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Technomic predicts Canada’s 2011 foodservice trends


December 15, 2010
By Bakers Journal

December 15, 2010, Canada – Canada’s foodservice industry is growing in terms of unit counts and menu offerings, according to new research from Technomic.

The firm reports that after a 1.2 per cent decline in 2009, the Canadian
foodservice industry has achieved a higher growth rate than its U.S.
counterpart in 2010. That growth is expected to continue through 2011.
Technomic also predicts that the debut of new restaurants and increased
competition in all segments will lead to product innovation like never
before.

“The Canadian foodservice industry is full of opportunity right now,”
says Technomic executive vice president Darren Tristano. “U.S. operators
are certainly looking at Canada as an area for potential growth. But to
be successful they will need to do more than take a cookie-cutter
approach to the Canadian marketplace. There are distinct differences in
consumer attitudes and behaviours between the U.S. and Canada, and those
play out every day in the way that trends take shape and establish
themselves in each country.”

Technomic predicts the following trends will emerge in Canadian foodservice in the coming year:

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Farm-to-table initiatives sprout up Restaurants will increasingly
source their ingredients from local vendors. Operators with local
ingredients on their menus are able to respond to consumer demand for
local items, while providing fresh, high-quality fare and supporting
their local economies.

U.S. chains eye Canadian border Canadians’ growing interest in
more food options is encouraging U.S.-based chains to expand north. The
Canadian market appeals to U.S. chains because it is not yet saturated,
and close proximity to the U.S. makes it easy for American companies to
develop and manage Canadian operations.

Food trucks roll out portable, ethnic foods
Food trucks are rolling
out across the country. These trucks are diversifying the foodservice
landscape of Canadian cities with their selections of convenient,
portable foods sold at affordable prices. Look for menu trends taking
shape in food trucks to appear on the menus of traditional bricks and
mortar restaurants.

Healthier ingredients integrated into indulgent diets Canadians
will continue to seek out more healthful versions of their favourite
comfort foods. Choosing indulgent foods with nutritious ingredients will
allow consumers to feel less guilty about eating the foods they love.
It’s up to restaurant operators to find just the right balance between
indulgence and health on their menus.

Fast-casual growth accelerates Expect fast-casual restaurants to
proliferate in 2011, with growth coming from both Canadian and
U.S.-based chains, as cost-conscious consumers respond to the quality
ingredients and upscale atmosphere of casual dining combined with the
speedy service and affordability of quick service.

The breakfast day part gets a wake up call
Breakfast is seeing
explosive growth as quick-service and full-service operators alike
revamp their morning menus to appeal to consumers with both healthy and
indulgent offerings.

Lower-sodium foods take centre stage Sodium will be the new
target for nutrition reformers in 2011. Responding to growing concerns
about high salt levels in restaurant fare, operators will attempt to
roll out reduced-sodium dishes that don’t fall short on taste.

Global diners Canadian consumers with adventurous palates are
seeking new dining experiences that feature bolder flavour profiles and
ethnic cuisines. Korean, Southeast Asian and Mexican cuisines will be
some of the most popular sought-after ethnic fare, particularly in
fast-casual restaurants.

Non-traditional, ethnic desserts hit the sweet spot
Ethnic-inspired
desserts will provide new alternatives to the traditional sweets.
Offerings will include popular treats from other countries, such as
Mexican-style churros and French-style macarons. Meanwhile, classic
desserts such as ice cream will be remade to feature ethnic flavours,
from ginger to dulce de leche.

Veggie focus mirrors meat mania The success of meat-driven
restaurants is spurring a counter-trend: modern vegetarian and vegan
restaurants that offer a twist on traditional vegetarian and vegan food
by pairing it with new, flavourful ethnic ingredients.

In predicting next year’s top trends, Technomic used data gathered by
MenuMonitor Canada, its searchable online trend tracking resource, to
search and analyze current menus from 300 leading Canadian restaurant
operators. Technomic also drew from its Digital Resource Library Canada,
which includes vital segment and industry data for top Canadian chains,
key retailers, and leading multi-concept and non-commercial operators.

For more information, visit www.technomic.com.