Industry News | May 26, 2011

Americans Want Sweet, Canadians Want Salty

Cross-border differences and similarities between Canadians and Americans have been revealed via two studies by leading market research company, The NPD Group. According to A Look into the Future of Eating-Canadian Marketplace and A Look into the Future of Eating-United States Marketplace, Americans are projected to increase their consumption of sweet snacks and desserts three times more than Canadians within the next ten years.

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, and their consumption of these snack foods will outpace population growth over the next decade. 

The two nations are also moving in different directions when it comes to morning meals, with Americans projected to increase their consumption of “heat-and-eat” breakfast foods, such as bagels and frozen pancakes, while Canadians will be decreasing their consumption of the same products, according to The NPD reports. Americans were 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,” says Ann Hanson, executive director, product development- NPD U.S. and author of A Look into The Future of Eating-United States Marketplace. “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.” 

In both studies, NPD provides a 10-year forecast of eating trends based on generational influences, population, and trends using its historical databases tracking American and Canadian eating patterns. The food industry market research reports cover a broad spectrum of food and beverage categories, preparation methods, meal situations, and other food-related behaviors.

While the reports identified several differences in future eating behaviors between the two countries, there were also similarities. Convenience was found to be a key factor in the consumption of foods with both Americans and Canadians. Easy meals, such as yogurt, fruit, and snack bars, and heat-and-eat entrees, like canned soup and frozen pizza, are projected to grow almost equally in both countries over the next ten years. 

“Although the U.S.and Canadashare 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 says. “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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