Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, operators have been simplifying their menus, especially by reducing entrees (down 12.5% year over year). However, there are still areas of growth, and many of the fastest-growing ingredients in entrees over the latest year-over-year period align with national macro food trends we’re seeing arise as a result of the pandemic.
As consumers dealt with the stresses of living through a global pandemic, comfort foods back bacon and garlic mayonnaise grew in entrees, up 71.7% and 51.9%, respectively. Operators are especially spotlighting back bacon on meat-heavy pizzas. For example, Matador Pizza & Steakhouse in Calgary, Alberta, offers a Meat Lovers Pizza, featuring back bacon paired with Italian sausage, pepperoni and salami. And garlic mayonnaise is especially popping up in indulgent burgers and sandwiches. These comfort items are resonating with the two-fifths (40%) of consumers who report that they are purchasing more comfort foods from restaurants now compared to before the pandemic.
With over a quarter (27%) of consumers reporting that they are eating fewer animal products in general, enter plant-based egg and cheese. Consumers have expressed that one of the top three reasons they are reaching for plant-based options is due to concerns about the environmental impacts of meat and seafood. Even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 50% of consumers agree that sustainability initiatives are still just as important to them as they were before the pandemic. Thus, expect the demand for plant-based selections to remain strong in the coming months.
Source: Technomic Ignite menu data, Q2 2019-Q2 2020
Technomic 2019 Canadian Centre-of-the-Plate Consumer Trend Report
Technomic Canadian Omnibus consumer survey data