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Here Are 5 Major Trends In Quebecers' Food Consumption Since The Start Of The Pandemic

Have you hopped on the supporting local bandwagon yet?
Contributing Writer
Here Are 5 Major Trends In Quebecers' Food Consumption Since The Start Of The Pandemic

As humans, we're constantly evolving, which is exactly why new trends in Quebecers' food consumption since the start of the pandemic have been noticed.

MTL Blog spoke with Sysco Grand Montreal's Regional President, Guillaume Dubois, to find out more about these shifts in consumption and what Quebec's restaurant industry has been faced with recently.

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Sysco is a major food distributor around Montreal and other metropolises around the world.

Since March, the food industry has been adapting to government protocols pertaining to hours of operation and whether or not dining rooms are permitted to stay open.

This has led to changes in the way that customers buy and consume food and beverages.

Dubois offered insight into what this means going forward.

Answers have been edited for clarity.

What main trends in consumption have you noticed since the start of the pandemic, particularly in Quebec? 

Support Local: Consumers are more and more conscious of their environmental footprint when making food purchasing decisions and are willing to pay extra to support local, much like Sysco’s recent campaign inviting Quebecers "to support local restaurateurs." 

The rise of "insperiences": Cooking fatigue is setting in and recreating at-home restaurant experiences is a thing now, by ordering combo/family meals from local restaurants. 

Prioritizing sustainable takeout containers: At the onset of the pandemic, businesses had to turn to quick solutions for takeout containers and sustainable options were put on the back burner. Now, with the new laws coming up in 2021, restaurateurs are thinking ahead and testing sustainable options.

Convenient Takeout: Visiting restaurants' social media platforms before placing orders has become the norm now for Quebecers. Ordering online directly on restaurants' websites has also increased.

Renaissance of QR Codes: QR codes have provided contactless options to quickly access menus, place orders, pay the bills, etc.

How has supply/demand in the food industry shifted since the beginning of the pandemic?

On the restaurant's side, we have noticed an increase in the "Ghost kitchen" concept (i.e. a delivery-only restaurant). This concept helps cut the costs and increase profits by selling grocery-type items (sauce, frozen dishes, etc.).

Since pick-up/takeout and delivery are mandatory to stay in business, third-party delivery services have expanded their territories to be able to service more remote locations. We're also seeing an increase in in-house delivery services to avoid third-party delivery fees.

Experts are predicting that in 2021, two different food profiles will be trending: Comfort food with modern and global cuisine inspired twists and providing healthier options.

Sysco Grand Montreal reported that 33% of their sales team saw higher demand for fruits & vegetables during the pandemic. This aligns with Quebecers' needs for healthier eating and for functional foods that provide benefits and nutrients we need during a pandemic. 

What effect do you think Quebec's curfew has on the province's restaurant industry?

Allowing restaurants to continue delivering food and alcohol after curfew can help, but most restaurants still have to use third-party delivery services, which can severely affect their bottom-line profits.

Many restaurants rely on foot traffic and are experiencing a big hit with this curfew. Restaurants are also experiencing a lot of food waste — Restaurateurs have had to throw out enormous quantities of food.

The ongoing shortage of staffing is also a big issue since the beginning of the pandemic.

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