Why Canadians will spend more in restaurants in 2018

January 09 2018

Canadians look set to loosen the purse strings when it comes to dining out in 2018, according to a new study.

The eighth annual Canada Food Price Report - published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph - has claimed that Canadians will continue to spend more in restaurants as they increasingly prioritize convenience.

It predicts that the food service industry will be responsible for 59 percent of the anticipated food expenditure increases in 2018, with the average family expected to spend $208 more when eating out, upping the amount of cash spent on food-away-from-home by almost eight percent over the coming year.

The study goes on to claim that the average home is expected to spend almost 30 percent of its food budget in food service - the highest level in history.

Part of this increased spend will be fuelled by menu price hikes, rather than an elevated appetite, with restaurants predicted to up prices by between four and six percent.

Despite deflationary pressures, the cost of food purchased at restaurants rose by 2.7 percent over the last year - almost double the rise in food prices at retail.

Over December, food purchased at restaurants became 0.2 percent more expensive and menu prices are still moving up.

'Meals are disappearing'

The report goes on to highlight how convenience is becoming an increasingly influential factor in how Canadians consume their meals.

“Meals, in the traditional sense, are slowly disappearing in Canada,” it reads.

“Essentially, this phenomenon can be explained by how consumers view and manage their relationship with food these days. People eat out, eat on the go, or eat at their desks more often than ever before.”

It adds that convenience is now trumping price as a key decision factor for more and more consumers.

In the U.S, consumers split their food spend equally between restaurants and retail stores; this could be replicated in Canada by 2035, perhaps even sooner.

Read the full Canada Food Price Report 2018 for free at https://www.dal.ca/faculty/management/news-events/canada-s-food-price-report.html.

Photo: andresr/iStock