Description

“The dramatic weather events of 2021 have only heightened Canadians’ concern over the environment. As the spectre of climate change becomes more apparent, look for Canadians to become even more engaged on the issue when it comes to the purchase decisions they make. Brands will increasingly need to make sustainability a central strategic plank in order to remain relevant in an era of conscious consumption.”

– Joel Gregoire, Associate Director for Food & Drink

This report will look at the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour when it comes to sustainability in food and drink.
  • The relative importance of the environment versus other considerations when grocery shopping.
  • What concerns and initiatives resonate with Canadians when it comes to sustainability.
  • How different demographics impact attitudes toward food and drink and the environment.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                • Impact of COVID-19 on sustainability in food and drink
                  • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on sustainability in food and drink, January 2022
                • Opportunities
                  • Climate change is becoming increasingly relevant for Canadians
                    • Canadians are more likely to believe they can make a difference
                      • Waste remains the top environmental concern with respect to food and drink
                        • Canadians view multiple sources as being trustworthy experts when it comes to the environment
                          • Challenges
                            • Despite the importance of the environment, trust can be hard to win
                              • Despite climate change’s importance, few view “carbon neutrality” to be a compelling purchase driver
                                • Meat and dairy face particular challenges with younger Canadians
                                • Market Factors

                                  • Concerns over climate change mount
                                    • Figure 2: Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, 1990-2019
                                  • Meat is not going anywhere
                                    • Figure 3: Growth in global meat production vs global population, 1961-2018
                                  • Methane reduction is becoming a key focus
                                    • Figure 4: Global Methane Emissions, 1990-2018
                                  • Canada is moving toward zero plastic waste
                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                    • Brands win by making Canadians part of ‘the mission’
                                      • Figure 5: “My behaviour can make a positive difference to the environment” (% agree), by country, 2021
                                      • Figure 6: Views on whether “the worse impacts of climate change can be avoided”, 2021
                                    • Engaging consumers in ‘the mission’: examples from Unilever
                                      • Figure 7: Hellmann’s Study Finds Canadians Can Reduce Household Food Waste by a Third with Just One Use-Up Day, April 2021
                                      • Figure 8: Percentage of individuals who have “planned meals at home to avoid wasting food” in the 12 months leading to March 2021, by country, 2021
                                      • Figure 9: Hellmann’s Animal Crossing, March 2021
                                    • Local solutions resonate
                                      • Figure 10: Share of consumers who typically try to by locally foods, Canada vs US, 2021
                                      • Figure 11: Introducing Grass-Fed Beef, September 2020
                                    • Technology enables greater transparency when it comes to the environment
                                    • Market Opportunities

                                      • Demand for sustainable solutions will be a catalyst for disruptive innovation
                                        • Meat will be both grown and raised
                                          • Regenerative farming will become more common
                                            • GMOs can benefit the environment
                                              • Responsible packaging solutions will see a quantum leap during the 2020s
                                                  • Figure 12: Introducing PlantBottle, March 2015
                                                  • Figure 13: PlasticRoad – A revolution in building road, December 2016
                                              • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                • The sense of urgency around the environment is increasing
                                                  • The environment supersedes new product innovation when food and drink shopping
                                                    • Experts remain the most trustworthy source of information and guidance
                                                      • Waste remains the top environmental issue when it comes to food and drinks
                                                      • The Environment’s Importance when Grocery Shopping

                                                          • Figure 14: Most important considerations when shopping for food and drinks at grocery stores (top three), 2021
                                                          • Figure 15: Most important considerations when shopping for food and drinks at grocery stores (top three), by age, 2021
                                                          • Figure 16: Most important considerations when shopping for food and drinks at grocery stores (top three), by vaccination status, 2021
                                                      • Attitudes Toward the Environment

                                                        • The sense of urgency around the environment is increasing
                                                          • Figure 17: Concern over climate change and food, 2021
                                                          • Figure 18: Attitudes toward climate change and food (% agree), by region, 2021
                                                        • Canadians make a link between what they eat and its impact on the environment
                                                          • Figure 19: Attitudes toward food and the environment (% agree), 2021
                                                        • Where one lives and where one is from impacts their views on the environment and food
                                                          • Figure 20: Attitudes toward food and the environment (% agree), born in Canada vs not born in Canada, 2021
                                                          • Figure 21: Attitudes toward food and the environment (% agree), Quebec vs Prairie Provinces, 2021
                                                          • Figure 22: Attitudes toward food and the environment (% agree), those who are optimistic the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided vs overall, 2021
                                                        • Winning trust from Canadians on the environment is a tall hill to climb
                                                          • Figure 23: Attitudes toward standardized environmental claims and perceptions that claims on packaging are a scam (% agree), 2021
                                                          • Figure 24: cocokind Instagram post, March 2021
                                                          • Figure 25: Perceptions that claims on packaging are a scam (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                          • Figure 26: Trust in standardized claims and perceptions that claims on packaging are a scam (% agree), optimistic the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided vs neutral and negative, 2021
                                                      • Sources of Trust

                                                        • Experts remain the most trustworthy source of information and guidance
                                                          • Figure 27: Sources of trust when it comes to understanding food and drink’s environmental impact, 2021
                                                        • Demographics impact what sources are trusted more or less
                                                          • Figure 28: Sources of trust when it comes to understanding food and drink’s environmental impact, by vaccination status, 2021
                                                          • Figure 29: Sources of trust when it comes to understanding food and drink’s environmental impact, Quebec vs overall, 2021
                                                          • Figure 30: Sources of trust when it comes to understanding food and drink’s environmental impact, by age, 2021
                                                      • Initiatives That Resonate

                                                        • Waste remains the top environmental issue when it comes to food and drinks
                                                          • Figure 31: Environmental issues of concern when buying food and drinks in store, 2019 & 2021
                                                          • Figure 32: Environmental initiatives that resonate when shopping for food and drink (top 3 NET), 2021
                                                        • Age influences in the initiatives that matter more
                                                          • Figure 33: Environmental initiatives that resonate when shopping for food and drink (top 3 NET), by age, 2021
                                                          • Figure 34: Select environmental initiatives that resonate when shopping for food and drink (top 3 NET), by region, 2021
                                                      • Environmental Associations by Category

                                                        • When it comes to beef, Canadians are most concerned with greenhouse gases
                                                          • Figure 35: Categories most associated with greenhouse gases, 2021
                                                          • Figure 36: Alpenrose Dairy Carbon Neutral Organic Whole Milk (US), August 2021
                                                        • Fish/seafood are most likely to be associated with resource depletion
                                                          • Figure 37: Categories most associated with resource depletion, 2021
                                                          • Figure 38: Fish 4 Ever Skipjack Tuna Steak in Organic Olive Oil (Netherlands), September 2021
                                                        • Packaged goods are most associated with waste
                                                          • Figure 39: Categories most associated with resource depletion, 2021
                                                        • Concern over chemicals primarily relates to produce
                                                          • Figure 40: Fruit and vegetables association with environmental issues, 2021
                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                        • Data sources
                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                            • Consumer qualitative research
                                                              • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                                • Abbreviations and terms

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