What you need to know

The pandemic has significantly changed the context surrounding at-home food, as preventative mandates like social distancing measures and limited restaurant operations have pushed Canadians to cook at home more than ever before. Remarkably, the positive emotional benefits of cooking like seeing it as stress reducing and giving consumers a sense of accomplishment continue to hold – even after over a year of cooking more at home, and even with increased logistical considerations like shopping for groceries differently (online and less frequently) combined with more disruptions to meals like snacking. Habits of stocking up and shopping online for groceries make planning ahead for grocery trips and meal planning itself more important than ever before, meaning that grocery retailers and food manufacturers stand to gain by better supporting consumers in these areas. As consumers increasingly engage in multichannel shopping behaviours, meal and grocery planning tools need to be well integrated with all existing touchpoints.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • 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

COVID-19: Canadian context

This Report was written from April 15-May 10, 2021. Consumer research was conducted in February 2021 and reflects consumer attitudes during the pandemic period. At the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases in Canada had reached 1,293,625 as of May 9, 2021.

Vaccine distribution began slowly in December 2020, with a significant increase in supply and vaccination rates starting in the spring of 2021. The Canadian government expects that every Canadian wishing to be vaccinated will have the opportunity to do so by September 2021. As of May 25, 2021, 52% of the population has received at least one dose according to the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker. Mintel anticipates business operations in Canada will remain in a state of flux through 2021 as the vaccine is widely administered.

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