
                                                  • Figure 23: Meal kit usage and intent, May 2018
                                                • Canadian home cooks tend to be creatures of comfort
                                                  • Figure 24: Preference for cooking with familiar recipes and usage of same seasonings/spices (% agree), by cooking segments, September 2018
                                                • Consider ways to make the ‘new’ a little more familiar and accessible
                                                  • Figure 25: Instant Pot Instagram post, January 2020
                                                  • Figure 26: McCormick Instagram post, November 2019
                                                • Giving the centre-of-store items a fresh take
                                                  • The image of shelf-stable or frozen foods is a bit stale
                                                    • Figure 27: Attitudes towards centre-of-store products, September 2016
                                                  • Refresh the image by positioning these as go-to pantry staples
                                                    • Give it a fresh spin by showcasing how these can address broader concerns
                                                    • What’s Next?

                                                      • Connected appliances get their ‘hands’ dirty
                                                        • Figure 28: Introducing the Smart Timer for Apple Watch and iPhone!, April 2015
                                                      • Food resources are also going the way of subscription models
                                                        • Figure 29: Usage of select video sources, by age, September 2019
                                                        • Figure 30: Learn to cook with the world’s best chefs | Yummly Pro, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 31: Food Network Kitchen Cooks, November 2019
                                                        • Figure 32: Food Network Kitchen Instagram post, January 2020
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Weeknight dinners are the responsibility of nine in 10 Canadians
                                                        • Plans turn into reality when consumers have more context
                                                          • Feeding kids comes with its own unique challenges
                                                            • The magic ingredient for shortcuts is involvement
                                                              • Grocery stores are underrated as a resource by consumers
                                                              • Planning and Cooking Responsibility

                                                                • Nine in 10 Canadians partake in cooking weeknight dinners
                                                                  • Figure 33: Cooking responsibility, November 2019
                                                                  • Figure 34: Meal planning responsibility, November 2019
                                                                • Mothers continue to bear the responsibility of making weeknight meals
                                                                  • Figure 35: Cooking responsibility, mothers vs overall, November 2019
                                                                • Much potential to boost traction of cooking appliances that reduce cooking steps
                                                                  • Figure 36: Cooking activities (at least once per week), mothers vs overall, November 2019
                                                                  • Figure 37: Instant Pot Pho Chicken Noodle Soup, March 2019
                                                                • Team up for success: grocery retailers and time-saving kitchen appliances
                                                                  • Figure 38: Instant Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes, May 2019
                                                                • Gains to be had by targeting men 25-34 as they are at a transition point
                                                                  • The likelihood to hold cooking responsibility jumps at 25-34
                                                                    • Figure 39: Cooking responsibility, men 18-24 vs men 25-34, November 2019
                                                                  • Lack of cooking skills translates into lesser adoption of behaviours
                                                                    • Figure 40: Cooking activities (at least once per week), 18-24s vs 25-34s, by gender, November 2019
                                                                  • Grocery retailers stand to gain by focusing more attention on this segment
                                                                    • Figure 41: Classic Oysters Rockefeller, November 2018
                                                                    • Figure 42: Jumbleberry Croissant Strata, November 2018
                                                                    • Figure 43: Seafood Made Simple: Just cook the bag, September 2015
                                                                  • Time-saving cooking appliance companies also stand to gain – and for the long term
                                                                    • Figure 44: Instant Pot Zesty Lemon Chicken, April 2019
                                                                    • Figure 45: ‘Low-priced ingredients’ and ‘involves little clean-up’ as factors considered when planning meals, men 25-34 vs overall, November 2019
                                                                • Planning vs Cooking Weeknight Meals

                                                                  • Closer proximity of planning translates into greater likelihood of actualization
                                                                    • Canadians plan ahead for weeknight meals, but not too far
                                                                      • Figure 46: Meal planning timing, November 2019
                                                                    • Those who plan ‘a day or two ahead’ see greater success actualizing planned meals
                                                                      • Figure 47: Frequency of cooking planned meals, deciding what to cook last minute, and ordering in or going out for a meal, November 2019
                                                                      • Figure 48: ‘Cook a meal that you planned ahead of time’ at least once a week, by meal planning timing, November 2019
                                                                    • Context dictates success; consider developing campaigns that call this out
                                                                      • Context opens up opportunities for shelf-stable staples – ie the centre of the store
                                                                        • There’s an opportunity to tap into environmental concerns with frozen foods
                                                                          • Boomer women: plan the morning of and follow through
                                                                            • Figure 49: ‘Cook a meal that you planned ahead of time’ at least once a week, women 55+ vs overall, November 2019
                                                                            • Figure 50: ‘Cook a meal that you planned ahead of time’ at least once a week (net), women 55+ vs overall, November 2019
                                                                          • Inspiring Boomer women: spark ‘fresh’ ideas by raising attention of ‘old’ favourites
                                                                            • Figure 51: Select factors considered when planning meals, women 55+ vs overall, November 2019
                                                                            • Figure 52: Epicurious Instagram post, January 2020
                                                                            • Figure 53: NYT Cooking Instagram post, January 2020
                                                                        • Cooking Involvement Level and Usage of Shortcuts

                                                                          • Shortcuts are a reality for many during the course of the week…
                                                                            • Figure 54: Cooking involvement level for preparing weeknight meals, November 2019
                                                                          • …though shortcuts are necessary, four in five still want to feel involved
                                                                            • Figure 55: Select attitudes towards meal planning and making prepared meals (% agree), November 2019
                                                                          • The secret ingredient to mealtime shortcuts is ‘contribution’
                                                                            • Figure 56: Bon Appétit Instagram post, January 2020
                                                                          • Quebecers are all in or not, there’s no middle ground
                                                                            • Figure 57: Cooking involvement level for preparing weeknight meals at least once a week (NET), Quebec vs overall, November 2019
                                                                          • Consider promoting complete meals in frozen formats to appeal to Quebecers
                                                                            • Figure 58: Your Holiday Headquarters – Let’s Celebrate Together #preparedwithcare, December 2019
                                                                            • Figure 59: Beef Pot Roast 2019 #preparedwithcare, September 2019
                                                                          • Also, emotional orientation of eating and cooking differs for Quebecers
                                                                            • Figure 60: Select attitudes towards meal planning (% agree), Quebec vs overall, November 2019
                                                                          • Connect by showing connections to people first, then to the food
                                                                            • Figure 61: 90,000 Holiday Meals, November 2019
                                                                          • Surprise! Suburbanites more inclined to use shortcuts than urbanites
                                                                            • Figure 62: Cooking involvement level for preparing weeknight meals at least once a week (NET), suburban vs urban, November 2019
                                                                          • Grocery retailers stand to gain from promoting click-and-collect of raw ingredients
                                                                            • Figure 63: PC Express – The Talk 30sec, May 2019
                                                                          • Chinese Canadians see prepared meals as part of the plan
                                                                            • Figure 64: ‘Planning meals is stressful’ (% agree), Chinese Canadians vs overall, November 2019
                                                                            • Figure 65: Frequency of cooking or heating a prepared meal, Chinese Canadians vs overall, November 2019
                                                                          • Partnerships between foodservice providers and grocery retailers will appeal
                                                                            • Figure 66: Select attitudes towards using prepared meals and choosing recipes, Chinese Canadians vs overall, November 2019
                                                                            • Figure 67: The Keg BBQ Pork Back Ribs (Canada), August 2019
                                                                            • Figure 68: The Keg BBQ Bacon Wrapped Scallops (Canada), August 2019
                                                                        • Meal Planning and Grocery Stores

                                                                          • Grocery stores are missing out in the ideation process for meals
                                                                            • Figure 69: Sources for meal ideas, November 2019
                                                                            • Figure 70: Attitudes towards grocery retailers and meal ideas, November 2019
                                                                          • More needs to be done to get consumers thinking about them beforehand
                                                                            • Interactive resources may see more traction than static ones
                                                                              • Grocery store organization a pain point for younger consumers
                                                                                • Figure 71: Attitudes towards grocery retailers and meal ideas, by age, November 2019
                                                                              • Consider emulating the BPC sector to freshen things up and lend a helping hand
                                                                              • Deep Dive on Parents: Additional Challenges

                                                                                • Parents have more (picky) tastes to consider
                                                                                  • Unsurprisingly, children’s opinions are a factor
                                                                                      • Figure 72: Parents’ attitudes and behaviours regarding children and meal prep (% agree), November 2019
                                                                                    • Mothers have more work, but aren’t keen on shortcuts – except appliances
                                                                                      • Figure 73: Select cooking behaviours at least once a week (NET), mothers vs overall, November 2019
                                                                                      • Figure 74: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, September 2018
                                                                                    • More virtual support will win over moms as they’re multitasking
                                                                                      • Figure 75: Cooking websites and cooking apps as sources for meal ideas, mothers vs overall, November 2019
                                                                                    • More mobile capabilities will count
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                              • Terms

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