Carol Wong-Li
Carol Wong-Li is Associate Director, Lifestyles and Leisure for Mintel. Carol researches and writes reports on the Canadian lifestyle and leisure industries.

It can be said that Canadian cooking enthusiasts are creatures of comfort, as the majority of cooks lean towards cooking with familiar recipes and have a tendency to use the same spices or seasonings. Unsurprisingly, those less engaged with cooking and those who possess less advanced skills are even less likely to show a willingness to experiment with different spices and seasonings. While many cooks are less inclined to try new recipes or ingredients when cooking for themselves, there is a willingness to step outside their comfort zones when having guests over.

Here we discuss three opportunities for companies and brands to leverage when attracting Canadian cooking enthusiasts:

Grocery stores can make meal prep clearer

Half of home cooks say it is difficult to decide what to make for dinner. As consumers skew slightly towards cooking meals they plan ahead of time on a weekly basis, nearly half decide what to make on the spot. The majority of home cooks are going into grocery stores with a fairly good idea of what they will be purchasing, however, those less confident in their cooking skills will likely seek out shortcuts to making dinner a little easier.

Grocery retailers can benefit from providing a clear path to simple and easy meals. Specifically illustrating how a combination of private label semi-prepared items can work together to make a quick and tasty meal removes the guesswork for consumers. This also works well as a way to draw attention to private label products which tend to be higher-margin items for retailers.

As consumers skew slightly towards cooking meals they plan ahead of time on a weekly basis, nearly half decide what to make on the spot.

Connect cooking and mental health benefits

Although practical considerations of saving money and living a healthy lifestyle drive cooks to make meals at home, the majority of home cooks draw a connection between cooking and their mental health. Specifically, a large majority claim to gain a sense of self-satisfaction, while two-thirds feel that cooking helps to relieve stress, according to Mintel research on cooking enthusiasts in Canada.

With the mental health component playing such a large role for consumers, brands and companies should include elements of tangential wellness into their campaigns when encouraging consumer cooking activities. Marketing campaigns that communicate specific benefits will likely have a stronger resonance as such benefits are likely more immediately relatable over broader wellness claims.

Market toward older men that enjoy cooking

Older men may be joining their partners in the kitchen as six in 10 say they are cooking from scratch at least three times per week. There is a notable shift in attitude amongst older men; not only are they more likely to report cooking because they want to, but they are also much more likely than younger men to say they cook because they enjoy the process. The shift in attitude suggests that opportunities exist for companies to market efforts towards older men.

As Boomer men show a greater likelihood to be sharing in grocery shopping duties and are less interested in trading down quality for cheaper prices, grocery retailers and food manufacturers stand to gain by promoting how top quality, local and fresh ingredients work to create a better tasting end product. This strategy will attract the segment as older men are actively participating in grocery shopping and hold a preference for paying more for products that are higher quality.