Description

“Consumers are cooking more at home thanks to the pandemic and constantly up-ended routines are putting the logistics of meal planning and cooking to the test. Currently, a protective mindset drives Canadians to shop online more for groceries and make fewer micro-trips. Looking ahead, continued reliance on e-commerce and flexible working arrangements means that these ‘new’ grocery shopping habits will stick, meaning that meal-time shortcuts like home meal replacement (HMR) will need to evolve as these habits impact how and when these offerings are accessed. Planning ahead for grocery trips is more important than ever, opening the opportunity to integrate tools in this area with platforms that provide nutritional and wellness information. As pre-pandemic busy-ness will return, burnout will become the norm. Food-related companies can support the mental wellness of consumers by creating avenues to help consumers soak up the positive emotional aspects of cooking like stress relief or bonding with others.”
– Carol Wong-Li, Associate Director Lifestyles & Leisure

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Cooking and planning responsibility
  • The attitudes and emotional benefits associated with cooking
  • Factors considered when planning meals and how these have changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cooking habits and behaviours, including the usage of shortcuts

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: Canadian context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways 
    • Market overview 
    • Impact of COVID-19 on approach to meal planning and preparation
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on approach to meal planning and preparation, March 2021
    • Opportunities
    • Elevate cooking tips and planning tools by making them more entertaining and interactive
    • Focus on the familiar and find ways to bring comforting meal ideas to their fingertips
    • Keeping the heat on the emotional benefits of cooking will be necessary in the months to come
    • Challenges
    • HMR needs freshening up as shifts in grocery shopping behaviours limit access
    • Engaging Gen Z with a ‘food is fun’ positioning will be necessary
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Eating healthfully all or most of the time isn’t helping waistlines
    • Rising food costs may keep Canadians eating at home
    • Inequalities in household division of labour is amplified
  4. Market Factors and Current Opportunities

    • Healthy eating is targeted; success is questionable
    • Canadians strive to eat healthfully, but the bulk of adults are overweight or obese
      • Figure 2: Distribution of underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese, by age, 2018
    • What we’re seeing in-market now: educating younger consumers about food
      • Figure 3: Waffles + Mochi Instagram post, March 2021
    • Rising food costs will keep the focus on at-home eating for many
    • Canadians are cooking at home more now
      • Figure 4: Canadian basket weight for consumer expenditure on food components, February-October 2020
    • Higher food costs will hit consumer bottom lines
      • Figure 5: Monthly movement in selected components of the Canadian Consumer Price Index (2002=100), not seasonally adjusted, January 2018-March 2021
    • What we’re seeing in-market now: strategies giving consumers a break
      • Figure 6: Flipp Instagram post, April 2021
      • Figure 7: Walmart Facebook post, February 2020
      • Figure 8: Walmart Facebook post, February 2021
    • The pandemic is reversing equality in household dynamics
    • Household division of labour was uneven before the pandemic
    • The pandemic has exasperated inequity in the household
    • What we’re seeing in-market now: normalizing men’s participation in household duties
      • Figure 9: Downy Philippines Facebook post, March 2021
  5. Competitive Strategies – A Look Ahead

    • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Wellbeing Trend Driver
    • The pandemic draws deeper attention to the emotional aspects of eating
    • Providing guidance on healthy eating will be an important value proposition in the next 18-24 months
      • Figure 10: Metro Ontario Facebook post, January 2021
    • A healthier future calls for supporting Gen Z nutritional knowledge now
    • Combine nutritional info (literally) with video games to meet Gen Zs where they’re at
      • Figure 11: Kostministeriet Facebook posts, June 2020
  6. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • There’s a need to encourage more men into the kitchen
    • Elevating the enjoyment of cooking will be more important in the months to come
    • Beyond ease and healthfulness, familiarity matters when planning meals
    • Canadians shop differently for groceries; HMR needs freshening up
  7. Cooking and Planning Responsibility

