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Loblaw offers yet more food predictions for 2018

December 28 2017

A new year always brings out the fortune teller in everyone with many organisations laying out their predictions for the forthcoming 12 months and it’s been no different heading into 2018.

We’ve already had Mintel bare their expectations for food service and flavour trends; hey, we’ve even been getting in on the fun - download the McCormick Flavour Forecast 2018 here.

However, now it’s the turn of Loblaw, which has just published its 2018 Canadian Food Trends list.

The Brampton-based food retailer may have its roots in the supermarket world, but many of their predictions regarding Canadian appetites are applicable in the public restaurant as much as at the home dinner table.

War on waste

Loblaw expects Canadians to be keen to keep portion sizes manageable, placing a larger emphasis on ordering what they know they can eat, rather than overloading their plates. So stressing a flexibility on meal sizes will boost your customers perception of your restaurant.

At home, they’ll be looking for ways to use up leftovers and create great tasting meals in a bid to reduce waste and save on food prep time. Any restaurant that can demonstrate they employ a similar philosophy is likely to impress diners in 2018.

Takeaway evolved

Meal kits will continue to be popular, with consumers looking for chef-inspired meal options that deliver restaurant style quality, but relocated to the home.

While every restaurant would rather customers dine on site, the ‘anything, anywhere, anytime’ attitude adopted by many consumers today - born out of digital downloads and on-demand services - means some eateries could reap extra revenue by playing ball and offering some of their more popular dishes in a format that can be prepared at home.

If that’s something your establishment could seriously implement, other factors worth taking into consideration include value pricing, minimal packaging and more customization options.

Origins

2018 is expected to see a concentrated focus on food origins, according to Rita DeMontis, national lifestyle editor for Sun Media and Loblaw food council member.

"Canadians are going to become more conscious about the history of the food they are buying and eating - looking at where the food trail starts and finishes,” she commented.

As such, tagging some sort of interesting origins story to your dishes without overloading the customer with boring and unnecessary details will add an extra dimension to your menu.

Diets and nutrition

Chefs and restaurants should be aware that with the launch of the updated Canada's Food Guide, Canadians will be interested in learning and understanding the changes that have been made and how they can incorporate the revised nutrition guidance into their diets.

So making it clear that this has been a priority when your menu - or at least the specials - have been devised is sure to benefit your reputation among diners.

Loblaw believes the revamped Food Guide will lead to more discussion about how to define nutrition, as well as what Canadians should be eating and how to navigate credible sources for nutritional information.

Similarly, Canadians are more aware than ever about how their bodies work and the importance of good gut health. As such, Loblaw reckons that the use of pre- and probiotics, as well as fermented foods, will continue to gain popularity.

Sticking with the health angle, consumers will also be seeking low-sugar foods, as well as ways to reduce their sugar intake, in light of how excessive sugar consumption affects the body.

Sue Mah, a registered dietitian and Loblaw food council member, commented: "Canadians have taken a vested interest in what we put in our bodies, including the food choices we make. Gut health is the biggest trend I'm seeing right now; probiotics are here to stay."

Looking back

Dan Clapson, Alberta’s restaurant critic for The Globe and Mail and also a Loblaw food council member, believes that many restaurant customers will be nostalgic in 2018 and will be keen to revisit signature dishes from their childhood and generations past, but with a modern twist.

Chef and food stylist Kathy Jollimore explained: "Canadians are looking to evoke a sense of nostalgia when it comes to their meals, but now benefit from unexpected ingredients and cooking tools that can help modernize these retro classics.

“For me, it's about maintaining the great taste that you remember from when you were a kid, but reinventing it to make it a healthier and balanced meal."