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Canadians plan to cut back on snacks, meat and alcohol in 2024: Survey

New survey sheds light on consumer trends for next year

Budget-conscious Canadians may buy fewer snacks in the new year.

In a new survey from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in partnership with Caddle, Canadians say they plan to cut back on certain purchases in 2024.

Forty three per cent won’t be adding as many snacks and convenience foods to their carts next year, while 30% plan to reduce their meat purchases and 28% will buy fewer alcoholic beverages.

Fish and seafood are next on the list at 16%, followed by fresh produce and dairy, both at 13%.

The survey, which examined Canadians’ plans and expectations for next year when it comes to food, found that the majority (80%) expect food prices will continue to rise in the new year. 

Seventy per cent believe meat prices will increase significantly in 2024, followed by produce at 62% and dairy at 42%. 

Consumers will primarily seek out promotions (43%) to cope with high costs, while 34% will use more coupons and 33% say they plan to use loyalty programs more often. Thirty per cent will shop at other stores to get better deals.

When choosing a new store, prices and affordability are the most popular factors amongst Canadians. While a total of 78% will prioritize lower prices when scoping out a new shop, 51% favour quality and 43% favour proximity. 

Online shopping is getting more popular but very few Canadians intend to increase online food purchases in 2024 (a total of 10%).

Canadians surveyed say they’re less likely to purchase premium-like products next year. Fifteen per cent intend to buy more organically grown products and 12% plan to shop more fair trade products in 2024.

Notably, reducing food waste is a priority for many Canadians in 2024. Forty eight per cent say they’ll take up meal planning and create shopping lists to cut back on waste, while 36% plan to eat leftovers more often.

A total of 33% of Canadians intend to use food preservation methods like freezers and canning more often, while 24% say they’ll seek out food products with a longer shelf-life. 

Twenty one per cent aim to serve smaller portion sizes in 2024, to reduce the risk of food waste.

To further save on costs, many Canadians (38%) plan to eat out less often next year. Just 6% say they’ll dine out more often, and 12% vow to not eat out at all.

Finally, health appears to be top of mind for Canadians in 2024. Eating healthier and making better food decisions is the number one new year’s resolution, at 14%, followed by cooking more at home (14%). 

Drinking more water and staying hydrated is the third most popular choice, followed by exercising more to complement a balanced diet.

“Our latest research highlights a growing concern among Canadians about rising food prices and their consequent shift in food consumption habits. From increasing reliance on promotions and loyalty programs to a heightened focus on food waste reduction, Canadians are adapting in diverse ways to manage their food expenses. This change is more than just economic; it's a cultural shift in how we approach our food choices and consumption patterns,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director, Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in a press release. 

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