Canadian menu trends

Key Canadian menu trends in summer 2021

Technomic’s recently published Canadian Food & Beverage Takeaways summarized crucial Canadian menu trends from Q2 2021 Ignite Menu data.

The pandemic has proved difficult for operators, but the company, which provides regular and detailed breakdown of foodservice statistics and trends in Canada and beyond, says that growing ingredients and gradual recovery to menu item counts give a reason for hope in the year ahead.

Technomic usually showcases year-over-year changes in data, because the past year has been anything but usual, the current view compares Q1 2020 data to the current quarter of Q2 2021, allowing for a contrast of pre-pandemic menu data compared to today.

Although there is still a long way to go on the road to recovery, Technomic hopes the key Canadian menu trends findings in the Q2 2021 data can help illuminate the impact of COVID-19 on menus and how operators can best move forward to make a strong comeback.

The most striking statistics among the findings were big increases in menu demand for healthy items, as well as a soaring 700-per-cent increase in build-your-own value meals.

Key takeaways

  • Canadian menu item counts are down nine per cent when comparing pre-pandemic menus to today. However, in Q2 2021, Technomic saw the first uptick in the average number of items on operator menus in a quarter since the year prior, a sign that operators are building their menus back up.
  • Health halo items, especially plant-based food and beverage, are trending extensively, including oat milk (+133 per cent) and plant-based beef (+65 per cent).
  • Comfort is still key, as craveable classic ingredients such as cavatelli (+64 per cent) and chicken thighs (+57 per cent) show increases.
  • Value and variety continue to be major traffic drivers, with value meals (+12 per cent) and build-your-own value meals (+700 per cent) growing significantly over the course of the pandemic.

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