2 Consumer trends taking hold despite all contradictions
Whether in-home cooking, healthy and responsible consumption or online ordering of groceries and ready-to-eat foods, Canadians are spending a little more each year and are becoming more and more epicurean.
![A man happy to get his grocery.](https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/60d0768ff0419b337ac7d718/61f7f67f31744937b796d9a2_Image 1.jpg)
An excellent report by Deloitte on The Future of Food and the Contradiction of the Consumer - a Canadian Perspective 2021 made several very pertinent points:
We bake our own bread but order our groceries online more than ever. We eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but we can't resist sweet and salty snacks. We support local businesses at every turn and at the same time orders on Amazon are exploding.
All the while there is another contradiction taking place: the desire of today's consumers to consume more and more local while being attracted to new culinary flavors, particularly exotic and spicy. This may be great for local businesses, but also for products coming from elsewhere that will make our taste buds travel!
What should we make of all this? What overview of food consumption does this give us? What are the trends that are emerging and will continue to develop?
We can start by saying that the future is bright for food, grocery and specialty retail!
![Convenience remains our central element of our daily consumption.](https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/60d0768ff0419b337ac7d718/61f7f6a8ada05344272dd283_Image 2.jpg)
1/ Convenience remains a central element of our daily consumption
Retail has had to modernize and consider the practical needs of consumers. The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift, particularly in simplifying the customer journey in the act of buying.
The major grocery chains have understood this and are investing massively in more user-friendly interfaces, while modernizing the logistics of making products available in order to meet the need for immediacy without having to go anywhere. At the height of the pandemic, online shopping was growing at a 3-digit rate! And within 5 years, the proportion of food sold online in Canada is expected to reach 5%, compared to 1.5% prior to COVID-19.
The same goes for the boom in ready-to-eat kits that promote "cooking for yourself," discovering new flavours, without worrying about the grocery list or finding inspiration for the week's meals. Good Food's CEO, Jonathan Ferrari, told Radio Canada last July that the company's revenues had grown by 20% over the same period last year.
However, being practical is no longer enough: products and services must also meet societal criteria that are important to today's consumers. For example, convenience cannot supplant over-packaging.
![A woman who goes her grocery at a zero-waste retail shop](https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/60d0768ff0419b337ac7d718/61f7f64b51ba9078d6472f36_Image 4.jpg)
2/ Eco-responsible / ethical consumption
Despite all contradictions, sustainable development, naturalness, organic, responsible, ethical, reasonable and local production are here to stay and will continue to grow rapidly.
A good illustration of this point is the explosion of urban farms: growing by 20% annually for the last 10 years! With production methods that are perceived as being more respectful of the environment, such as hydroponics and aquaponics, these crops meet the criteria of locality, naturalness, food safety and freshness that consumers are looking for.
An article in the November 2021 edition of La Presse mentions the impressive growth of organic farmland, which has doubled in five years. This growth allows Quebec to hold half of the organic production in Canada, but without totally meeting the exponential demand of Canadians!
Finally, zero waste is on the rise today and for years to come. Quality local businesses, adept at zero waste, are appearing on the scene and challenging traditional grocery stores. This philosophy is also developing in the restaurant industry.
The will to get involved in the preservation, protection and even restoration of the ecosystem is a major stake for brands. Their transparency, even if not yet completed and in progress, on the subject, is fully understood by today's consumers.
It would be unthinkable and counterproductive for even small food companies not to integrate these trends into their strategy development.
Sources: Mintel 2021, Lapresse 2021, Deloitte -Food consumer survey 2021, Radio Canada 2021
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