Where is Canada's Foodservice Future Headed?

    TORONTO, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - Breakfast continues to lead meals eaten out of
home while freshness, small portions and organics are emerging as forces
shaping Canadian menus according to cultural and food industry experts
gathered in Toronto today. Acclaimed demographer Dr. David Foot joins
international food consultant and former Editor of McCall's magazine, Dr. A.
Elizabeth Sloan; Editor and Publisher of Foodservice and Hospitality magazine,
Rosanna Caira; market research experts NPD and foodservice operators Sir
Corp., and Dairy Queen at the 15th annual Foodservice Interchange Conference.
The event highlights what Canadians have been eating out of the home, and
offers a preview of what's to come as we age, and continue to embrace new
cultures, flavours and dining concepts.
    "This conference underscores how the industry is looking to evolve so as
to meet Canadian's needs today while anticipating the future," said Gabby
Nobrega, Sr. V.P., Member Services & Communications, Food and Consumer
Products of Canada (FCPC). "Continuing to offer Canadians access to quality,
safe and interesting menu options which reflect our evolving culture and aging
population takes thoughtful planning and ingenuity. The fact that we are
seeing many of our favourite food service menu items making their way to the
grocery store is just one example of changes on the horizon," she adds.

    What the Numbers Say

    In his presentation How Changing Demographics are Redefining Consumer
Foodservice Needs, Dr. David Foot looks at the demographics which are driving
the trends. "As we age, we have different dietary needs and considerations
which will create a new reality for restaurants and institutions. We're also
going to see different age-related preferences," said Dr. Foot, author, Boom
Bust and Echo. "For example, as we get older the level of music and the amount
of spice factor heavily into our decision to eat out or not and if so, where."

    Taste and Convenience

    Canadians are certainly eating out, but there is also an increase in
meals purchased at restaurants for consumption at home according to Jane
Graham, General Manager, Foodservice Canada, The NPD Group and industry expert
Harry Balzer, Vice President, the NPD Group, Inc., (US). Their presentations
Eating Patterns in America and "Only in Canada, eh? What Makes the Canadian
Consumer Unique?" demonstrate that there are not many significant differences
between Canadians and Americans when it comes to food preferences. Among the
key trends are food safety, "healthy" or "better for you" options, fresh local
products and organics, but the real story is about how the industry makes
purchasing food away from home a convenient solution for time-pressed

    Can we Judge by the Covers?

    Rosanna Caira, Editor of Foodservice and Hospitality magazine and
Hotelier Magazine orchestrated a retrospective look at the industry through a
series of cover stories in addition to the 10 foods that ruled in 2006. Her
presentation also looked at how food safety and the environment factored into
the industry's news and business operations. "The covers chronicle how the
industry has evolved and is tackling very difficult issues."

    A Taste of Tomorrow

    A fusion of a lot of trends and cultures are driving new tastes reports
Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan who spoke on Putting the Trends to Work for You. "Other
influences including gender, comfort food, exposure to new flavours and the
growing exposure to gourmet among the mainstream are creating a very dynamic
dining scene," said Dr. Sloan. "The most important trend for operators to take
advantage of is the strong demand by consumers to have healthful menu options
which is a key driving force for diners of all ages, demographics, and
ethnicities. Creating a canvas for industry to really get creative is research
which proves there are distinct differences between men and women when it
comes to dining patterns. Now there's a real opportunity for industry."

    The Classics meet the Concepts

    SIR Corp.'s (Service Inspired Restaurants(R)) Corey Dalton, COO and
George Kakaletris, V.P. Marketing & Branding and Jean Champagne, Chief
Operating Officer, International Groups, Dairy Queen Canada, Inc., provided
behind the scenes stories about how the industry is creating and recreating
experiences for foodservice customers one detail at a time. Their stories
reflect both new establishments and the rebirth of a foodservice legend
underscore the innovation and resiliency of the industry.
    "The key to success in the restaurant industry is knowing your customer,
understanding their needs, and providing them with a good experience," said
Champagne in his presentation Dairy Queen Canada, Inc. - A Smile and a Story.
Similarly, SIR Corp.'s Dalton believes the most important factor to ensure the
success of casual dining is to keep up with the demands of the consumer -
great quality at a great value, while continually updating menus to satisfy a
growing taste for healthy and ethnic foods."

    About FSI

    Foodservice Interchange (FSI) is Canada's premier foodservice event.
Attendees include food manufacturers, operators and institutions including
independent operators, national and international restaurant chains. FSI is
presented by FCPC and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD).
This year marks the 15th annual conference.

    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 retailer and national brands sold through
grocery, drug, mass, club, convenience, foodservice distributors and
operators. In 2005, the industry employed 291,000 Canadians across the
country, making it the largest employer in the Canadian manufacturing sector,
and generated $24 billion annually in GDP (13% of the Manufacturing Gross
Domestic Product). On an annual basis, the industry donates an estimated
$100 million 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. We recognize, advance and promote industry
interests for the benefit of our members and the Canadian consumer. The food
distribution industry is Canada's second largest commercial sector. Our
members represent $70.1 billion and employ over 455,000 Canadians and
approximately 85% of all grocery products (food, non-food, non-alcoholic
beverages) distributed in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Toni Amato, Communications Officer, FCPC, Tel:
(416) 510-8024 ext. 2238, tonia@fcpc.ca; Cathy Gell, Communications
Coordinator, CCGD, Tel: (416) 922-6228 ext. 327, cgell@ccgd.ca

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