Americans, Canadians differ on snack choices

by Bryan Salvage
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CHICAGO – Two studies by market research company The NPD Group reveal cross-border differences and similarities between Canadians and Americans in their food choices. Within the next 10 years, Americans are projected to increase their consumption of sweet snacks and desserts three times more than Canadians, according to “A Look into the Future of Eating-Canadian Marketplace and A Look into the Future of Eating-United States Marketplace.”

Canadians were found to have less of a sweet tooth collectively than their American counterparts and lean more towards salty or savory snack foods, like cheese, chips and crackers. Their consumption of these snack foods will outpace population growth over the next decade.

Both countries are also moving in different directions regarding morning meals. Americans are predicted to increase consumption of “heat and eat” breakfast foods, such as bagels and frozen pancakes, while Canadians will cut back on consuming some of the same products, NPD says. Americans are also projected to increase their consumption of salads, warm side dishes and main dish proteins, like meat or fish, in the next 10 years, at higher rates than Canadians.

“Eating behaviors are influenced by a variety of factors and certainly culture is among those factors,” said Ann Hanson, executive director, product development- NPD US and author of the new studies. “Americans and Canadians have many of the same foods and beverages available to them, but what, how, when and where we eat does reflect the totality of a country’s culture.”

Convenience is a key factor in consuming foods for both Americans and Canadians. Easy meals, such as yogurt, fruit and snack bars, and heat-and-eat entrées, like canned soup and frozen pizza, are predicted to grow almost equally in both countries during the next 10 years.

“We also took a look at a beef/burgers, poultry and pork,” an NPD Group spokesperson told MEATPOULTRY.com. “Americans and Canadians eat the same amount of beef/burgers. Canadians eat slightly more poultry [fresh chicken and turkey] than Americans and Americans eat more pork [excluding bacon] and ham than Canadians.”

Canada Share of eatings (over a 2-year period)
Beef + Burgers 29
Poultry (Fresh Chicken + Turkey) 22
Fish / Shellfish / Seafood 17
Pork (excluding Bacon) + Ham 21

US Share of eatings (over a 2-year period)
Beef + Burgers 29
Poultry (Fresh Chicken + Turkey) 25
Fish / Shellfish / Seafood 14
Pork (excluding Bacon) + Ham 15

Source: A Look into the Future of Eating-Canadian; A look into the Future of Eating-United States Marketplace

“Although the US and Canada share a continent, it’s important for food and beverage companies marketing in both countries to understand that the likes, dislikes, needs and wants of each country’s consumers are different and will be different in the future,” Hanson said. “The findings of the Future of Eating studies have major implications for food companies in terms of long-term product and packaging innovation, distribution and recipe development.”
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