Healthy School lunch

Canadians are breakfast eaters and brown-baggers (Survey)

New survey by Léger Marketing identifies Canadian's eating, grocery shopping habits

Canadians spend an average of $167 a week on groceries, with the vast majority (83%) making lists before going to the store and 12% always establishing budgets beforehand.

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians (62%) consult flyers before shopping, but only 35% use coupons in-store.

These are among the findings of an online survey of 3,150 Canadians conducted by Léger Marketing for Montreal-based Ricardo Media between Oct. 21 and Nov. 2. The findings are published in the March issue of Ricardo magazine.

Ricardo Media founder Ricardo Larrivée said the survey results would be used to help the magazine produce recipes and tips that reflect the needs of Canadian families. “The results allow us to work in according to real-world facts and statistics, as well as keep up with the latest trends,” he said.

The study found food tastes vary by region. Eco-conscious B.C. residents favour organic products that leave a minimal carbon footprint, while “carnivore” Albertans prefer meat-based dishes. Albertans like shopping for groceries at big-box stores and their food bills are the highest in Canada.

The survey identified Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents as “traditionalists” who listed chicken, hamburgers, Mexican dishes and corn as their favourite foods. Ontarians are “rushed,” eat later, have less family dinners and are fond of Caribbean food and vegetarian dishes.

Quebecers are “bon vivants” who spend more time at the table and enjoy cooking homemade meals. They prefer local and Italian cuisine, and frequently pair wine with food.

Atlantic Canada residents are “money savers” who seek out weekly specials and are fond of fast food (especially pizza). They look for quick recipes (made in 15 minutes or less) that cost less than $5 per portion.

The survey found nearly three-quarters (72%) of Canadians have breakfast almost every morning. However, there are distinct regional differences: For example, only 59% of people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan eat breakfast regularly, while 80% of Quebecers eat breakfast every day.

Jean-Pierre Lemasson, food sociologist, author and former associate professor at Université du Quécec à Montréal, said breakfast was a long-standing tradition in Quebec since people in the province’s rural areas traditionally ate a big meal before starting the day because their work tended to be physical in nature.

The study also found nearly two-thirds of Canadians bring their lunch to work, with 67% of people who like to eat healthy bringing their lunch every day. However, almost one-fifth (18%) of Canadians never bring lunch to work, and nearly half of all working Canadians (48%) go out for lunch at least once a week. More than one-third (34%) of Canadians regard preparing their lunch as a “major chore.”

Meal preparation tends to be a late-minute task, with 65% of Canadian households deciding what they are going to eat for dinner that day.

The study found dinner activity tends to take place during a 90-minute rush hour, with menu decision-making taking place between 4-5 p.m. Meal preparation taking place between 5-6 p.m. (38 minutes on average), dinner beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 6:28 p.m.

Pasta accounts for 22% of family meals, followed by chicken (17%), though half of Canadians improvise when it comes to making dinner. More than half of Canadians (60%) go out for dinner at least once a week, with 51% getting takeout at least once and 20% having a meal delivered.

The study found 45% of Canadians watch TV while eating while 15% listen to the radio, and 14% use the internet. The vast majority of Canadians (82%) said they didn’t mind electronic media at the table.

Women are responsible for the grocery shopping in three of every four Canadian homes and also prepare the “lion’s share” of dinners, with men and kids stepping in two or three times a week.

This article originally appeared at

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