Head of Research Chefs Association Opens-Up on the Science Behind Food Trends: Joins Esteemed Consumer Lifestyle and Trend Experts at Foodservice Industry Conference

    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - While most Canadians do not think of 'food
science' when dining out, Stephen Kalil, President of the Research Chefs
Association, an industry group dedicated to the blending of culinary arts and
the science of food, is focused on little else. Today, at the 16th annual
Foodservice Interchange Conference, he'll join diversity expert and author
Giselle Kovary, Loyalty Unplugged: how to get, keep and grow all four
generations; Linda Nazareth, economist and author of The Leisure Economy;
Rosanna Caira, Editor and Publisher of Foodservice and Hospitality magazine
and Jim Carroll, futurist, trends, & innovation expert, on a panoramic tour of
the gastronomic, culture and economic shifts which stand to change the
foodservice experience across Canada. Today, the average Canadian household
visits a restaurant for a meal or snack 536 times per year(1), and spends
24.5% of its total food dollar on foodservice(2).
    "We're entering a really interesting time in foodservice. Consumers are
hungry for new experiences, and quality meal solutions which integrate into
their busy schedules while manufacturers and operators have to digest
breakneck scientific and culinary developments and emerging lifestyle trends.
The conference is focused on identifying strategies to leverage an
increasingly diverse workforce toward creating consumer loyalty," says Gabby
Nobrega, Senior Vice President of Food & Consumer Products of Canada.

    Trends Shaping Canada's Foodservice Industry:

    -  Demographics and Cultural: Adapting to Change: A shift from the time-
       crunched to the leisure economy and a multi-generational workforce
       will affect the foodservice experience from back of the house through
       the drive-thru.

    "For years, busy Baby Boomers have been creating a 'time crunch economy'
where time is scarce and businesses need to recognize that fact. This has lead
to an industry on the verge of a huge shift, a shift to 'the leisure economy'
- a place where boomers have more time than they have had in decades, and
ascendant generations X and Y are living lives that value leisure," says Linda
Nazareth, an economist and author of "The Leisure Economy: How Changing
Economics, Demographics and Generational Attitudes will Reshape our Lives and
our Industries".
    To survive and excel in a demand-side labour market, organizations must
be able to recruit, retain and develop high performing employees from across a
range of generations," explains diversity expert and author Giselle Kovary.
This is especially true for the foodservice industry where the average annual
turnover rate for an hourly paid employee is 67 per cent at a quick-service
restaurant or a casual/family dining restaurant. According to Kovary
generational identities translate into different behaviours in the workplace.
The road to creating engaged employees is dependant on an organization
demonstrating transparency, responsiveness, and partnering.

    -  Health and Wellness and Exotic: Excelling At Creating a Niche and
       Remaining Relevant: A variety of healthier-for-you product options
       continues to be a key focus for the industry, combined with emerging
       growth and interest in exciting and novel flavors. A study by the
       Advantage Group International, Inc., ranking priorities among
       manufacturers and operators confirms the Health and Wellness trend is
       the number one non-economic priority for both.

    Lifestyles are changing rapidly due to speed to market of new
innovations. Foodservice outlets and the vast array of food and beverage
companies that supply to them are asking themselves "how do we create a niche
with food products and services that will remain constantly relevant,
signature and unique?" says Stephen A. Kalil, President of the Research Chefs
Association. "One of the key trends is the desire for healthy eating without
sacrifice, which means manufacturers and foodservice operators must be looking
to develop healthy products that are flavourful and indulgent."

    -  Customized and Personalized: the Increasing Role of Technology in
       Foodservice: Largely influenced by technology, restaurant-goers want
       to be in control of their experiences - from customizing menu items to
       fit their preferred tastes and diets, to using self-activated ordering
       and payment systems.

    Jim Carroll, international futurist, sees dramatic changes sweeping
through the foodservice industry. "It's being driven by hyper-innovation,
rapid technological advance, increased customer expectation, rapidly evolving
product trends, and increasingly fickle consumers. We're seeing light speed
changes in terms of restaurant design and layout, payment technologies, and
in-store ordering technologies, coupled with ever-changing consumer trends as
healthier lifestyle choices increasingly drive decisions. Restaurants need the
agility and flexibility to adapt to change."

    About FCPC

    Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) is the largest industry
association representing Canadian-operated food, beverage and consumer product
companies that make and market national and retailer brands sold through
retail and foodservice outlets. Canada's food manufacturing sector generates
approximately $24 billion annually in GDP (13% of the Manufacturing Gross
Domestic Product) and employs approximately 291,000 Canadians across the
country, making it the largest employer in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
On an annual basis, the industry donates an estimated $100 million in cash
donations to charitable causes and over 5 million bags of groceries to food
banks in Canada. The industry has a record of embracing world-class regulatory
standards and is governed by 442 federal and provincial pieces of legislation,
as well as thousands of regulations and self-imposed standards.

    About CCGD

    The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) is a not-for-profit
organization committed to advancing and promoting the grocery and foodservice
distribution industry in Canada, at both the regional and national level. We
recognize, advance and promote industry best practices for the benefit of our
members and the Canadian consumer. The food distribution and retail grocery
industry is Canada's second largest commercial sector. Member sales represent
$71 billion in grocery and $12 billion in foodservice and employ over 428,000
Canadians. Our members represent 85% of all grocery products (food, non-food,
non-alcoholic beverages) distribution sales in Canada.

    (1) CREST/NPD Group; NPD Group Eating Patterns in Canada Report, October
        2006 release; and CRFA's Foodservice Facts
    (2) CRFA's Foodservice Facts, Statistics Canada and the Bureau of Labour

For further information:

For further information: Catherine Baker, Food & Consumer Products of
Canada, T: (416) 510-8024 ext 2276, C: (416) 726-0978, E: catherineb@fcpc.ca

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Food and Consumer Products of Canada

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