“Knowing the ethnic food consumer and how they shop helps food manufacturers and retailers to develop their long-term growth strategies,” explains Jeewani Fernando, provincial consumer market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
According to the 2016 Census, Canada has become more ethno-culturally and racially diverse since 2006, comprised of people from more 250 different ethnic groups.
“Between 2011 and 2016, Alberta had the highest percentage point change in proportion in immigrants, compared to other provinces,” she adds. “Sixty-six per cent of Alberta’s immigrant population is from Asia - primarily from the Philippines and India.”
Fernando says that according to Statistics Canada, South Asian and Chinese Canadians are the largest ethnic food consumer groups in Canada, accounting for about 1.9 million and 1.6 million people, respectively. Retail grocery sales data provides evidence for unique shopping preferences of these two groups.
Looking at the food service sector, she says that Mexican limited service restaurants and Asian full service restaurants are among the fastest growing concepts. “As well, the outlook for food services notes a growing trend for Indigenous, Middle Eastern flavours and Filipino cuisine.”
Fernando adds that understanding these ethnic food trends and capitalizing on exiting segments and evolving segments will benefit the Alberta agri-food sector’s value added food businesses.
Read Consumer Corner’s Ethnic Food Trends (PDF, 427 KB).
Connect with Jeewani Fernando: