Description

“The main benefit that HMR (home meal replacement) offers is ease, particularly during weekday dinners. What would make HMR more appealing to many Canadians, however, is variety with a wider range of cuisines and combos. In this regard, HMR and ‘grocerants’ will continue to be particularly important for grocers serving as a differentiator from competitors helping to drive both traffic and sales. As the line between grocery and foodservice continues to blur, the need for retailers to invest in HMR will only escalate.”
Joel Gregoire, Associate Director for Food & Drink

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The recent and current impact of the COVID-19 on consumer behaviour as related to HMR in Canada.
  • The potential impact inflationary pressures on HMR.
  • The advantages HMR offers versus making meals at home and ordering from quick-service restaurants.
  • What would make HMR more appealing to Canadians.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Outlook for HMR, 2022-27
                • Opportunities
                  • More combos and greater variety make HMR more appealing
                    • Offering online ordering is essential to winning over young adults
                      • Half of HMR consumers are interested in having a ‘better’ full-service, sit-down experience onsite
                        • Two-thirds of consumers feel better about using HMR versus fast food
                          • Challenges
                            • A more value-conscious consumer can be a headwind for HMR
                            • Market Factors

                              • Inflation tracking upward will cause consumers to look for savings
                                • Figure 2: Canadian year-over-year consumer price index (inflation rate) by month, 2019-22
                                • Figure 3: Expected increase in household income vs household spending by quarter among Canadians, 2014-21
                              • Omicron stalled foodservice’s recovery, but brighter days look to be ahead
                                • Figure 4: Retail trade sales for supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores, January 2019-January 2022
                                • Figure 5: Dollars spent at food services and drinking places in Canada, January 2019-January 2022
                              • The pandemic has impacted where Canadians choose to live, which will have some impact in where they eat
                                • Figure 6: Population growth by select census metropolitan areas, 2021 vs 2019
                              • Immigration is fuelling Canada’s population growth …
                                • Figure 7: Percentage of Canadians who are visible minorities or not visible minorities, by age, 2016
                              • … and Asia is the primary source
                                • Figure 8: Distribution of immigrants living in Canada, by region of birth, 1996-2036
                                • Figure 9: Types of internationally inspired foods consumers have eaten and show interest in trying, 2019
                            • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                              • Labour shortages and technological innovation incentivize greater investment in automation
                                • Figure 10: Hudson Nonstop, powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, September 2021
                              • Ghost kitchens at retailers can add variety and opportunity for partnerships
                                • The ‘next normal’ will include more flexible spaces that blend work and food
                                  • Figure 11: WorkChew Instagram post, August 2021
                                  • Figure 12: Eataly Toronto Instagram post, January 2022
                                • HMR is a space to showcase innovation and make meals more memorable
                                  • Figure 13: Longo’s Instagram post, June 2021
                                  • Figure 14: Farm Boy Twitter post, November 2021
                                • Within their households, teens are the ultimate ‘influencers’ when deciding what’s for dinner
                                  • Figure 15: Teens’ views on food shopping (% agree), 2021
                              • The HMR Consumer – Fast Facts

                                • HMR Usage

                                  • Nearly two-thirds of Canadians use HMR
                                    • Figure 16: Canadians who have purchased foods from HMR over the past three months, 2022
                                  • Developing a compelling HMR offering is key in attracting young shoppers
                                    • Figure 17: Canadians who have purchased foods from HMR over the past three months, by age, 2022
                                    • Figure 18: Canadians who have purchased foods from HMR over the past three months, Asians vs overall population, 2022
                                    • Figure 19: Canadians who have purchased foods from HMR over the past three months, parents vs non-parents, 2022
                                • Change in HMR Usage

                                  • HMR’s importance to consumers has grown since the start of COVID-19
                                    • Figure 20: Change in HMR purchases compared to before the start of the pandemic, 2022
                                  • Younger adults are most likely to have become more reliant on HMR during the pandemic
                                    • Figure 21: Change in HMR purchases compared to before the start of the pandemic, by age, 2022
                                    • Figure 22: Change in HMR purchases compared to before the start of the pandemic, by parental status, 2022
                                    • Figure 23: Change in HMR purchases compared to before the start of the pandemic, by work location, 2022
                                • HMR Usage by Meal Occasion

