From global flavours to bolder experiences: Conagra Brands tracks Canadians’ food preferences
By Nithya CalebFood Trends Conagra Brands Canada Editor pick
According to recent Conagra Brands Canada research, Canadians are getting more adventurous in the kitchen. I caught up with Paul Hogan, VP and general manager, Conagra Brands Canada to better understand the results of the research as well as other food trends he is tracking and what they all mean for food companies.
What are some of the food trends that Conagra is tracking in Canada?
PH: This year, Canadians are getting more adventurous with their tastes and experimenting with new textures, flavours, elevated cooking experiences and, most notably, foods with global influence.
Key trends include a higher demand for culturally diverse ingredients, an appetite for new recipes with globally inspired dishes and a desire for bolder flavours.
What are the key findings of the survey?
PH: Chinese food tops the list of Canadians’ desired international dishes, followed by Indian, Thai, Italian and Korean food (Google Trends – International food searches in Canada to January 2023).
When cooking at home, 52 per cent of Canadians incorporated new sauces into their meals, with the top category leader being Asian-themed sauces.
Nearly half of Canadian consumers claim to enjoy cooking new dishes, with more than one-third of them cooking more new dishes than the year prior.
Over 55 per cent of Canadians are seeking out bolder flavours when cooking at home, with many turning toward new/elevated sauces to satisfy cravings.
What type of culturally diverse ingredients are in demand? What is fuelling their demand?
PH: Spicy flavours in sauces, even used as marinades, continue to grow. Fifty per cent of consumers aged 25-34 have used hot sauce in the past six months (Mintel – A year of innovation in table sauces, oils & seasonings, 2022).
The Canadian population recently hit 40 million driven in large part by immigration. These newcomers are leaving a mark on their communities and spreading more awareness of global foods and flavours.
What type of food experiments are Canadians making at home?
PH: It is estimated that consumers are exposed to five million recipes a year. Instead of recipes, they are frequently experimenting with ingredients they have on-hand, but adding twists, like with the above-mentioned sauces.
What are the key lessons for food manufacturers?
PH: As a leading CPG company in Canada, we know the importance of evolving on an ongoing basis in order to meet the changing needs of consumers and customers. It’s about delivering what they want, when they want it – in smart and simple ways. We’re modernizing our iconic food brands, leveraging fresh opportunities and adapting to a changing landscape, all with a culture that’s ready to capture growth and drive shareholder value.
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