Canadians who buy lunch spend $8.80 on average - an expense that adds up

Ontarians eat out most frequently; brown-bagging once more a week can help Canadians save

TORONTO, July 9, 2012 /CNW/ - While some Canadians seek out low-cost alternatives for lunch, many are spending hundreds of dollars a year on their midday meal, a new survey by Visa Canada confirms.

"Sixty percent of Canadians surveyed reported they buy their lunch once or more a week, an expense that can add up over the course of a year. With a little understanding of budgeting and a lot more brown bags in their briefcases when they head out the door each morning, it is easy to trim this unnecessary and costly expense," says Melissa Cassar, head of corporate and public affairs at Visa Canada.

The survey reveals that the majority of Canadians who buy lunch - 61 percent - are spending between $7.00 and $13.00, while nine percent are spending between $14.00 and $25.00. Regularly dining out for lunch at these prices can significantly affect the budgets of Canadians, no matter what their income level.

"If you think about a brown bagged lunch costing about $2 to $3 per day, compared with this survey's national average of $8.80 for those who buy their lunch, getting into the habit of spending an extra ten minutes each day preparing a sandwich or packing leftovers will put more money back in your pocket every week," says Cassar.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Ontarians eat out for lunch most frequently. Twenty per cent eat out three or more days per week, compared to the national average of 15 per cent who eat out at the same frequency. Only 34 percent of Ontarians never eat out for lunch.
  • More Quebec residents bring brown bags to work than any other Canadians - a full 50 percent pack a lunch every day, followed closely by Albertans (43 percent) and then British Columbians (39 percent).
  • Men spend more on lunch than women, forking out an average of $9.30 vs. $8.30, respectively. Men also eat out for lunch more frequently (average of 1.3 times per week) compared to women (average of once per week).
  • Young Canadians (aged 18 - 34) who eat out for lunch do so 2.3 times per week.

"One of the most telling findings of this survey was that 30 percent of Canadians plan on spending less on lunch this year. Corrective measures like brown bagging create real savings," says Cassar, "and they are as easy as pie - the one you make at home rather than the slice you buy at the coffee shop."

Financial education has been a global priority for Visa since 1995. In 2008, Visa made a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative to share its financial literacy programs with 20 million people worldwide by May 1, 2013, and Visa is well on its way to achieving this milestone.

More money advice and perspective from Visa Canada is available at

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

About the Survey

From March 16th to March 17th, 2012, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,000 Canadian adults 18 years plus, who are Angus Reid Forum panel members.  The Angus Reid Forum is owned and operated by Vision Critical. Individuals were sampled according to Census data to be representative of the Canadian national adult population. The full dataset has been statistically weighted according to the most current gender, age, region, education (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. The margin of error is ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Image with caption: "Canadians who buy lunch spend $8.80 on average, according to Visa Canada - an expense that adds up. (CNW Group/VISA Canada Corporation)". Image available at:

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information:

Erin Sufrin 
Visa Canada

Janine Allen


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