    • Women continue to be primarily responsible for cooking and planning meals
      • Figure 12: Cooking and meal planning responsibility, by age and gender, February 2021
    • Moving men 18-34 beyond the basics will help
      • Figure 13: Cooking skills, by age and gender, February 2021
    • Strategy recipe: Step 1. Tap into existing shortcuts
      • Figure 14: Attitudes towards recipe inspirations and association of cooking with stress relief, men 25-34 vs overall, February 2021
      • Figure 15: PC Chef Instagram post, December 2020
      • Figure 16: Cooks Illustrated Instagram post, February 2021
    • Strategy recipe: Step 2. Enhance shortcuts with educational and entertaining elements
      • Figure 17: We Made Pizza!, November 2019
  8. Cooking Attitudes: Nourishing the Heart and Mind

    • Cooking enjoyment is gained throughout the process – even now
      • Figure 18: The emotional benefits of cooking, February 2021
    • Looking ahead: keeping the heat on these mental health benefits needs to be a priority
      • Figure 19: Vosges Haut-Chocolate Instagram post, December 2020
    • Eating together has become more important, particularly for parents
      • Figure 20: ‘Eating together as a household is more important now than before the pandemic (ie March 2020)’ (% agree), parents with under-18s at home vs overall, February 2021
    • Stir it up by making it a joint discovery and/or collaborative creative process
      • Figure 21: KiwiCo Instagram post, April 2021
      • Figure 22: Dr. Oetker Spectacular! Science Crazy Colour Changing Icing Cupcake Mix (UK), December 2020
  9. Meal Planning Factors and Considerations

    • Alongside ease and health, familiarity is a priority
      • Figure 23: Top factors considered when planning home cooked meals, February 2021
    • Use interactive tech to help them quickly find recipes that they know and love
      • Figure 24: Kroger Facebook post, October 2020
      • Figure 25: Introducing Kroger Chefbot | Kroger, October 2020
    • Some assistance for those with ‘basic’ cooking skills, please
      • Figure 26: Top factors considered when planning home cooked meals, those with basic cooking skills vs overall, February 2021
    • Private label brands and discount retailers will gain by inviting ‘beginners’ to the party
      • Figure 27: Gardening Masterclass: Growing Mint & Basil, April 2021
      • Figure 28: National Parks Board Instagram post, September 2020
    • Unsurprisingly, parents are more constrained by household tastes and habits
      • Figure 29: Select attitudes towards meal planning, parents with children under-18 vs overall, February 2021
    • Help parents get ‘buy-in’ from kids in the planning and prepping stage
      • Figure 30: Chrissy Teigen Instagram post, February 2020
      • Figure 31: Luna’s Lunch Menu – How To Make Chrissy’s Homemade Fish Sticks!, February 2020
      • Figure 32: Raddish Kids Instagram posts, March 2021
  10. Cooking Habits and Behaviours

    • Shortcuts are relied on to see meal plans through
      • Figure 33: Frequency of engaging in various cooking behaviours, February 2021
    • Meal kits continue to see low traction even after a year of needing shortcuts
    • Change in shopping behaviours negatively impacts access to HMR, now and into the future
    • Strategy recipe: Step 1. Give HMR a fresh take by including ‘add on’ elements
      • Figure 34: Epicurious Facebook post, January 2021
    • Strategy recipe: Step 2. Freshen up HMR with a fresh location
      • Figure 35: Sprinkles Cupcakes Instagram post, December 2020
      • Figure 36: blogTO Facebook post, November 2019
    • Strategy recipe: Step 3. Consider targeting fathers with HMR
      • Figure 37: Frequency of engaging in select cooking behaviours, fathers vs mothers with under-18s at home, February 2021
      • Figure 38: Dove Men+Care Global Channel, August 2020
      • Figure 39: Dove Men+Care Global Channel, September 2020
    • Moms lean on small kitchen appliances; grocery stores will gain by partnering with them
    • Moms will be stocking up more into the future, but they’ll need a plan before going in
      • Figure 40: ‘I’ve made more large stock-up trips’ when shopping for food and drink during the COVID-19 pandemic, mothers with under-18s at home vs overall, February 2021
    • Grocers could lean on a tool already used by moms: small kitchen appliances
      • Figure 41: Select attitudes towards meal planning, mothers with children under-18 vs overall, February 2021
      • Figure 42: Instant Pot Community Facebook post, January 2020
  11. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Mintel Trend Drivers
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

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