                                  • Dinner is the most important meal occasion for HMR
                                    • Figure 24: Occasions when HMR is used, 2022
                                  • Younger adults are more likely use HMR outside of the core dinner occasion
                                    • Figure 25: Occasions when HMR is used, by age, 2022
                                    • Figure 26: Occasions when HMR is used, Asians vs overall population, 2022
                                    • Figure 27: Occasions when HMR is used, by work location, 2022
                                • HMR Purchase Frequency

                                  • Half of consumers turn to HMR at least once a week
                                    • Figure 28: How often consumers use HMR, 2022
                                  • Younger consumers use HMR more frequently
                                    • Figure 29: How often consumers use HMR, by age, 2022
                                    • Figure 30: How often consumers use HMR, by parental status, 2022
                                    • Figure 31: How often consumers use HMR, by gender, 2022
                                • Attitudes Towards HMR

                                  • HMR helps drive in-store traffic
                                    • Figure 32: Attitudes towards HMR as a traffic driver (% agree), 2022
                                    • Figure 33: Attitudes towards HMR as a traffic driver (% agree), by age, 2022
                                    • Figure 34: Attitudes towards HMR as a traffic driver (% agree), by parental status, 2022
                                  • Pandemic-related safety concerns are held by a minority of consumers
                                    • Figure 35: Attitudes towards HMR around safety and on-site dining (% agree), 2022
                                    • Figure 36: Interest in a full-service, sit down dining experience for ready-made meals at grocery stores, by meal occasion (% agree), 2022
                                    • Figure 37: Attitudes towards HMR around safety and on-site dining (% agree), HMR consumers who think current pandemic-related restrictions in their region are too strict vs not strict enough, 2022
                                    • Figure 38: Attitudes towards HMR around safety and on-site dining (% agree), by age, 2022
                                    • Figure 39: Attitudes towards HMR around safety and on-site dining (% agree), by parental status, 2022
                                  • Rampant inflation is a potential headwind for HMR
                                      • Figure 40: Attitudes towards inflation’s impact on HMR and combos (% agree), 2022
                                      • Figure 41: Farm Boy Instagram post, February 2022
                                      • Figure 42: Attitudes towards inflation’s impact on HMR and combos (% agree), by parental status, 2022
                                    • HMR can promote culinary exploration
                                      • Figure 43: Attitudes towards HMR and trying new dishes (% agree), 2022
                                      • Figure 44: Attitudes towards HMR and trying new dishes (% agree), by age, 2022
                                  • HMR Versus Quick-service Restaurants

                                    • HMR competes with fast food
                                      • Figure 45: Attitudes towards HMR vs fast-food restaurants (% agree), 2022
                                    • HMR’s biggest advantage over fast food is location
                                      • Figure 46: Benefits of HMR vs fast-food restaurants, 2022
                                      • Figure 47: Benefits of HMR vs fast-food restaurants, by age, 2022
                                  • Advantages Versus Cooking At Home

                                    • HMR’s main benefits are it offers a break from cooking and ideas for what to make
                                      • Figure 48: Benefits of HMR vs cooking at home, 2022
                                    • Older consumers are more likely to look to HMR as a substitute for cooking
                                      • Figure 49: Select benefits of HMR vs cooking at home, by age, 2022
                                      • Figure 50: “No preparation required” as a benefit of HMR vs cooking at home, by work location, 2022
                                  • Making HMR More Appealing

                                    • Canadians want more variety at HMR
                                      • Figure 51: What can be done to make HMR more appealing, 2022
                                    • Younger Canadians are more open to new ideas at HMR
                                      • Figure 52: What can be done to make HMR more appealing, by age, 2022
                                      • Figure 53: What can be done to make HMR more appealing, moms vs dads vs non-parents, 2022
                                      • Figure 54: What can be done to make HMR more appealing, Chinese and South Asian Canadians* vs overall population, 2022
                                      • Figure 55: “Ability to order ahead and have meals delivered” as a means to help make HMR more appealing, by work location, 2022
                                  • Foods/Dishes Purchased from HMR

                                    • Chicken and pizza are clear favourites at HMR
                                      • Figure 56: Foods typically purchased from HMR, 2022
                                    • Younger consumers purchase a greater variety of foods from HMR
                                      • Figure 57: Foods typically purchased from HMR, by age, 2022
                                      • Figure 58: Foods typically purchased from HMR, by parental status, 2022
                                      • Figure 59: Foods typically purchased from HMR, Chinese and South Asian Canadians vs overall population, 2022
                                      • Figure 60: Foods typically purchased from HMR, by location, 2022
                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

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